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We know what effect the impeachment hearings that begin tomorrow morning will have on Republican lawmakers – none.

That’s because they know their Republican constituents firmly stand behind Trump.

There is no mystery about Republicans in Washington and across the country defending Trump against the truth the witnesses will tell about his abuse of power and, in fact, his breaking of the law.

The only mystery is why, at least when it comes to Republican voters.

We know Republicans in Congress are defending Trump because of political expediency, but why have rank and file Republicans lost all concern for truth, for honesty, for the rule of law, for preserving our system of checks and balances, for protecting the Constitution?

Based on my reading, they give two reasons more than any others: the economy and abortion.

I would argue that these are excuses for supporting Trump, not reasons. Here are the facts.

According to an article in the Star Tribune this past weekend, while employment has grown since Trump took office, the economy has actually produced 1.5 million fewer jobs than was the case in the last three years Obama was in office.

What is more, manufacturing that Trump said he would revitalize has accounted for only 40,000 of the total of 2.3 million jobs gained this year. Most jobs today are in the service industry, as they were when the recovery started under Obama.

Trump also promised to bring coal mining back to life, but profits have fallen 38% in the last year. In addition, Murray Coal, the nation’s largest privately-owned coal company, has filed for bankruptcy, along with the Blackjewel mining company.

We also need to factor in the impact of Trump’s trade wars on several industries, especially farming.

Farming is so bad that in order to save his own political skin, Trump has paid farmers more than $28 billion in public assistance. That is twice as much as it cost for the bank bailout over eleven years ago.

But, his supporters say, Trump is rolling back regulations and that is helping the economy. They have the first part of that right. Trump is rolling back regulations, especially when it comes to the environment, such as allowing dumping coal sludge into creeks to resume.

The part they get wrong is the impact on jobs. In an article earlier this year, conservative economists at Golden Sacks found no evidence that rolling back regulations is helping the economy. “We find no evidence that employment or capital spending accelerated more after the election in areas where regulatory burdens are higher.”

On top of all of this, non-partisan economists say the chance of a recession in 2020 is increasing each month, partly because of Trump’s trade wars.

But none of us needs these statistical facts to know that Trump has done no more than what any president elected in 2016 would have done, which is to continue the recovery started under Obama. At the same time, he has done many things like a foolish tax cut for the rich, trade tariffs, and undoing years of progress in the fight against global warming that are hurting the economy.

No matter what Forever Trumpers say, then, the facts are indisputable. The economy is NOT a reason for supporting Trump.

What, then, about abortion? It’s an excuse as well, for this reason. The level of hypocrisy for evangelicals to support a morally corrupt man like Trump just because he is appointing conservative judges is too severe to have any credible justification on its own.

No, evangelicals have another reason for supporting Trump other than abortion, as do Trump Republicans in general.

That reason is this: They are just like him. It’s not that they like him. They do, but only because they are just like him.

That sounds like a harsh judgment, and I suppose it is, given the kind of low life man Trump is, but sometimes the truth hurts, and the hard truth is that people who approve of the job Donald Trump is doing are people who are just like Donald Trump.

There is no other way to explain why children and infants being taken from their parents and put in cages doesn’t bother them enough to stop supporting him.

Why trying to stop life saving medical treatment for immigrant children here legally doesn’t bother them enough to stop supporting him.

Why his contempt for the rule of law doesn’t bother them enough to stop supporting him.

Amid all the excuses Forever Trumpers give, the real reason they stand with him is hiding in plain sight — They agree with what he is doing. They believe Trump is what this country needs because he represents what they want the country to be.

They like him because they are like him. His views are their views. His prejudices are their prejudices. His racism is their racism. His disdain for our form of government is their disdain. His warped values are their warped values.

So it is time to have done with the claim of split loyalties where Trumpers insist they don’t like a lot of things he says and does, but overall they think he is doing a good job, ignoring the fact that what he is doing is so morally reprehensible that the only reason anyone could possibly have for continuing to support him is that they are just like him.

It is a chilling thought, not least because it means the rest of us must stand up against what they stand for, no matter the cost.

Actually, I think that is precisely what the witnesses at this week’s impeachment hearings will be telling us.

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