Watching the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, I’m overwhelmed by two emotions: anger and despair. The anger comes from being reminded so vividly of what Trump did from Nov. 4 through the morning of Jan. 6 to foment an insurrection against American democracy. The despair is a product of knowing that it almost certainly won’t matter in the near term, since insufficient numbers of Republican senators will vote to convict him, and that it may well never matter in the long run either.
That last suspicion is where I part ways with most Trump critics. Over and over we hear that, although Trump is overwhelmingly likely to be acquitted, that outcome will be judged harshly by history, with Trump himself treated as an outright traitor and his partisan enablers living out their lives under a shadow of shame, their grandchildren viewing them as monsters who put their own advantage ahead of both the good of their country and truth itself.