Well, what we all knew would happen happened. I mean, no one's really all that shocked, right? Going into it, any other outcome would've been an uphill climb even without the stumbling blocks that kept getting tossed in the path.
I am, of course, referring to the United States Senate voting to not oust President Donald J. Trump from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Following his impeachment on those charges earlier in the year, the trial lasted little over two weeks and was noted by the Senate's refusal to allow witness testimony during their trial. Like the votes for impeachment, the votes today went pretty much straight down party lines.
And that "pretty much" was a bit of an interesting wrinkle. The GOP was hoping some conservative Democrats in heavily Trump supporting areas would jump ship. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kristen Sinema of Arizona were wobbly until yesterday, and a lot of folks thought Doug Jones would jump ship. He's facing a pretty tough election against former Trump whipping boy Jeff Sessions for the Alabama seat. He announced he'd vote for conviction earlier today, though, and that was that.
Interestingly, the only dissenting vote came from the GOP. Mitt Romney, of all people, voted with the Democrats on the Abuse of Power Article (52-48, with two Independents voting with the Democrats) while sticking with the party for the Obstruction of Congress (53-47). I ain't going to lie, I figured the latter is where Trump would see more kickback, but there you go.
So. Where does this leave us? Well, for one, Trump's still president. At the same time, he's still impeached, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as the three American presidents who've been impeached and acquitted by Congress. Again, there should be absolutely no reason all this comes as a shock to anyone. Democrats control the House and Republicans control the Senate, it might as well have been written in the stars.
Furthermore, the GOP-led Senate basically told Trump to do whatever he wanted, however he wanted, to whomever he wanted, and they'd always have his back. Again, this shouldn't come as a shock to anyone at all. Trump owns the GOP, body and soul, and Trumpism has fully replaced any previous concept of American Conservatism. How this will play out in the long run, I don't know. He may loose in November and they may back him when he refuses to leave office or Mitch McConnell may use that opportunity to stick the knife in, the dirty bastard.
The M-zombies' faith in their New Savior has never shaken and this just makes it stronger, if possible. They're already inclined to "take up arms" for him. One thing I do find interesting, though, is we're not seeing much sympathetic crawling from the soi-disant "Never Trumpers". Back when Supreme Court Justice Brett "Kegger" Kavanaugh was going through his hearing, the conservatives who were disgusted with Trump's behavior - no, really, they claim this is reality - were shocked and dismayed at how mean those nasty ol' Democrats were to Saint Kavanaugh. What's a little sexual assault and financial underhandedness between Our Proper Leaders, they said. Sadly, this meant they'd have no choice but to vote to re-elect Trump - who's actual policies they've never had a problem with - come November, and it's all someone else's fault. As always. It's never theirs. Don't question it.
Didn't see that all that much this time around. Granted, that might just be me, as I've muted most of the "Never Trumpers" on Twitter because regardless of their performative objection to a president doing just what they'd want otherwise, only with less class than they'd prefer, because they're not worth listening to in any event.
On the opposite side of the aisle, the worry was that acquittal would sap some of the fight from the Democrats and Left in general in getting Trump out of office by hook or by crook. Again, maybe it's there but I'm not seeing that. Perhaps it was that inevitability we discussed earlier, folks knew that this was tilting at windmills at best. Maybe the disappointment that came with Robert Mueller's lukewarm report from last year, which reminded me of nothing so much as when I'd have to review a bad album by a local band, toughened the hides. Despite the ongoing stumbling mess that was the Iowa Caucuses and the general drag the Trump Administration has been the past couple years, most people seem to be more or less as enthusiastic for kicking his ass out of office as they were last month.
So, again the question comes around, where does this leave us? An interesting place, I think. Despite the GOP's hopes and the Democrats' fear, no one really crossed the aisle. Sure, Romney did, but I'm inclined to believe he's more interested in his "legacy" more than anything else. Utah's pretty goddamn right wing but in their own special way, so I doubt he worried much about re-election. Folks like Jones and Manchin must've decided that throwing in with Trump would do them more harm than good or, if not that, it wouldn't do them any good at all. Republicans in Alabama who were ready to vote for Roy Moore, the Redneck Roman Polaski, aren't going to soften for any Democrat. Y'all can just forget that.
Whether you like to admit it or not, the Electoral College is geared to help out conservatives or, at least, conservative elements in American politics. It was set up that way, designed that way, going all the way back to the Founding Fathers deciding black folks only counted as 3/5ths a person and they still couldn't vote. That being said, regardless of how the states go for Trump come November, electing Senators is a different cup of meat. On-the-edge Democrats need all the help they can get and GOP candidates might - might - suffer for bending a knee to Trump. Might.
Time will tell and, as with all prognostication, it's silly to speculate to much. In the end, Trump was impeached but not removed from office. The Republican Party are even more in his pocket and the Democratic Party is just as bowed up against Trump and his lackeys. It's still nine whole months until the needle drops and that is several lifetimes in the political world.
And besides, by this time next week, there's no telling what the goofy bastard will have done by next week to make us wonder if we didn't enter the Mirror Universe after the LHC was switched on back in 2008.