‘The Most Bipartisan Impeachment’

‘The Most Bipartisan Impeachment’

2021-01-14 11:27:00
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Even during a scandal, a president's own party members usually defend him. Decades later, people tend to forget how overwhelming the partisan support was and exaggerate the conscience of past politicians.

  • In 1999, no Senate Democrats voted to condemn Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. Many Democrats made up excuses for his affair with a 22-year-old White House intern, and some even went so far as to smear her.

  • In the 1970s, Republican leaders spent months investigating the Nixon administration as partisan domination. Gerald Ford, while still the leader of the Republican House, called the Watergate investigation a "political witch hunt". Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush defended both Nixon and his bribery vice president, Spiro Agnew.

  • In the 1860s, Andrew Johnson & # 39; s fellow Democrats stood firmly with him during his deposition and prevented him from sentencing.

All of this helps put President Trump's second impeachment from yesterday into perspective: It was both a strikingly partisan affair – and an unusually bipartisan one.

On the one hand, dozens of members of Congress refused to break with a president who tried to reverse an election result and incited a mob that attacked Congress and killed a police officer. Only 10 House Republicans voted to impeach, and the final count was 232 to 197.

“Political punishments for encouraging extremism and attacking democratic norms are dangerously weak,” said political scientist Brendan Nyhan wrote yesterday.

On the other hand, Trump has suffered more apostasy from his party than any previous president except Nixon, who eventually lost Republican support and resigned before the House could impeach him. Yesterday's mood Daniel Nichanian of The Appeal wrote, was "the most twofold charge against a president in US history."

In comparison, only five House Democrats voted to impeach Clinton, noted The Times's Carl Hulse – three of whom later became Republicans, while a fourth joined the George W. Bush administration. In 2019, not a single House Republican voted to impeach Trump. Only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney, voted to be sentenced, and other Republicans scorned the process from the start.

This time they send a more nuanced message. Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican Senate, has said he is happy the impeachment is taking place, and released a statement yesterday saying he had "not yet made a final decision on how I will vote" in the process. of the Senate.

McConnell is, of course, a devious politician who would like to be both rid of Trump and to prevent President-elect Joe Biden from passing much legislation. So McConnell also announced yesterday that he would not start a senate process before Biden took office, effectively forcing the Democrats to choose between trying Trump and focusing on Biden's agenda.

The delay seems to make a conviction less likely. "People's indignation is diminishing," my colleague Maggie Haberman wrote yesterday. "Memories are fading. And I wonder if there will be as much Republican anger in the Senate next month as there is now."

Yet the existence of that anger underscores the historical character of yesterday. Trump became the first president in US history to be impeached twice – and only the second to consider him unfit to be president by a significant number of his party members in Congress.

Including the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Republican No. 3 in the House; four others from secure Republican seats; and five from more competing districts.

"I'm not afraid of losing my job, but I'm afraid my country will fail," said Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, who is on her sixth term. My vote to impeach our incumbent president is not a fear-based decision. I don't take sides. I choose the truth. "

But the boom isn't just about the pandemic. It's bigger than that, argues Sean Monahan in The Guardian: Video games are replacing music as the dominant form of youth culture.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Biden turned to Among Us and Animal Crossing: New Horizons to reach young voters. The rapper Travis Scott had more than 12 million viewers for a virtual concert on Fortnite last year – almost double the audience of the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. "We will see more of these events even after regular concerts are safe again," said an analyst told The Hollywood Reporter.

The cultural influence of games largely stems from interaction. Games like Animal Crossing have become places to socialize, and even to host virtually graduation, celebrate or protests.

"Ten years ago, younger generations left traditional media for social media behind," another analyst wrote in a Global Games Market Report 2020. "Today, they are leaving social media for more interactive experiences."

Yesterday's pangram of the Spelling Bee was formula. Today's puzzle is above – or you can play online if you have a Games subscription.

Here's today's mini crossword puzzle and a clue: like lettuce and kale (five letters).


Thank you for spending part of your morning at The Times. See you tomorrow. – David

P.S. The word & # 39; waackin & # 39; – one of Adolfo Quiñones' techniques – first appeared in The Times yesterday, as noted by the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.

You can see today's print front page here.

Today's episode of & # 39; The Daily & # 39; is about Trump's second impeachment. A bonus episode of "The Argument" is about the future of online speech.

Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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