The Politics of Division

For Republicans, healing and unity also seems to be a one way street

Sometime this week the House of Representatives will likely vote to impeach Donald Trump for a second time. Though the outcome of an impeachment trial in the Senate is uncertain it is imperative that the House acts, not only to remove Trump from office, but also send a message that he must be held accountable for inciting his violent supporters to invade the Capitol.

While a handful of Republicans have signaled their willingness to reach across the aisle and support an impeachment effort, House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, is taking a very different approach. “Impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term,” says McCarthy, “will only divide our country more.” According to the number two Republican in the House, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, “I don't think anybody can look and say an impeachment of this president is the thing that's going to help unite and bring our country together."

It’s important to point out that McCarthy and Scalise, along with the majority of the Republican caucus, voted on Wednesday — after the riots that took place in the halls of Congress — to object to the certification of electoral college votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania. It practically should go without saying that seeking to undermine the will of millions of voters who cast a ballot for Joe Biden is an incredibly divisive act. Punishing the president who led this effort is not.

But I’m more struck by the notion that impeaching a law-breaking president who abuses his power and sows violence is too divisive. Isn’t not impeaching a law-breaking president who abuses his power and sows violence just as divisive? And what does it say about the modern Republican Party that holding a political leader responsible for such heinous acts would be considered a provocative act?

I’m not surprised that McCarthy, Scalise, and congressional Republicans are laser-like focused on the impact of impeachment on their own constituents, but what about the rest of the country? If you’re reading this newsletter and you follow me regularly, there’s a reasonable chance that you’re pretty angry today. Lord knows I am, and lord knows the people I talk to in my blue enclave are angry. Indeed, I’ve been struck by the fury that Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol has unleashed. People I speak to, who are not as obsessed with politics as I am, are in a blind rage over what’s happening right now. They want someone to pay. Frankly, it’s difficult to blame them.

Democrats have put up with a lot for the past four years. They’ve been repeatedly told that they need to “listen” to Trump’s voters and to hear their stories. I’m all for breaking down barriers and trying to understand all viewpoints. But it’s about time that we start listening to those who cast a ballot for Joe Biden. I don’t doubt that many Americans will be angry if Trump is impeached - including some who didn’t vote for him. But if you’re upset about the impeachment of a president who incited a mob to attack the United States Capitol, I hate to break it to you, you’re part of the problem. Washington should be more focused on the millions of Americans revolted by last week’s violence - and punishing the man responsible for it - than worrying about the hurt feelings of those who enabled him.

Photo: Getty Images

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