Had Republicans even shreds of principle or spine, they’d be joining calls for impeachment. As if.

A handful of elected Republicans—most notably Adam Kinzinger—have taken a stand in favor of giving the squatter in the White House the 25th Amendment treatment and ousting him from power. This is happening against the backdrop of some Cabinet members resigning to get themselves out of having to vote on the amendment so they can launch the process of scraping the Trump taint off their résumés and reputations. Given that Vice President Mike Pence is a key character in the process and has said he doesn’t favor employing the 25th, that preemptive approach to dumping this dangerous man is off the table anyway.

The only remaining option—other than letting Trump serve out his term doing who knows what new damage to the nation in the dozen days he has left to muck things up—is impeachment No. 2. Democrats met today to discuss how to move forward. So far, 159 of them in the House (71% of the Democratic caucus) and 22 in the Senate (not quite half the caucus there) have made their support for impeachment clear.They are serious with good reason. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted at a caucus meeting today, she has asked the Joint Chiefs chairman for options to prevent “an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.” On Monday, they’ll be voting on a single article of impeachment, the charge being “inciting violence against the government of the United States." 

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If the Republican Party were made up of a majority of principled men and women, as is regularly asserted by its apologists, there ought to be a deluge of its congressional delegations joining those Democrats in seeking impeachment. But—and I know readers will be shocked and surprised—they aren’t.

Kinzinger has said “maybe” to backing impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney hasn’t gone that far, but he seems like a possible “yes.” He was the only Republican senator to cast a vote to convict Trump during his impeachment a year ago, accusing him of "an appalling abuse of the public trust," an assessment that looks exceedingly mild given what has happened in the 12 months since then. The only Republican who voted for articles of impeachment in the House was Justin Amash. But he is no longer in the party nor in Congress. 

Okay, sure, there are differences in the depth of toadiness congressional Republicans have stooped to during the past four years. But even those few who haven’t been in the gang of cringing, fawning, bootlicking ass-kissers haven’t genuinely challenged Trump on any matter of importance. There’s no need for guessing why. Cowardice ranks right up there. But mostly it’s because they love what Trump has been doing to the courts, to the environment, to taxes, to voting rights, and on and on through the lengthy roster. It’s the extremist Republican agenda that’s been half a century in the making. He’s fulfilling some of the right-wing wishes unachieved by Ronald Reagan and the Bushes. 

Yes, some of today’s Republicans see him as flamboyantly vulgar, egotistical above average, immensely slothful, laudatory of Nazis, ignorant of details, recklessly inciting, and viciously begrudging, but damn, he gets stuff done that the party wants done. And for added benefit, Trump stands firm against the demands of people of color and pisses off Democrats on a daily basis. Because they know full well they’ll be on his shit-list if they cross him in any way, they aren’t even willing to risk that for the 12 days he’ll remain in office if not removed by the Senate.

It’s started already, but soon, among the Republican Party’s timeservers on the make, the effort to cleanse themselves of the fecal Trump scent will be in full swing. Lindsey Graham will be telling voters he has never heard of the man. But most of the toadies will keep toadying. Given that 74 million Americans voted for Trump, it remains to be seen which campaign method will succeed.

If they’re genuinely serious about even partially redeeming themselves, of decontaminating, Republicans could make themselves a helluva lot more convincing in coming years to the majority of Americans by reaching across the aisle and signing up now with the Democratic impeachers. They won’t. They have neither the principles nor the guts for it. And those are key reasons our nation is in the several predicaments afflicting it.

Some critics argue that the Republican Party is dead. That Trump has killed it. Such prognostications aren’t new, but they are premature. What will happen, as anybody who lived through 2020 is all too well aware, is unpredictable. But if the end does come, Republican unwillingness to have stood up against Trump—even in the face of an armed assault on the Capitol that left five dead and Congress sheltering in place like third-graders practicing “active shooter” drills—will certainly have provided some nails in the party’s coffin.

This is no drill, Republicans. Take the first step in proving you won’t be as corrupt and evil and lickspittle as you have been by getting on board and helping evict Trump. Until then, spare us from hearing any of you dare to call yourself a patriot.