Thursday, April 18, 2019


Donald Trump absolutely deserves to be impeached, with all evidence of unfitness for office placed before the public in a compelling and dramatic way. We can debate whether impeachment is worth the effort, given the fact that we know no Republican in the Senate will ever vote to convict, but we know now, unambiguously, that impeachment would be a highly appropriate course of action.

It won't happen, and one reason it won't happen is our preposterous electoral system. No other country prolongs the selection of a chief executive for two damn years -- but that's how we do it. The easy response to calls for impeachment is "Why impeach? An election is coming up." But an election is coming up in a year and a half. That's a long time for an unfit president to serve unchallenged.

A president can serve for eight years, but the one remedy we have when we've elected a corrupt one is effectively taken off the table in years three and four. And if Trump is somehow reelected -- which I think is a real possibility, especially given the likelihood of Howard Schultz splitting the anti-Trump vote -- it will be said for a couple more years that we can't impeach because the voters chose Trump again (even if once more it's without a plurality of the popular vote). And in years seven and eight? We'll be back where we were when Democrats took over Congress at the end of the George W. Bush presidency -- once again, "Why impeach? An election is coming up."

In other words, the only remedy we have for an unfit chief executive is ruled out by custom for three quarters of any two-term president's time in office. And, of course, we've also decided that a president can't be indicted while in office. So we have no remedy for flagrant unfitness for the office, with Donald Trump as president. Terrific.

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