Trump Syndrome: American democracy under siege - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Trump Syndrome: American democracy under siege

Washington D.C. has virtually become the scene of a James Bond movie following the U.S. Congress’ occupation by Trump supporters on Jan. 6. About 20,000 soldiers affiliated with the National Guard are patrolling the streets of Washington. They’re watching the Congress building like hawks. Some American writers are describing these scenes with certain headlines such as “The center of American democracy seems like a city under siege.”

Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony is set to take place on Jan. 20; and for this reason, there are fears that many U.S. cities, primarily Washington D.C., will behold belligerent protests against him. The only thing that could quell these protests is if Trump admits defeat to Biden. However, he isn’t budging in the slightest and still claims that the elections were rigged.

The Democrat-majority House of Representatives has called for Trump’s impeachment, saying that he galvanized the invaders of Congress to revolt. Ten Republicans voted in favor of Trump’s impeachment; one of them was No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney. Trumpist lawmakers of course immediately took action for her to be deposed from her position as republican conference chairwoman. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for his part, wants Cheney to stay.

The main jurisdiction for Trump's impeachment is the Senate. The Senate, where 50 Republicans and 50 Democratic Senators serve, must have 67 "yes" votes in order to depose of him. Hence, the Democrats need 17 republicans to vote yes. Trump still enjoys immense support among his party base. With only a few days left to go before his presidency ends, it seems that the Senate won’t have enough votes to impeach Trump.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to be undecided. There is no doubt that with Trump’s impeachment, McConnell, who is the most prominent figure of the mainstream Republican Party, will breathe freely. As it is, he doesn’t see himself as strong enough to openly defend Trump’s impeachment. McConnell may even be in a blue-moon situation, wishing that the Democrats had 67 votes in the Senate.

The only thing McConnell would have to do is schedule the impeachment vote until after Biden’s inauguration. He’s already signaled that it will be held following Jan. 20. The Democrats won two Senate seats in the second round of elections in Georgia on Jan. 5.

Following the swearing-in of these two senators, McConnell will hand the Senate majority leadership to Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer. Hence, McConnell will be rid of the responsibility of voting against Trump, who is set to leave office on Jan. 20. Lawmakers seem to be divided on whether Trump could be prosecuted for the crimes committed while he was in office. Some say he can, and others, that he cant.

Despite the negative effects of the occupation of Congress, the majority of Republicans endorse Trump running for president in 2024. There are debates on whether the Senate can pass a law to ensure that Trump cannot become a candidate once again. In order for such a decision to be taken, two-thirds of the Senate have to vote “yes.” The mainstream wing, which does not want to lose control over the party establishment, will be happy that Trump can never run for president again. However, the maths in the Senate simply does not hold up. Meanwhile, there are rumors that 20 Republican senators will support the Democrats in their quest to impeach Trump. This too should be taken with a grain of salt because Trumpists make up a large chunk of the party base.

Both Trumpists and mainstream Republicans see each other as obstacles to the party. As long as the masses continue supporting Trump, the mainstream wing’s hands are tied. The Congress’ mainstream Republicans will only breathe freely once support for Trump dies down. The Trumpist base is the most organized, active faction of the party. It is for this reason that Republicans’ Trump Syndrome will continue to plague them for a while longer.

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