Tuesday was a bad day for the Republican Party, both in substance and appearance. The catastrophes were led by House Republicans’ failure to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. This was not surprising because the Republicans’ slim majority of 219 to 212 seats meant they could afford to lose just three votes, which they did. With Steve Scalise unable to join them due to cancer treatment, the final vote resulted in a 215-215 tie, and the impeachment attempt died an ignominious death. GOP conference vice chair Blake Moore of Utah changed his vote to no, resulting in a 214-216 final tally, a procedural move that allows Republicans to revive the measure for another vote. What a pathetic display of governance. The show was complete with Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers being wheeled into the chamber in full neck and chest brace after a car accident, which couldn’t have been any worse than this train wreck. And to think they are angling for a repeat performance. And remember, there is a Joe Biden debacle waiting in the wings.
If the GOP’s rush to an unprecedented impeachment of a Cabinet official looked like a clown show, their efforts to derail their own legislation to address chaos at the southern border was a thing of beauty. President Biden and the Democrats took their bait and negotiated a tough immigration bill in the Senate, one that would have certainly upset a significant number of Democratic progressives. It would dramatically change immigration law by capping the number of asylum seekers entering the country, raising the legal standard of proof to pass the initial screening process, expediting the asylum processing from years to months, shutting down the border for most migrants if there is an average of more than 5,000 crossing attempts per day over seven days, and ending the “catch and release” practice.
The bill also includes military and economic support for Israel and Ukraine. House Speaker Mike Johnson declared the bill dead on arrival after Donald Trump expressed his disapproval, wanting to use the border chaos issue against Democrats in November. Despite initially supporting the proposed legislation, Senate Republicans eventually caved and began lining up in opposition to a bill with many of their demands in a shameless display of hypocrisy and obsequiousness to Trump. I can see the commercials now with Republicans talking out of both sides of their mouths. Trump’s ego and narcissistic desperation won’t allow him to see this coming.
On the same day, A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit of the U. S. Court of Appeal, including one Republican-appointed judge, smacked down Trump’s claim to immunity from prosecution so thoroughly that many, if not most, legal scholars believe the Supreme Court won’t review the ruling. In a 57-page decision, the panel methodically dismantled all of Trump’s arguments that a former President could not be tried for crimes committed during his time in office. Trump, of course, plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, which could put a hold on the DC court’s findings. Trump may have won a pyrrhic victory because he set out to delay the trial, hopefully beyond the election, allowing him to pardon himself if he were to win back the Presidency. The Supreme will also rule on whether states may use the 14th Amendment to deny Trump a place on its ballots.
The news for Republicans just gets worse. In Tuesday’s Nevada primary that Trump boycotted in favor of today’s caucuses, Nicki Haley finished 33 points behind the “None of These Candidates” option. She will still be declared the victor as the state election laws state that only votes for named candidates will be counted. Offering herself as the only rational and sane choice for Republicans, she was soundly rejected by Nevadans, assuring Trump would walk away with the state’s 26 delegates awarded solely by the caucus process. Things are not looking any better for Haley for the February 24 South Carolina primary, where Trump is leading Haley 58 percent to 32 percent, the state where Haley spent six years as governor before joining the Trump administration as United Nations Ambassador. So, America, it looks like it’s going to be Donald versus Joe.
More bad news for Republicans on Tuesday came from rumors that Trump may be replacing Republican National Republican Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. The RNC ended 2023 with $8 million in hand, less than half of the cash the Democratic National Committee has in the bank. I will stop here. Any more, and it would seem like piling on.
The Grand Old Party once prided itself on being the party of law and order. How the mighty has fallen as the MAGA (Make American Great Again) crowd has lost all regard for the rule of law. Respect and adherence to the rule of law are crucial for a healthy democracy. Young people, including the many young social workers, are not happy with a choice between Biden and Trump. But talk of boycotting the election is the wrong response. I am looking forward to hearing their thoughts during our March 13 Young Social Workers Speaks panel discussion during Social Work on the Hill Day.