After Watergate, when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief: The system had worked. But it turns out that the system worked only because every institution stepped up to play its part. In dealing with former President Donald Trump’s abuses of power, the strong efforts by the media, the courts, the House, state and local officials, and the voters were undermined by the complete and catastrophic failure of the Senate.  

Once a crown jewel of our political system, the Senate has declined for at least 30 years, since its disastrous handling of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings. And over the past 12 years, since Senate Republicans shunned President Barack Obama's stimulus package as America teetered on the edge of economic devastation, that decline has turned into a deep, accelerating downward spiral with no obvious bottom.

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