Congress’s second quest to finally bring down their great orange nemesis opened this week after a deal was reached by Senators Schumer and McConnell on the framework and rules of the Senate impeachment hearing against President Trump.

While I would like to think that there aren’t 17 Republican senators willing to anger their base voters in this way, I also realize that stranger things have happened and the well of hatred toward all things Trump has yet to reach its final depths.

From a practical standpoint, getting 17 Senate Republicans to agree on anything beyond corporate tax cuts is a reach. But the symbolism of wasting legislative time in the middle of a pandemic to to make sure Trump is barred from office for all time is beyond pointless. That is a luxury for which everyday working Americans don’t have time.

I usually don’t spend much time making political predictions, but in this case I feel pretty safe in my belief that Trump will not run again. The impeachment is a moot point, and doesn’t change the facts on the ground.

Besides, the near-impossibility of coming back after an electoral loss (imagine Hillary Clinton entering the 2020 race) trying to rebuild voter coalitions is the least of his problems.

That’s a big enough problem on its own, and one political operatives lose sleep over. Trump’s most effective forms of direct communication, namely social media, have been completely curtailed with his ban from most digital platforms, including Shopify.

That one still kind of makes me chuckle.

The laughter stops when one stops to realize that most of these actions, while purportedly about Donald Trump, are not really directed at him but at the American public.

This isn’t about Trump selling handmade crafts on Etsy. He doesn’t. This is about suppressing and silencing his supporters.

Who could have guessed MAGA knitting patterns were a threat to the republic?

It comes as no surprise that there are concerted efforts to turn opposing political opinion into unlawful hate speech, and to brand those with views outside the “established norms” of leftist politics as terrorists.

There are not going to be nearly enough “unity” commercials aired during sporting events to stop the down order consequences which will result from continuing down this particular path of retribution and vengeance against fellow countrymen.

In this same line of thought, the announcement Monday that the ACLU will abandon it’s chartered mission - defense of the First Amendment and free speech - to concentrate on racial justice and holding the Biden administration accountable for their campaign promises in this regard isn’t a surprise for those who have paid attention to the ACLU in modern American politics. But it is just another way those in control close the door once they think they have consolidated enough power to hold it for the foreseeable future.

No longer is free speech important.

Silencing dissent is of more use from a political and moralistic perspective.

Yes, apparently even the ACLU will be co-opted in the long march to destabilize America.

Every institution will be co-opted and converted. Those which refuse to fall into the line of that which is deemed acceptable will be isolated and harassed until they can no longer serve their purpose.

This, too, did not start with President Trump.

Like the America First movement, the Tea Party and True the Vote were two grassroots groups which gained the attention of The Swamp after successful activism on a national level.

Both organizations were tarred with accusations of racism and xenophobia the moment they became effective. The left returns to the playbook precisely because it is so effective.

But that doesn’t end the movement, or the rationale behind those who organize and speak out against these “established norms” which to many people seem anything but normal.

Those sentiments don’t go away because the elites got rid of Trump. Impeached or not.

That is something we should all consider when we think about what comes next.

More on my radar than the impeachment of the century is the quickly encroaching cold front that has moved due south from Canada and looks to cause all sorts of trouble over the next week or so throughout the Midwest and South.

I knew Canadians were generous, but sharing a frigid arctic front is more than a little overboard.

Not even a 50 percent or higher chance of snow for four out of the next seven days is enough to make a predicted low of 7 degrees over the weekend (possibly zero with the wind chill) seem okay.

The pantry is stocked because I’m not leaving the house after Wednesday until the front has retreated and temperatures are at least in the mid-double digits again.

Forty seems like a reasonable minimum threshold to venture out.

Maybe someone could go knock on Puxatawney Phil’s door and ask him to reconsider the extra six weeks of winter.

Although now that I’m thinking about it... frozen ground gives me an excuse to not clean out the flower beds quite yet.... so maybe let him snooze.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.