Since it is such a popular subject right now, let’s talk about impeachment.
Impeachment is the process we have in the Constitution for the president, vice president (or other high U.S. officials) to be removed from office. Impeachment can happen in cases of treason, bribery or other “high crimes and misdemeanors.
Conviction is necessary to remove the official. Those acquitted in this process finish out their terms of political office. There are few cases of impeachment in United States History and no successful convictions.
But the idea of impeachment is popular.
A few days ago, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) went from her swearing-in to literally swearing when it came to the subject. This woman apparently said in a conversation with a child “… we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherfr.”
Rashida needs a parenting class and her mouth washed out with soap, but that is another column. As we see, the idea of impeachment has some passion attached to it for some people.
In a CNN poll conducted by SSRS a few weeks ago, 80 percent of Democrats said they thought the president should be impeached. This same poll revealed only 36 percent of Independents and virtually no Republicans (only 7 percent) agree. In other words, most of the country does not want the president impeached.
This could be why Nancy Pelosi — the new speaker of the House of Representatives — is backing away from the possibility. Just this week the new speaker stated, “We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason …” Pelosi is also quoted as telling the president directly, “We are not interested in impeaching you.”
I suspect that the average American simply has no idea how impeachment works.
Impeachment is a process that must be bi-partisan to work effectively. Like the process of making a bill into law, impeachment is driven by voting. Impeachment requires majority voting margins three different times — in House Judiciary Committee, The House and finally The Senate.
Getting broad bi-partisan support in a politically polarized Congress is not going to happen. History has shown us the futility of a partisan driven impeachment. Let’s look at the Clinton impeachment and see how useless it is to try this with one party support.
A record 78 U.S. newspapers, including USA Today agreed with the impeachment. Because of his conduct, numerous other papers, including The New York Times and Washington Post, denounced Clinton’s behavior and character. We looked incapable of maintaining high status within global leadership.
At first impeachment looked like it would permanently damage and remove the president. Clinton was endlessly mocked by everyone from late-night TV comedians to average people on the street. Removal seemed imminent.
The charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power seemed like a slam dunk. To this day, few believe that Clinton was innocent of the behavior, but many concluded that he could still do the work without affecting the liberty of the American people. So, the Senate acquitted him.
The president served out the remainder of his term of office. About two hours after his acquittal, the American people received an apology from him for lying. The price tag for this exercise in futility? $39.2 million dollars.
The unexpected effect from the impeachment was an increase in popularity that buoyed Clinton to further fame. And the opposition party, lost heavily in the next election for wasting the time and tax funds of Americans.
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
A Trump impeachment, even if it made it out of the Judiciary Committee and out of the House would have to be confirmed by the Senate in a two-thirds majority to convict. We can’t realistically expect Republican politicians to vote against the president. Especially with VP Mike Pence presiding over the Senate.
Going against the wishes of the majority American people could increase Trump’s popularity setting him up for a successful 2020 run. Maybe that is why Pelosi is trying to avoid it.
Like him or not — unless something earth shattering happens — POTUS 45 will be in office until 2020.