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You didn’t exactly need to be a political Nostradamus to predict that this would happen. Senate Republicans are already facing an intense backlash from their constituents for their decision to vote in favor of convicting former President Donald Trump during his impeachment trial.
The seven GOP senators who sided with Democrats to remove Trump after he is already out of office included the usual suspects. “Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania,” all voted to convict the former president according to Fox News.
Cassidy is already facing a strong rebuke from his state’s Republican Party, which announced on Saturday that it unanimously voted to censure the lawmaker.
“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,” Cassidy tweeted on Saturday evening.
Pennsylvania’s GOP slammed Sen. Toomey for his vote in support of conviction.
“This post-presidency impeachment proceeding was an unconstitutional theft of time and energy that did absolutely nothing to unify or help the American people,” PAGOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas argued in a statement. “I share the disappointment of many of our grassroots leaders and volunteers over Senator Toomey’s vote today. The vote to acquit was the constitutionally correct outcome.”
However, this will not carry much of a punishment for the senator, as he already announced in October that he would not seek re-election in 2022. However, it will give Pennsylvania Republican voters a chance to replace him with a lawmaker who actually represents their interests.
Sen. Burr, who also indicated that he would not seek re-election, voted with the Democrats as well.
NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley released a statement asserting “North Carolina Republicans sent Senator Burr to the United States Senate to uphold the Constitution and his vote today to convict in a trial that he declared unconstitutional is shocking and disappointing,”
Sen. Ben Sasse, who has frequently taken the “Orange Man Bad” line, is also dealing with backlash due to his vote. At least three Republican groups representing Nebraska counties voted to censure the lawmaker. “The state Republican central committee is expected to consider at least eight separate resolutions to censure him when it meets next month,” according to Fox News.
“You are welcome to censure me again,” Sasse noted in a video released earlier this month, “but let’s be clear about why this is happening. It’s because I still believe, as you used to, that politics isn’t about the weird worship of one dude.”
Each of the senators who voted to convict Trump has placed themselves in a precarious position politically. The non-establishment base is already preparing to primary Republican lawmakers who they believe are not serving the interests of their constituents.
Impeachment was never popular among conservative voters. While they did not approve of the riots at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, they were not fooled by the Democrats’ narrative claiming that Trump was responsible for inciting the violence. These people can easily see that a vote for conviction was just another “Orange Man Bad” vote designed to assuage the thirst for revenge that is prevalent among Democrats in Congress.
Nevertheless, these individuals ignored the wishes of their constituents. But these lawmakers could very likely live to regret this decision during the 2022 primaries if conservative voters are angry enough to show up at the polls and vote to oust these individuals. The fact that the former president is already mobilizing his PAC and $31 million war chest to target the establishment should worry these lawmakers whose political future might just be coming to an end next year.