I’ve spent a good bit of this morning wading through some of the commentary about the impeachment trial vote. That went pretty much exactly as predicted. I don’t know that I have much to add there except to say that the constitution is pretty much broken in that regard. I don’t really know what the solution is. A public referendum? Push it all over to the supreme court? Some sort of bi-partisan panel? I don’t know. I just know that I’m hard pressed to think of any actions that might convince members of one’s own party to vote against them especially if the outcome can be used to paint that party as a whole in a negative light or interpreted as a rejection of your party.

It’s also, yet another, indictment of the party system in general. Any solution to which is a long way down the road if it happens at all. A couple of really good solutions are out there. Jungle primaries and ranked choice voting basically. With widespread adoption of those two things then we should see the election of more centrist and less polarizing candidates which might be less beholden to party. Or at least a little more willing to put duty to the country above pure partisanship. Maybe not much but just a nudge in the right direction would go a long way I think. Perhaps Newton’s first law could take over once momentum were shifted just that little bit. I believe Alaska has recently implemented something like this so it’ll be interesting to see the sort of candidates it produces there.

There’s a lot of chatter about third parties right now but I don’t see it getting very far. At the end of the day survival is more important than anything as illustrated by the impeachment vote. My guess, assuming that something shiny doesn’t distract us before the next election, would be sort sort of center right caucus within in the Republican party. For now Kodos and Kang are the choices unless there are some significant changes in election systems, like Alaska, or even less likely, a change in the attitudes of the electorate. Everyone knows that you can’t elect third party candidates which is why you can’t elect third party candidates.

In any case, now that the trial is over, it would be nice if politics could at least become boring again for just a little while. I don’t expect it will, sadly. That new normal that everyone’s been talking about since the pandemic began is more likely to eventually refer to what passes as political discourse than anything else.