Apparently the principled longtime conservative columnist is a great admirer of longtime Republican establishment political operative Mitch McConnell.
Will is right about one thing. The next two years, at least, is going to be a battle between Trump and McConnell for the Republican Party. McConnell is setting the contest up himself.
From Will’s column:
McConnell knows that Trump’s grip on the Republican base — its activist core, which is disproportionately important in candidate-selection primaries — remains unshaken. But not unshakable. Trump might soon have a bruising rendezvous with the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. (While explaining his opposition to the Senate’s convicting Trump, McConnell pointedly noted that “impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for American justice,” and that “we have a criminal justice system” and “we have civil litigation.”) Trump’s potential problems, legal and financial, might shrink his stature in the eyes of his still-mesmerized supporters. McConnell knows, however, that the heavy lifting involved in shrinking Trump’s influence must be done by politics.
A McConnell vote to convict Trump on Saturday would have made it easier for the ex-president’s minions to cast the coming 2022 intraparty contests as binary Trump-vs.-McConnell choices. No one’s detestation of Trump matches the breadth and depth of McConnell’s, which includes a professional’s disdain for a dilettante. Trump enthusiasts are as hostile to McConnell as progressives are. He is equally impervious to the disapproval of both factions.
The Senate chaplain’s prayer that opened the impeachment trial’s first day included a familiar stanza from James Russell Lowell’s 1845 poem written during heated national debates about slavery and the looming war with Mexico: “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, / In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side.” A political “moment” can, however, be a protracted process, as McConnell, who titled his 2016 memoir “The Long Game,” understands.