Would you like to receive The Morning by email? Here is the inscription.
Hello. We explain why Senate Republicans have resisted public opinion to acquit Trump.
Out of political interest, Republicans in Congress had good reason to abandon Donald Trump as their party’s de facto leader.
Trump is unpopular with most Americans, and he has been throughout his political career. He was only able to win the presidency in 2016 with the help of some unusual factors – including an unpopular opponent, intervention from Russia and the FBI director, and razor-thin victories in three swing states.
Today, Trump is a defeated president for a term that never won 47 percent of the vote, and political parties are generally happy to pass presidents who lose reelection.
This would have been true even before Trump’s reaction to his defeat. He became the first president in U.S. history to attempt to overturn an election result and he instigated a host of supporters who fiercely attacked Congress as he gathered to certify the results. (Here is the latest information on what he knew during the riot.) In the Senate this weekend, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the attack and took it down. accused of “shameful breach of duty.” . “
Partly because of the riot, Trump left office with an approval rating of just 39%, according to FiveThirtyEight. Several recent polls have shown that a majority of Americans believe the Senate should condemn him and disqualify him from future office.
So why didn’t the Republicans in the Senate do it?
There are two important parts to the answer.
The most obvious is the short-term political danger to Republicans. According to polls, around 70% of Republican voters continue to strongly support Trump. A similar share says they would be less likely to vote for a Republican senator who voted to condemn Trump, according to Li Zhou of Vox.
For Republican politicians, turning against Trump always presents a significant risk of ending his career, as did Jeff Flake, the former senator from Arizona, and Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general. Of the seven Republican senators who voted for the conviction, only one – Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – is at risk of being re-elected next year, Burgess everett of Politico noted. And the seven are already facing a flashback in their home country.
The second part of the answer is more subtle but no less important. Today’s Republican Party cares less about national public opinion than it used to be – or today’s Democratic Party is.
The Republican Party of the past won elections by convincing most Americans that it would do a better job than Democrats to run the country. Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower each won at least 57% of the vote in their re-election campaigns. George W. Bush won 51 percent, largely by appealing to swing voters on national security, education, immigration and other issues. A party focused on rebuilding a national majority probably couldn’t stay attached to Trump.
But the modern Republican Party has found ways other than majority support to achieve its goals.
He enjoys a great built-in Senate advantage, which gives more power to rural and heavily white states. The filibuster also helps Republicans more than Democrats. In the House and in state legislatures, the two parties have backed off, but Republicans have done more. In the courts, Republicans have been more aggressive in putting judges on the bench and preventing Democratic presidents from doing so. In the Electoral College, Democrats currently waste more votes than Republicans on winning big state-level victories.
All of this helps explain Trump’s second acquittal. The Republican Party is in the middle of the worst run any party has suffered – in American history – in the popular vote in the presidential election, after losing seven of the last eight. Still, the party has had a good few decades, politically. He figured out how to be successful with the support of minorities.
Republican-appointed judges dominate the Supreme Court. Republicans are optimistic about the possibility of taking back control of the House and Senate next year (even if they win fewer votes across the country). Taxes on the rich are near their lowest level in a century. Democrats have failed to implement many of their biggest priorities – on climate change, medicare, minimum wage, preschool education, gun control, immigration, and more. .
Yes, Trump’s acquittal flouts public opinion. But it still might not cost the political power of the Republicans.
Learn more about impeachment:
McConnell’s actions – voting for acquittal while blaming Trump – was an attempt “both to please Trump supporters and to appeal to Republicans repelled by Trump,” said Carl Hulse, chief correspondent for the Times in Washington.
President Biden wanted Trump to be convicted, but the speedy trial at least allows Biden to move his agenda forward, starting with a virus-fighting bill.
At least six people who worked as security guards for Roger Stone, a Trump ally, stormed the Capitol on January 6, according to a Times investigation.
The acquittal has rekindled speculation about Trump’s daughter-in-law‘s electoral prospects.
THE LAST NEWS
Lives lived: Reggie Jones began his lifeguard career at Jones Beach on Long Island in 1944. He remained with the job for the next 64 summers, rescuing swimmers until he was 70. Jones has died aged 93.
Less than two years ago, Rihanna, one of the biggest stars in the world, and LVMH, one of the biggest luxury groups in the world, announced a collaboration: the fashion house Fenty. The early reception was rather positive. Fenty was “glamorous but not pretentious,” as Emilia Petrarca wrote in The Cut.
Still, Fenty took a hiatus last week. What caused the failure?
The pandemic played a role. Building a new brand takes time, and shutting down has hurt much of the fashion industry. But businesses and brands that collapse during an economic downturn typically had pre-existing issues, and Fenty fits that model.
On the one hand, it was much more expensive than other products in Rihanna’s empire, which includes Fenty Beauty, a successful makeup line, and Savage x Fenty, a lingerie brand. A Fenty hoodie, for example, costs $ 300 and a turtleneck mini dress costs $ 740. “Celebrity-centric fashion lines tend to perform better at prices accessible in the mass market,” as Marc Bain writes in Quartz.
The brand also tended to use simpler construction and fabrics to keep prices lower, reports The Business of Fashion, resulting in products “cheaper than Dior, but not as desirable.” Most people who buy luxury clothing see it as an investment, told us Elizabeth Paton, who covers fashion for The Times. “Why buy Fenty if they can buy a Vuitton handbag instead that won’t lose its value?”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
Friday’s spelling pangram was halogen. Here is today’s puzzle – or you can play it online.
Here are today’s mini-crosswords and a hint: feel bad (four letters).
If you want to play more, find all of our games here.
Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. – David
Reader Comments: Dr Thomas Frieden, the former CDC chief, wrote to say he agreed with Friday’s newsletter on the dangers of Covid absolutism – but disagreed that shedding trans fats was another example of problematic absolutism. “Trans fats are an unnecessary toxic killing chemical and we need to be clear about this with the public,” he wrote. You can read more about Resolve to Save Lives.