Opinion: US Congress Conducts Second Impeachment Pageant

Photo Credit: C-SPAN, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds up the articles of impeachment

By David Martinez

On January 13, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump for the second time, making him the first US president to be impeached twice. The House has charged Trump with ‘inciting an insurrection,’ a charge which now goes to the Senate for trial. The Senate will not take up the trial until it reconvenes the day prior to Biden’s inauguration on January 19, meaning the proceedings will take place once Trump is essentially out of office.

The proceedings themselves are but another symbolic act in the farce of the US bourgeois democracy, which splits itself into two opposing sports teams for the sake of appearances, but in reality only divides itself into opposing political parties in order to give the illusion of choice.

While conflict among the various representatives of the US imperialist bourgeoisie and its representatives among finance capital, the military industrial complex, etc., is always a feature of the imperialist state, a majority of these forces have been united in the wake of the reactionary riots at the Capitol, taking swift action to isolate Trump and limit his ability to wreak his own brand of havoc in their management of affairs.

The impeachment proceedings are nothing but finger-wagging, particularly in comparison with the concrete and immediate moves of the tech monopolies to muzzle Trump on social media, where they have silenced his preferred method of directly agitating his base. In addition, the US National Guard has been deployed en force to Washington D.C., swarming the capital in anticipation of further protests in support of Trump, illustrating that the repressive apparatus still functions entirely to preserve bourgeois democracy as a whole and not this particular president. Trump’s most devoted supporters, while willing to engage in violence at his behest, are no match for the bourgeoisie’s now mobilized military.

For the Democrats, the impeachment mainly reveals their fear of Trump being able to run for office again, knowing he will still be able to command crowds and mobilize voters for the Republican Party. It would require a conviction in the Senate to prevent Trump from holding office in the future, but the House Republicans for their part are less concerned, in the short term taking some steps to distance themselves from Trump’s actions, while denouncing the impeachment as divisive.

The monopoly media has celebrated the 10 Republicans who bucked their party to vote for impeachment, and reports have said some Republican senators have voiced their openness to convict Trump, but it would require 17 of the Republican senators to break ranks in order to meet the 2/3 majority necessary to convict. The chances of this occurring are few, but the monopoly media and Democrats are happy to press the charade in the interest of ratings and fundraising.

In the end, Trump’s ability to run for office will be determined by the imperialist bourgeoisie’s need for him, not on the theatrics of the impeachment process. They’re ready to put him on ice for now as they welcome Biden to maintain US imperialism in a more predictable manner.

Trump’s service to the imperialist state has been to further concentrate power into the executive, and push it further along in its reactionization. Biden’s administration will only increase this trend, putting an empty veneer of calm on top of the misery that US imperialism spreads domestically and abroad.

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