Rashid: So, Where Do We Go From Here?

In this image from video, the final vote total of 57-43, to acquit former President Donald Trump of the impeachment charge, incitement of insurrection, in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

By Qasim Rashid
February 15, 2021

After the Senate failed to convict Donald Trump, it’s time for some changes.

On February 13, the US Senate voted 57-43 that Donald Trump incited the deadly January 6 insurrection. Unfortunately, because the Senate did not reach the 67 vote threshold to convict, the man who called to execute five innocent Black & Brown boys for a crime they didn’t commit back in 1989 (Google “The Central Park Five“) now walks free after igniting an insurrection that nearly overthrew our democracy. So, where do we go from here?

The aftermath of the insurrection is truly painful to comprehend. Notwithstanding the near assassinations of VP Pence and Speaker Pelosi, the events of January 6 leave irreparable harm. Officer Brian Siknick was beaten to death. Two more police officers died by suicide. Another 140 police officers suffered injury, including one who has brain trauma, another who suffered a crushed disc, another who lost three fingers, another who was stabbed with a metal stake, and another who had his eye gouged out when an insurrectionist attacked him.

And knowing all this, the GOP acquitted the man responsible. So much for Blue Lives Matter, right?

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The Vast Minority Got Their Way

As an illustration of just how undemocratic the Senate is, the 57 Senators voting to convict represent more than 75 million more Americans than voted to acquit. Yet the vast minority got their way instead. Adding insult to injury, after voting to acquit, Senator McConnell spent the next 10 minutes on the Senate floor laying full blame for the insurrection at Donald Trump’s feet. Remember, Senator McConnell delayed the Senate trial until Trump was out of office, and then voted to acquit. Why did he vote to acquit? Because Trump was out of office. 

Senator McConnell’s predictable hypocrisy is just more proof he’ll use the filibuster to sabotage Biden’s agenda. Think about it. If he can excuse a deadly insurrection that almost killed him—solely because it helps his party—do you think he’ll have any trouble blocking President Biden’s legislation if it helps his own Republican Party?

Consider that while 83% of Americans across the political spectrum support Joe Biden’s $1.9T COVID relief package, the GOP Senate unanimously tried to block it. It moved forward in the Senate due to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie breaking vote. This $1.9T in relief provides crucial funding to those out of work, to local and state governments, to schools, and to law enforcement.

The Party of Insurrection

And yet, in the middle of a deadly pandemic that has now killed nearly 500,000 Americans, the GOP remains the party of obstruction and insurrection. In the last 40 days, the GOP acquitted the man who killed and injured police, and then they defunded the police. It’s long been clear the GOP as a political party is detached from the needs of the American people. That includes Republican, independent, or Democrat.

The solution is clear—kill the filibuster and pass meaningful legislation for the American people.

This includes raising the living wage to at least $15/ hour and repeal tax cuts for billionaires. The bottom 90% of Americans have had $50 trillion of our wealth redistributed to the top 1%. It’s time to stop this theft from working Americans. President Biden should cancel all student debt. If the GOP can unanimously vote to cancel $1.7T in taxes for 600 billionaires, then surely President Biden can cancel $1.7T in student debt for 45 million Americans.

Democrats must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and strengthen election security, end voter suppression, and end gerrymandering. Likewise, the ERA, the Equality Act, expanding healthcare access, broadband Internet as a utility, comprehensive immigration reform, and $2000/mo checks for every working American—all must pass as soon as possible.

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The Party of Upholding Insurrection

The GOP has proven itself the party of upholding insurrection. The Democratic Party needs to be the adult in the room and be the party of upholding the US Constitution. The American people across the political spectrum elected Democrats to control the House, the White House, and the Senate. Accordingly, the Democratic Party cannot afford to go anything less than big to uphold justice for all. Our nation’s future is at stake. Let’s get to work.

Qasim Rashid is an attorney, author, and former candidate for US Congress. Follow him on Twitter @QasimRashid.

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