Last Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV (55). This was the 7th Super Bowl victory for the Buc’s starting quarterback Tom Brady (the guy who takes the ball and throws it). Without a doubt, Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time and one of the greatest athletes in American history. Brady is also a friend of Donald Trump’s. Some in the increasingly Woke sports world have criticized Brady for not disavowing the former president and remaining his friend.
Everything in America today is political, even the television commercials. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Super Bowl commercials, usually a highlight of the telecast, were restrained. In one advertisement, rock star Bruce Springsteen drove a Jeep to a chapel in Kansas and spoke of Americans ‘meeting in the middle’, a message of unity in the politically polarized post-Trump world. Previously, Springsteen had called Trump, ‘a threat to our Democracy’, a ‘con man’, and said his presidency was a ‘nightmare’. A few days after the game, TMZ revealed that last year Springsteen was arrested for drunk driving.
After the Bucs victory, tens of thousands took to the streets of Tampa and central Florida in raucous but peaceful celebration. Seeing her constituents enjoying themselves in large crowds, many without masks, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor declared, ‘I'm proud of our community, but those few bad actors will be identified, and the Tampa Police Department will handle it.’ Soon after, critics produced photographs of Mayor Castor celebrating the Tamp Bay Lightning (National Hockey League) winning the Stanley Cup.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has opposed strict lockdown measures and, for the most part, he has kept the state’s economy open. DeSantis has even made masks optional in many circumstances. As of this writing, Florida ranks 15th in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 while locked down New York is 5th and New Jersey is 6th. Last Wednesday, The Miami Herald reported that the Biden Administration was actively considering travel restrictions within the United States, including restrictions on travel to Florida. DeSantis and other Florida Republicans condemned the idea, and the Biden Administration denies it has any such plans.
Super Bowl LV’s ratings were down 8% from the previous year. The second impeachment’s ratings are down as well. The broadcast drew fewer television viewers than former FBI director James Comey’s testimony in 2017 and the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings in 2018. On Saturday night, the local news here in the New York metro area led with the impending ice storm. The second impeachment was, as they say in American television, a ratings bust. First, the Senate heard arguments about the constitutionality of the single article of impeachment charging Trump with ‘incitement’. The senate voted 56-44 that the trial was constitutional, with six Republican Senators breaking ranks. Even if the GOP had maintained party discipline resulting in a 50-50 tie, the article of impeachment still would have gone to trial as Vice President Kamala Harris is President of the Senate and has the tie breaking vote.
On Saturday, the Democrats second impeachment of Trump ended with almost comic ineptitude. Democrat impeachment managers spent their time accusing Trump of inciting a riot. In response, Trump’s lawyers presented a video montage of Democrats using violent rhetoric to encourage their voters. On Saturday morning, the Senate voted to call witnesses. But, when the GOP threatened to call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and DC mayor Muriel Bower to testify, the Dems panicked and agreed to hold the final vote. Only 57 senators voted to convict, resulting in an acquittal. Trump is the most acquitted president in American history, the Deplorables joke.
Though he voted to acquit, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell excoriated Trump and seven GOP senators voted to convict. Several of these senators have already been censured by their state Republican parties. Censure is the base’s preferred way of expressing displeasure with the GOP Establishment. Wyoming representative and GOP house caucus chair Liz Cheney has been formally condemned by the Wyoming Republican Party for voting for impeachment. The South Carolina GOP censured House Member Tim Rice for doing the same. In Arizona, where pro-Trump forces just won a bruising battle for party control with the Establishment GOP, the state GOP censured former Senator Jeff Flake and John McCain’s widow for criticizing Trump. Meanwhile, Trump’s former national security advisor, Nikki Haley slammed her former boss, ‘We need to acknowledge he let us down,’ said the presidential hopeful. ‘He went down a path he shouldn’t have. And we shouldn’t have followed him. And we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.’
Haley will certainly gain favor with the media for slamming Trump, but she has severely hurt her standing with the GOP base, which already suspected the former South Carolina governor of being a female version of failed presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Perhaps Haley, Bush, and company can find a home in the new political party several dozen former GOP operatives and Bush Administration alumni are building. She may have to. A Morning Consult Poll taken in late January found 81% of Republicans approved of Donald Trump and 50% said Trump should play a ‘major role’ in the Republican Party. A CBS poll found that 70% would consider joining a Trump Party. The GOP establishment is badly losing the war for control of the Republican Party.