EDITORIAL – Politics prevail over justice – again.

For months before the 2020 election on Nov. 3, former President Trump set himself up in case of defeat. Mr. Trump spread misinformation all over Twitter and his other platforms, claiming the Democrats were attempting to steal the election, with debunked claims that mail-in ballots are prone to fraud.

It was clear that Mr. Trump believed it would be impossible to defeat him. What ensued after his defeat was incredibly predictable and in line with his behavior throughout his term. Republicans were silent throughout this period and left the social media companies to fact-check the President for them. 

Once Fox News had called Arizona for Joe Biden (notably earlier than other networks like CNN and MSNBC), Mr. Trump began lashing out on the network. Once the red wave had vanished in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, Mr. Trump refused to concede and unleashed a wide swath of conspiracy theories about a stolen election. 

Some of his strongest allies were quick to rally around this idea. Unsurprisingly, a severe lack of evidence quickly inspired most courts to dismiss the numerous lawsuits filed, including the Supreme Court, which rejected to hear a Texas lawsuit attempting to disenfranchise 10 million voters in swing states.   

Fast forward to January, influential Republicans like Senator Mitch McConnell finally began to denounce Mr. Trump’s spread of conspiracies and misinformation. However, most still did not condemn the spread as potentially dangerous to any serious degree.   

Jan. 6 was the dramatic statement many of Mr. Trump’s allies and silent dissenters needed to break away publicly. Notably, secretaries in Mr. Trump’s cabinet like former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.   

The articles of impeachment were quickly filed in response to Trump’s fiery speech before the attack and his rhetoric in the weeks prior. The House of Representatives quickly passed the articles with 10 supporting Republican votes. Still, it was stalled as Mitch McConnell refused to begin the trial until after Joe Biden was inaugurated as President, where Mr. Trump was ultimately acquitted.   

The 10 Republican votes in the house and seven in the senate are not enough. The conviction was not only warranted but absolutely needed to show that the behavior of Mr. Trump and his supporters demonstrated during the last months of his term is unacceptable in the United States. 

The show of loyalty to the former President and his supporters shows the disarray the GOP is likely to face in the upcoming years and their indifference to the constitutional processes that keep our democracy intact. With more rising stars like Nicki Haley distancing herself from Mr. Trump after the attack at the capital, the GOP has a choice to make.

It has already chosen not to be impartial jurors in the impeachment trial, now it must decide to appease an extremely loyal base of Trump’s supporters or rebrand the republican party into something viable in future elections.   

The GOP could have done themselves a favor by barring Mr. Trump from holding office again, but they have left the door open for his reappearance in a 2024 presidential bid. If the GOP truly loves this country, they will let Mr. Trump’s term fade into a distant memory and find others to run in 2024.