Count soon-to-be former US Sen. Richard Burr among the seven Senate Republicans who put their country before their party by voting to impeach former President Trump.
For his efforts, the North Carolina Republicans central committee officially censured him, unanimously, in an emergency vote Monday night.
It’s not exactly cancel culture — there is no penalty for Burr, who has already stated that he won’t be running for re-election in 2022. But Mark Walker capitalized on it anyway, making a rebuke of Burr the central plank in his campaign for the Senate seat.
This is, of course, a huge political miscalculation on the part of the NC GOP. They fail to realize that everything changed for them on Jan. 6, when the people most affected by their message committed actual, armed insurrection, as garden-variety Republicans recoiled in horror and disgust.
Politicians are always the last to know what’s happening on the ground.
National and state polling showed support for Trump’s impeachment by as much as 58 percent. Political momentum is flowing away from the Republican Party, as are campaign donations for anyone associated with the insurrection. The party itself, too, is shrinking in North Carolina and elsewhere. And everyone who calls themselves a Republican must now answer some very serious questions before they run for office: Do they believe Trump won the 2020 election? And do they support Trump’s insurrection?
As for Burr, who knows why he did the right thing. Maybe it’s because his adversaries have already played their one card against him: that insider-trading thing back in March, which ultimately went nowhere.
Maybe he finally had the crisis of conscience that so many of his party must eventually face: that they have aided and abetted a madman in his quest for power, abandoning the ideal of the rule of law.
Or maybe he did it because he’s retiring, and he wants to have dinner at a restaurant in Winston-Salem without worrying that someone is going to spit in his food.
It doesn’t really matter, though, does it?
Burr’s “stand” was a dollar short and a day late. But every vote counts in making the case that Trump bears responsibility for a violent assault on democratic institutions. Burr is one of 57 out of 100 votes for impeachment, the highest number in history.
In this dangerous moment, Burr picked the right side. History — and his neighbors in Winston-Salem — will remember.