Can I be a Republican and a professional

A moral declaration of bankruptcy by the US Republicans

Adam Kinzinger felt firsthand the consequences of standing up to Donald Trump. The Republican leadership in his home state of Illinois reprimanded the congressman for supporting the impeachment. Even his relatives publicly distanced themselves from the 42-year-old, who was once the pride of the family. Now Kinzinger has to reckon with an opposing candidate from the Trump camp in the next primary elections, who will dispute him for the seat in 2022. While other MPs do not dare to look up for fear of Trump's influence on the activists at the grassroots level, the upright conservative wants to continue to fight for his principles.

The Kinzinger case illustrates how far the Republicans have moved to the right in recent years. Mind you, it was Sarah Palin who supported the Illinois whiz in his first election to Congress in 2010. The same Palin who, as running mate John McCain, helped right-wing populism to break through in the party two years earlier. Judging by the ex-president, Palin is moderate today and Kinzinger is an orphan. In just four years, Trump, who ran as a candidate in 2015, destroyed his creators, who thought they could use him and his fans for their own purposes. But Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's and other country club Republicans' bill did not work out.

On the contrary: Trump pushed them out of the party's former “big tent”, under whose roof there would be no more space for Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes. Their once dominant role has been taken over by Trump's supporters, who make common cause with evangelical culture warriors, conspiracy theorists and white nationalists. The actual balance of power in the party can be seen from the behavior of the Republicans in the Senate on the day of the impeachment judgment.

The “Mar-a-Lago” syndrome

Although Trump had risked the lives of his own followers and left them defenseless to their fate for a long time, 43 senators remained loyal to him. In the US media, the concise term “Mar-a-Lago” syndrome appeared for the phenomenon. From there, Trump controls his Red Cap army, which threatens all dissenters within the “Grand Old Party” politically - and increasingly also physically.

How cynical: Minority Leader McConnell read out a manifesto in Congress after the vote. In it he pretended to distance himself from what was happening. Only to then justify his surrender to Trump with flimsy arguments. Doing the wrong thing out of concern for maintaining your own power is just cowardly. A moral declaration of bankruptcy for which there is no excuse. In addition, McConnell and other conservatives' appeasement strategy will not work. History is all too well known what fascists do to conservatives who believe they can keep the mob at bay.

Trump's thugs - from the Proud Boys to the Oath Keepers to the Three Percenters - will see their leader's acquittal as nothing more than a ticket to more political violence. With their blind following at the second impeachment, the Republicans sealed the change to the personality cult. The party “belongs” to Trump, as QAnon conspiracy cult Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene recently correctly said. The Republicans didn't even decide on a program at their most recent party conference in the summer.

The party of the slave liberator Abraham Lincoln can hardly sink much lower. Their leaders accept the threat to their own lives and tolerate extremists in their ranks. Renewal by itself seems impossible. The upright conservatives should quickly create an alternative. A two-party system needs a strong opposition that is more committed to democracy than to a dangerous demagogue.