Collapse Of A Failing Democracy

9 min readJan 31, 2020

In the next few hours, Republicans in the Senate will vote to give Donald Trump near dictatorial powers, signaling perhaps the penultimate step in the destruction of our democracy. The fight over whether to have witnesses was merely a sideshow because the ultimate verdict was already destined. The President’s lawyers argued that the President is free to do virtually anything, even commit crimes, for his own personal benefit as long as he or she determines those acts are also in the national interest. Alan Dershowitz made this quite clear when he declared, “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment”, adding, “A complex middle case is ‘I want to be elected, I think I’m a great president, I think I’m the greatest president there ever was and if I’m not elected, the national interest will suffer greatly.’ That cannot be an impeachable offense.” As David Rothkopf notes, “Nixon said that if the president does it, it is not a crime. Trump is going a step further and saying that if the president does it, it is in the national interest. This gives him not only license to do anything but justification to direct the gov’t to serve him above all”. By voting to acquit Trump and allow this, which is virtually guaranteed at this point, GOP Senators will agree that the President can use the entire government as part of a racketeering enterprise, much as Trump has already done for the last three years.

This decision by congressional Republicans will further endanger the chances for anything remotely like a free and fair election this November, if we even have one. As one CNN commentator noted last night, Trump would be “foolish not to” try to rig the 2020 election because the Senate has just declared it would be “perfectly permissible behavior”. Trump, at minimum, benefitted from direct foreign interference in 2016. His extortion of Ukraine has not only been used to obstruct the Mueller investigation but also targeted what he believed would be his strongest election opponent. With impeachment dispensed with, there is now no limit on how far Trump will go to ensure his re-election. After all, he began extorting Ukraine for his 2020 election literally the day after it became clear Mueller would not touch him. Worse, Senate Republicans are apparently hoping he will…


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