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Voters will be the judge

Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts have cast their votes.

Soon, it will be time for you to cast yours. We all knew that was the end game anyway.

The U.S. Senate, including those two gentlemen with strong connections to Manhattan, voted Feb. 5 not to remove President Trump from office. In doing so, they both said that the impeachment case “failed to rise to the level” of the sort of crime for which a president should be convicted and removed.

A reasonable case can be made for that.

But it’s no longer really possible to argue with a straight face that President Trump did nothing wrong. The truth is, anybody paying attention has to acknowledge that Mr. Trump attempted to pressure a foreign government to influence a U.S. election. There is plenty of evidence — even from his own advisers and his own political allies — that he pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The elder Mr. Biden was — and might still be — the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to face Mr. Trump in the next election.

The question became whether President Trump’s actions were bad enough to merit removal from office. Most of the Senate said no, and that’s the way our process works, and so we need to move forward as a country on that basis.

Voters will now have to judge if they can stomach that sort of behavior. In the end, the presidential election in November will likely come down to a referendum on that question. Mr. Trump will try to make a case for his successes on the economy, and he has a strong hand there. He will also attempt to make the election about the weaknesses of his Democratic opponent, whoever that is.

And voters will have to make a judgment about which of those things is most important.

Some voters — maybe even you — will downplay what Mr. Trump did. The Access Hollywood tape — in which Mr. Trump was on record talking about grabbing women by their private parts — was not enough to make him lose the last election. So voters might choose to look past this, too.

But nobody can argue that it didn’t happen. It did. He used his position as the leader of the most powerful country on Earth to try to get a foreign power to hurt his domestic political rival. That is a well-established fact.

What’s your view? Are you OK with that? In the end, that’s all that really matters.

* Guest editorial from The Manhattan Mercury in Manhattan, Kan.