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A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘impeachment

Trump’s impeachment and a horrifying democracy failure / Follow-up: U.S. elections

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The second impeachment of Trump is truly a horror; and the meagerness of today’s acquittal utterly absurd.

Consider, among other factors:

  1. The impeachment was with a high degree of likelihood unconstitutional to begin with.
  2. Failing that, it indisputably misses the purpose of an impeachment, which is to remove a problematic office holder from his current office.

    (Here it seems driven by an attempt to prevent a former office holder from holding future offices and/or to exercise some type of Orwellian utter destruction of a defeated enemy.)

  3. The accusations raised were utterly untenable, and were clearly so from the very beginning, considering what statements allegedly were impeachable.

    By no reasonable standards can these statements be considered e.g. an incitement to riots or speech not covered by the First Amendment.

    (Notably, going down this road could lead to the very dangerous situation of elected politicians being limited in their freedom of speech to a considerably higher degree than others, and possibly at the whim of their enemies and/or the Democrats/the Left.)

  4. There are great signs that Trump could not have caused the events at Capitol Hill even by negligence or otherwise unintentionally, as they, apparently, began before he reached the critical portions of his speech.

    This even discounting claims (which I have not investigated) that the events might have been pre-planned (by others) and/or involved Antifa members acting under a false flag. Indeed, political violence tends to come from the Left, so this would be less surprising than a pro-Trump group using violence (barring situations of a defensive nature).

  5. Considering far worse statements by Leftist politicians, especially regarding e.g. the BLM riots, and the scope, damage, and whatnot of the BLM riots, the impeachment is an astounding and inexcusable hypocrisy.
  6. If this type of approach was successful, the results could be horrifying. Consider e.g. a scenario where an election campaign is held, under a massive investment of time and money, and one of the candidates is dishonestly impeached just a few weeks before the election date. If conviction succeeds, the possibility of launching a strong secondary candidate in time would be minuscule. Even with an acquittal, the distraction caused by the proceedings could damage the campaign severely—as could the negative publicity, considering that too few voters bother to look beyond the headlines.

    Worse, we could see a scenario where candidates or the already elected are picked off one-by-one, possibly in a true “First they came” scenario. Indeed, a portion of the Nazis success came from removing opposing members of parliament—notably, after the Reichstagsbrand, an arson attempt against parliament and a target (but not means) of attack similar to that which was invoked to justify the Trump impeachment.

But let us say, very, very strictly for the sake of argument, that everything would have been above board with the impeachment: What could possibly have motivated Trump? It is very hard to see any possible positive effect for him (or the GOP), while the risk of a backlash would be considerable and obvious. Indeed, if he had actually incited a riot, a coup attempt, or a whatnot, chances are that he would have landed in the real courts, be it on criminal charges or as the target of a handful of civil suits. This alone should make any rational thinker highly suspicious of the accusations. Cui bono? Not Trump, that is for sure.

Despite this, and likely quite a few other arguments, the vote was a disgraceful 57–43 against Trump—enough to acquit him but more than enough to condemn the Senate. Even a 43–57 would have been a disgrace. It is quite clear that this was never a bona fide impeachment attempt, a bona fide attempt at protecting this-or-that, or otherwise anything “bona fide”. On the contrary, it was a malicious, dishonest, and anti-democratic* attempt to abuse the available processes to do damage to a political opponent.

*As in “opposed to democracy”, not “opposed to the Democrat party”.

In addition, it was a democracy failure in that those Republicans who voted against Trump almost certainly did so against the will of the voters who had once elected them and the states that they represent, who tend to be more pro-Trump than their senators. (I have already seen reports of protests and censuring based on the vote in the House. Of course, that the impeachment was not struck down in the House is also a travesty.)

I note that I published a text titled Democracy lost almost five years ago. The time since then has made the contents of that text seem optimistic …


Written by michaeleriksson

February 13, 2021 at 11:23 pm

Trump impeachment

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The recent Trump impeachment is a clear sign that something is very wrong with U.S. politics, no matter how the situation is twisted and turned, irrespective of whether Trump is guilty* or innocent. (Also see many earlier texts for democracy failures, e.g. [1].)

*If he is, obviously, a further problem is present beyond those discussed here. Also see an excursion.

The most glaring issue is that the attempts to reach impeachment are so obviously not primarily about e.g. upholding the law or the integrity of the executive office—they are about getting rid of Trump because of who he is and/or because he is a Republican. Consider similarly, among other situations, the attempts to block the Kavanaugh nomination. This type of abuse of processes and extra-democratic means to circumvent democratic results has reached a ridiculous and inexcusable level. Unfortunately, the problem is not limited to political appointees, as can be seen by the great number of individuals and organizations who have been targeted with malicious means for not being sufficiently Left, PC, “woke”, whatnot, as discussed repeatedly in the past. (The problem is also not limited to the Left, as can be seen e.g. in the birth-place controversies around Obama.)

A second issue is that the votes to impeach followed party lines almost perfectly. This is a strong indication that a significant proportion* of at least one side (much more likely: both) did not vote based on legal and ethical criteria but in a partisan manner. (There is enough of that type of abusive voting in e.g. the Supreme Court.) This is unfortunate on at least two counts, namely the dishonesty involved and the reduction of the parliamentarian to a tool for his party, when what the world needs are parliamentarians who think for and stand up for themselves and the people.

*But hardly all: in all likelihood many did vote according to more reasonable criteria.

A third is that the current events might amount to a pointless waste of time and energy, which raises an additional suspicion of frivolous and vexatious litigation, that the negative effects on Trump, his re-election chances, his administration, and/or the GOP are the main purpose—not an actual removal from office:* In my understanding, the later vote in the Senate will require a two-thirds majority, which will be quite tricky in light of a Republican majority among the senators, the aforementioned party line votes, and the reasonable assumption that stricter criteria are applied for a vote of “guilty” than for a vote of “enough signs to warrant a trial”. The preceding trial must show a very negative image indeed of Trump for this two-thirds majority to manifest. (Or do the Democrats bet on Trump having too many enemies among Republican senators?)

*But such arguments should be applied with caution: it is better to err on the side of permissiveness, lest bona fide attempts are blocked.

Excursion on the underlying issues:
I lack the legal expertise and detailed knowledge of events to judge whether Trump has done something impeachment-worthy, and the question is secondary to me. However, my impression so far, based on common sense* criteria, is that this is overkill. What the Democrats try now, and e.g. against Kavanaugh, is certainly a worse abuse. I also note a piece by Pat Buchanan that makes some of the arguments against Trump seem hypocritical or otherwise unreasonable. (But I warn that Buchanan might be no more neutral and objective on the issue than e.g. Pelosi—take it with a grain of salt.)

*Which does not preclude e.g. an illegality.

Written by michaeleriksson

December 19, 2019 at 2:59 pm

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