President Donald Trump is impeached. And the central figure directing the conclusion of this reality TV drama is Louisville’s own Grim Reaper, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
While Mitch might be a tactical mastermind, he should see the warning signs for his re-election next year. First, the blue wave election of 2016 led to the Democratic majority in the House that just impeached Trump.
Then, Gov. Matt Bevin was repudiated by Kentucky voters despite other Republican victories and Trump’s support. That election proved Democratic strongholds Louisville and Lexington are engaged, angry and going to show up. Even parts of Northern Kentucky turned on Bevin.
But proving there is momentum among Democrats, on the eve of the impeachment vote, hundreds of “Nobody Is Above The Law” rallies were held across the nation.
And people showed up.
The Louisville rally drew a few hundred people out to Metro Hall after dark on a frigid Tuesday night.
They were the tip of the spear.
Mike Broihier, a Democrat who wants to challenge McConnell, was the featured speaker. Among those before him were Dr. Ricky L. Jones, chair of Pan-African Studies at UofL, and Marc Murphy, an attorney, military veteran and The Courier Journal editorial cartoonist.
Dr. Jones made a rousing call for America to steal back the country, citing Frederick Douglass’ description of how he stole his freedom from slavery: “I appear before you this evening as a thief and a robber. I stole this head, these limbs, this body from my master and ran off with them,” Jones said, quoting Douglass.
The enthusiastic crowd cheered.
Murphy appealed to those of us who see real needs of America — helping the homeless, healthcare, rebuilding our highways and schools. He said the impeachment proceedings were distracting but necessary to stop a traitor Trump. He closed, referencing Abraham Lincoln and those who fought in the Civil War and others: “If this president isn’t impeached, then those would have died in vein, and government of the people, by the people and for the people will have perished from the face of the Earth.”
The crowd of hundreds recited the of … by … and for … part.
I was fortunate to have an opportunity to speak that night. Here are some of my thoughts on impeaching Donald Trump… and McConnell.
During this congressional session, McConnell has ignored over 400 bills that have been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and are awaiting a vote in the Senate. Bills including: universal background checks, Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, climate change and the Voter Protection Act.
Instead, he is working with the White House legal counsel to coordinate how to fix the impeachment trial in the Senate (he told Sean Hannity on Fox News recently). McConnell is acting as judge, jury and the defense counsel.
It’s clear that Trump is so indefensible that he and Senate Republicans need McConnell to orchestrate the most favorable trial possible for the person being charged.
McConnell is setting a dangerous precedent. By holding Trump’s hand across Impeachment Avenue, he is telling all future presidents that both things Trump has been impeached for are completely acceptable practice.
McConnell has to realize that when the Democratic nominee for president beats Trump in November 2020, the next president could feel emboldened to work with China to investigate his in-laws, Elaine Chao’s family. What’s more, they could concede major U.S. interests in exchange for China’s willingness to dig up dirt on the Chao family.
Thinking about a Democratic president doing such a thing feels gross, but McConnell is setting the precedent that this should be fair game. It’s just the latest example of how Trump and McConnell have caused untold damage.
The good news is there is hope. In this last election, newly energized voters showed up to speak truth to and overturn power.
The rally proves they are still showing up, even on a cold, dark Tuesday night. •