An Impeachment Thought

      1 Comment on An Impeachment Thought

Today I am more than ever convinced that impeachment—or rather impeachment and removal—of the President is a remedy for when the President’s Party decides to turn on him. The job of the Other Party in impeachment proceedings against the President is to facilitate that Party’s turn, to create the political conditions where removing their President is a better option than sticking with them.

There are two possible scenarios here, where a President who is dangerous to the nation continues to be backed by their Party, and both are dreadful.

If we were to allow the removal of such a President over the objections of a Party that is essentially unified in support of them, then we’ve got nearly half the country believing that the removal is illegitimate. They are going to feel like the government is rigged against them and doesn’t (and won’t) represent them fairly.

If we don’t allow that removal, then we’ve got a dangerous President, which endangers the next election and leads to the same problem: nearly half the country feels that the government is rigged, and that ordinary politics won't and can't solve ordinary political problems.

People who don't believe that democracy ‘works’ are likely to resort to political violence. Either situation makes widespread political violence more likely. But I think the second is slightly less dreadful, if only because the first one comes with a readymade dangerous leader.

Essentially, if a country is in a situation where the President is a dangerous criminal (or incompetent) and the President’s Party continues to support that dangerous President, then the nation is in trouble that could not be fixed by removing the President against that Party’s wishes.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

1 thought on “An Impeachment Thought

  1. Michael

    I think you mean “to facilitate the President’s Party’s turn”.

    Complicating matters is that half the country doesn’t care enough to vote (and are unlikely to care much what happens in DC), a third of the country that votes is reluctant enough to identify with a party that they identify as independent (they don’t vote that way, but they are less likely to take up arms in the cause of defending a party’s power), and individuals who do identify with a party can change their minds about either party identification (this used to happen, and does happen in functioning democracies) or about who they view as truly part of their party (cf. Romney, RINO, Tea Party).

    This also assumes that the president is going to call for more political violence if he is ousted than if he remains in power, whereas this president encourages political violence while in office where he has a far bigger megaphone than if he were ousted.

    If you have a situation where the Senate will not vote to convict under any circumstances, the choice facing the House on whether to impeach comes down to whether impeachment and acquittal is better or worse than simply refusing to impeach. I agree that it’s worth considering the risk that people will believe that democracy doesn’t work, and that people who believe democracy doesn’t work are more likely to engage in or support political violence. But people who want impeachment and removal are not going to feel better represented by refusing to impeach than they are by impeachment and acquittal. And I think there are other important considerations: which choice emboldens a president who threatens our safety or our social fabric, which choice weakens popular support for that president or his party, which choice defends institutions or values that we care about, and which choice smooths the path towards the bounds of normalcy or makes the next extreme deviation harder.


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