Do you remember the days and weeks leading up to the Senate’s vote on the disastrous Republican “repeal and replace” healthcare bill during Trump’s first year as president?
I do. Thousands of everyday Americans called their Senators, and attended town halls, and demanded meetings in their local offices, and wrote op-eds for their local papers, and more. We demanded to be heard on this incredibly important topic and we did not give up. Back in 2017, we had no reason to believe that the Republican Senators would vote the way Democrats wanted them to. But we cared a LOT about this issue and nothing was going to stop us.
And then we won. The Republicans failed to get enough votes to pass their bill.
We’ve all seen the power of a motivated citizenry. So I’m very perplexed as to why everyone, and I mean everyone, says out loud that the Senate will not vote to convict Trump in the upcoming impeachment trial. I hear it all the time–on TV, in podcasts, from friends and family, and on social media.
Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s when your pessimism in turn cripples your willingness to act and viola! you literally make it happen, just as you feared.
If you think there is zero chance your Senator will convict Trump, how willing are you to call him and give him hell on the phone? You’re just going to let it slide and not call? If you don’t bother to call, his staffer will tell him he got zero phone calls asking him to convict Trump. Not one of his corporate campaign donors or hometown newspaper whose endorsement he wants is calling to say that they, too, want him to convict Trump because their customers are leaving in droves due to his stance on impeachment. If your Senator feels NO PRESSURE, why indeed would he vote to convict?
Politics is unpredictable and fluid. Pressure works. Also, anything could happen in the coming days and weeks to completely change the situation:
🔹What if the economy takes a nose dive just as the impeachment trial is finishing up?
🔹What if all of the Democratic candidates hoping to flip vulnerable Senate seats are polling great and raising tons of money? Those Republican Senators might not vote to convict.
🔹What if the Senate looks more and more like it’s going to flip to the Democrats, and fearing for their jobs, the Republicans decide to bet on Pence?
🔹What if a few major Republican donors decide that Trump is bad for business and they won’t support Senators in their re-election next year if they are supportive of Trump? Especially if they move against Mitch McConnell–nothing is going to come between McConnell and his re-election, not even Trump.
It’s politics. Anything could happen to completely change the dynamics.
It comes down to a simple question: Have you given up? Are you perfectly happy to let your Senator believe that none of his constituents want him to vote to convict? Are you fine with quietly stepping aside as the Republicans destroy the rule of law?
I sure hope the answer is no.
What actions you can take
If you are not willing to just let the Republican Senators get through impeachment without a fight, then you must take action and you must get more people to see things the way you do.
First of all, we all must reprogram our thinking about the Senate. Stop using defeatist words like “never” and “won’t.” Instead, tell yourself that the impeachment story is not written in stone, it is not yet written in the history books, and that we all have a part to play in shaping the outcome.
When you hear others using language like “the Senate will never convict,” SPEAK UP. Remind them that politics is fluid. Ask them if they’ve given up on the rule of law. Remind them that words affect our belief system and therefore, our actions.
Ask people if they’re ok with letting the Republicans off the hook. Are they ok with not holding them accountable. My guess is they aren’t.
After we’ve reprogrammed our thinking, and remind others to similarly think differently about the situation, we each need to take action. You know the drill by now: 🔹You call your Members of Congress and talk to their staffers. 🔹You send them emails and postcards to tell them how you feel about impeachment and what you’ll do if they dare to let Trump off the hook (i.e. fight like hell to elect their opponent.) 🔹Go with your local group to visit their offices to demand their vote in person. 🔹Find out which companies are supporting their candidacy and tell the company you are boycotting them due to their support of the Senator. 🔹Then get your friends to do that, too. 🔹Write op-eds for your local paper to remind your neighbors that this is not a lost cause. 🔹Contact reporters who write about the Senate trial “being a done deal” by finding their contact information or on their social media account. 🔹Attend your Senators’ town halls (or public events) and make sure your point of view is heard.
It’ll take all of us to help break the pattern. But the rule of law, and our democracy, is at stake. I choose not to be defeatist, but instead hold onto hope that we everyday citizens can truly change the course of history, and then take action to ensure that it does.