In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Michael Tomasky suggests that the Republican Party is backing Donald Trump in his impeachment fight for obvious reasons -- not wanting to lose control of the Oval Office -- but that is only part of it.
With the Democratic-majority House about to open public impeachment hearings that could be very damaging to the president facing re-election in 2020, the GOP would prefer to nip any impeachment talk of a Republican in the bud because it would expose the way they do business.
According to Tomasky, the latest spin by Republicans is that Trump's pressuring of Ukraine's president for dirt on his political opponents in return for foreign aid might be debatable, but that the effort by the president doesn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
Calling the defense, "more insidious, because in sounding reasonable on the surface it masks the cancer that is eating the Republican Party and has been, in fact, since before Donald Trump ran for president," Tomasky wrote, "the seemingly reasonable, soft-shell defense of Trump is grounded in that authoritarianism."
Admitting that Republican are running scared of Trump and his rabid followers, Tomasky explained that there is a deeper fear among party leaders that they will be exposed as anything but a party interested in democratic values.
"Everything Trump has done is unimpeachable for this far creepier and less reassuring reason: They do not want to admit that any Republican president is capable of doing anything illegal or impeachable while in office. They simply will not allow that precedent to be established," he wrote."
"It’s still the case that too few people understand the truth about the modern GOP. It is an un-American party. It is not interested in democracy. It is interested in power. It doesn’t care how it gets it," he elaborated. "Twice in the last five elections, its presidential candidates have lost the popular vote. Suppose that had gone the other way around. Do you think the Electoral College would still exist? I can assure you it would not. They would have found a way to gut it. But because the un-democratic results in 2000 and 2016 happened to favor them—hey, the Electoral College is great! Whatever it takes."
"All this preceded Trump," he continued. "All the crazy gerrymandering is about power over democracy. Remember when the state legislatures of Wisconsin and North Carolina tried to strip the governor’s office of powers during lame-duck sessions because the incoming governors were Democrats? Power over democracy—or, in that case, limiting the legitimate democratic power of the other side. And of course Merrick Garland. Power over democracy."
Adding that it is possible there is "a line" Donald Trump could cross that would make Republicans turn on him and acquiesce to booting him from office, Tomasky issued a warning to readers to not hold their collective breaths.
"So when you hear someone on television say that Republicans’ posture is all about their fear of Trump, don’t buy it. It’s partly about that. But it’s also about this. If they were to acquiesce in the removal of a Republican president, they’d be placing democracy ahead of power. And this is one thing that we know they will not do," he concluded.
You can read the whole piece here (subscription required).