Shipwreckedcrew has some tweets and an article out that discuss what could be called "impeachment and beyond". In other words, what meaning can we draw from the breakdown of the impeachment vote and what can we reasonably predict about where the GOP is headed during the next four years.
For now I think we can take it as given the Trump is not going to go away. He isn't going to concede, he'll find some forum for communicating directly to America over the heads of the lilliputians in DC. As for the Imperial City, it will remain under military occupation and much of the country will be under effective hostile occupation in the form of lockdowns to one degree or another--heightening the differences between Red and Blue America. As for any legislative agenda on the part of the Zhou Baiden regime, I'll be very surprised if anything at all gets done. And then there will be the inevitable problems that will arise--foreign and domestic. The border crisis is already raising its head. Crime will remain endemic in Blue cities. I expect a mess--at best.
As for the impeachment vote, SWC is totally cynical. Here's his short version from his article:
Donald Trump is not in the [rear] view mirror of the Senate Republicans. Forty-three of [them] recognized the silhouette of him on the highway up ahead, and acted accordingly.
In other words, surprise! They voted their political interests.
That should go without saying, in the general run of politics, but it may not be quite that simple. SWC runs through the seven RINO votes. Here's how I break them down:
3 were reelected in 2020, and so may feel safe from MAGA voters - Collins, Sasse, Cassidy;
2 are retiring at the end of their current terms - Toomey, Burr;
2 could be electorally vulnerable - Romney, Murkowski.
Not much in the way of surprises there. As for the remaining 43, here's how SWC sorts them out--basically in three camps, all reflecting the presence of an elephant in the GOP room--an elephant named Trump:
1) they are up for election in 2022, and want to avoid a MAGA challenge in the next 8-12 months which will put them in a difficult primary fight;
2) they are up for election in 2024, and without the certainty of barring Pres. Trump from the ballot, they didn’t want to stand for re-election in a contest where Pres. Trump might be on the ballot and pointing out the fact that the GOP Senator in the state voted to prevent him from running again, and
3) if Pres. Trump does not run again in 2024, they want to be in a position to have Pres. Trump back them for the nomination with the MAGA base.
I haven't attempted to run down the roster of GOP senators, but one name that doesn't fit in those groupings is Lindsey Graham, who was reelected in 2020. Graham, as usual, is hard to figure. Obviously he likes to stand in front of microphones, to be interviewed, to see his name mentioned. Nevertheless, it remains that, in the absence of leadership from McConnell and even in opposition to McConnell, Graham provided some much needed leadership when he didn't have to. Perhaps he sees himself as some sort of bridge between NeverTrumps and ... Trump himself? It's worth keeping an eye on. Especially given the dearth of leadership at the head of the Senate GOP. SWC really popped balloons with this observation:
Another question going forward is the future of Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader. The Senate leadership process is a hidebound process trapped in tradition. McConnell’s greatest strength right now is the lack of a sure-fire replacement from within the leadership ranks. He was just re-elected to another six-year term. The GOP Whip is John Thune of SD, another Senator without strong support from the MAGA constituency. After Thune is Conference Chair John Barrasso from Wyoming.
Yikes! Nothing like keeping your young talent down. Never say never, but it's very hard to see any open challenges to McConnell's leadership. Still, I think his days of strong leadership have gone down the drain. The other senators know that he acted without regard to their political interests. A disloyal leader can't expect support.
As for the possibility of a GOP senator running for president in the event that Trump doesn't do so, I think Emerald Robinson's idea that the establishment is hoping for a sure fire losing ticket of Pence/Haley has a lot going for it. Among senatorial prospects, Ted Cruz is undoubtedly ambitious and would run, given half a chance. With that in mind, I offer these two SWC tweets:
I understand the draw of DeSantis and I do like him, but Ted Cruz is smarter than all of them and learned a lot of lessons from 2016 and since. https://t.co/6QgPLoWrK1— shipwreckedcrew (@shipwreckedcrew) February 13, 2021
I agree that Cruz is very bright. He's also abrasive and has some baggage, policy-wise. I would not underestimate the attractiveness to voters of a highly successful governor who has shown leadership in a big state in difficult circumstances. That said, I know little about DeSantis--just sayin'. Past a certain point, brains are not everything.
Cruz knows those policies will not get him to the WH. He will run on the same basic policies that Trump ran on. https://t.co/eMDiA2GfGh— shipwreckedcrew (@shipwreckedcrew) February 13, 2021
This reminds me of something that I said the other day--and which SWC points to in his first tweet: I think Cruz has watched and listened and learned from Trump over the last four years. I've always been cautious with regard to Cruz, but the willingness of a guy who is obviously very smart to swallow his pride and learn from the guy who whupped him is always impressive. I believe a Cruz 2024 campaign would look very different from the 2016 version. Beyond the policies, perhaps Cruz would give more free rein to his rather wicked sense of humor--a human touch he sorely needs as a candidate.
So there we are. Expect the unexpected--more so, perhaps, than usual. The big question remains: Where will Trump be in all this?