Republicans’ Dereliction of Duty and Our Duty to Defeat Them — Three Ways to Take Action with JDCA
By Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America
The Senate impeachment trial ended on Saturday largely as predicted — 10 votes shy of conviction, with the vast majority of Republicans refusing to hold Donald Trump accountable. It was a betrayal of the American people who deserve better than the Republican Party’s ongoing embrace of dangerous extremists, including Trump and the insurrectionists he incited to storm the U.S. Capitol. In the absence of a conviction, it’s clear that the best way to combat extremism, ensure accountability and pursue justice is to defeat Republicans at the polls.
Trump acted with impunity after acquittal in his first impeachment, and extremists will act with impunity after this second acquittal. We’ve already seen indications of that, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) threatening a Republican member of Congress for offering testimony during the trial, and two days later, launching an antisemitic attack against George Soros. If the impeachment trial was a battle for the soul of the GOP, it’s clear that the Republican Party has sold its soul to Donald Trump.
But all is not lost. House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) reminded us that “Trump was successfully prosecuted in the court of public opinion and the court of history.”
The trial presented a clear and compelling case that Donald Trump incited an insurrection, which resulted in the most bipartisan vote in support of convicting a president in American history. The vote on Saturday, and the aftermath of the last few days, also proved that the Republican Party remains beholden to Trump and his extremist base. They were forced to make a choice, and they chose extremism. It’s that simple.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — and the 42 other Republicans who acquitted Trump despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt — will be judged harshly by history and the American people.
Minutes after voting to acquit Trump, McConnell delivered a baffling speech excoriating Trump’s “dereliction of duty.” McConnell said, “There is no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.” Those words might have meant something if McConnell had voted to convict. Instead, McConnnell’s empty and cynical words simply underscored that hypocrisy now defines the Republican Party.
Justice is a fundamental Jewish value. Last Shabbat — as Republicans were preparing to acquit Trump — many Jews recited the prayer for our country, asking our leaders to exercise just authority. While justice was not served in this trial, there are other means to hold Trump and those who enabled and excused him accountable. There is civil and criminal litigation, and there is the next election. We can ensure justice is served by defeating Republicans at the polls.
If it wasn’t already clear, Sunday was the unofficial kickoff of the 2022 midterm elections. We can no longer wait for Republicans to ensure accountability for wrongdoing — we must bring about justice ourselves by electing Democrats.
As we seek to expand Democrats’ narrow majorities in the Senate and House in 2022, we are looking at those vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection in the midterms, especially those who gave a green light to Trump’s insurrection, including Senators Rubio (FL) and Johnson (WI). We are also looking closely at three open Senate seats with retiring Republican incumbents — Senators Burr (NC), Portman (OH), and Toomey (PA).
In these states and more, the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) has local chapters and supporters ready to get to work. Join us today by taking action. McConnell called out Republicans’ “dereliction of duty” and now it’s our duty to defeat them.
Here are three ways you can get involved:
- Join a state chapter: In 2020, JDCA grew chapters in key states and regions where the Jewish vote can impact the outcome of elections. In 2021, JDCA’s chapters will continue to be central to electing Democrats and giving voice to our values.
- Sign our petition against voter suppression: In the first few weeks of 2021 alone, Republicans filed over 100 bills in 28 states to suppress the right to vote, the largest attack on our voting rights since the Jim Crow era. Click here to show that you support protection of our right to vote and oppose renewed GOP efforts to suppress the voices of millions of Americans.
- Become a member of JDCA: JDCA members will have access to exclusive political programming and briefings in 2021. For past supporters, JDCA membership will give you more opportunities to participate in and support our critically important work. Read more about membership levels.
Halie Soifer is the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA)