House Democrats kept their solemn oath
Donald Trump was held accountable for his actions this week for perhaps the first time in his adult life, and the U.S. Constitution—along with the foundational principles underpinning it—are much the stronger for it.
As many House Democrats said during Wednesday’s impeachment floor debate, no one goes to Congress to impeach a president. But the truth is, Republicans spent the bulk of 2018 warning voters that a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives would ultimately impeach Trump and guess what? Voters went to the polls in droves to put Democrats in charge anyway. Voters cast their ballots to put a check on a president who was clearly out of control and a party that was aiding and abetting that reckless behavior. That proved true again this month when, right in the midst of the impeachment deliberations, Trump saw fit to tout his continued involvement in Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine schemes and invite Russian Foreign Minister Surgey Lavrov for the high-profile Oval Office visit he has still denied to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Make no mistake, Trump would never be so brazenly flaunting this type of defiance if congressional Republicans hadn’t spent the last three years actively helping him shred the Constitution and trample our rule of law. In fact, just imagine for a moment that American voters hadn’t mobilized to give House Democrats such a sweeping and decisive victory in the 2018 midterms. Imagine the lower chamber had remained in Republican hands. While the whistleblower report would likely have been written, it would have never seen the light of day without House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff to pry it loose. As MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out, President Zelensky would have announced those investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden placing a giant cloud over his candidacy and no one would have known why. And Trump, uniquely emboldened by his success, would then have proceeded to cut deals with any and every other foreign government willing to help him get reelected in 2020, giving him an unfair and perhaps insurmountable advantage.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted this week in a moment of brilliance: “Our Founders, when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue President. I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue President and a rogue Leader in the Senate at the same time.” And without Pelosi in charge of the gavel, we would also have had a rogue Speaker of the House—a frightening thought indeed as we head into a season of reflection and renewal. It’s also an important reminder that all the organizing and donating and letter writing and door knocking and contacting lawmakers and hitting the streets—all that was made worth it this week as Democrats moved decisively to safeguard our democracy. “I have a spring in my step because of the moral courage of our caucus,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday.
To be sure, Democrats took the tough vote this week, not Republicans. Allowing for the status quo to persist in Washington is always the easier path on Capitol Hill. And the freshman Democrats who summoned the moral courage to put their seats on the line wouldn’t have been there without the hard work of committed citizens like yourselves across the country. So rest up, be merry and light, hug your loved ones, find the goodness in the season of whatever holiday you may be celebrating. America and its future generations are going to need every ounce of us next year as we put in our best effort to grind it out until Election Day. But for now, bask in the glory of what was accomplished through our collective efforts ever since Trump was elected on that fateful November day in 2016. All that hard work bore fruit this week. And certainly it helped safeguard our 2020 election from the groundswell of foreign influence that Trump and his Republican henchmen would have surely invited were it not for House Democrats standing in the way.