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Posted: January 19, 2020

Unlikely impeachment leads to critical November election

“Perceptions,” by Gerry Warner

Op-Ed Commentary

So, President Trump has been impeached – which if you study history — merits only one response. So, what!

Let me explain.

In 243 years of tumultuous American history, only three presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998 and now Donald J. Trump. (Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 in the face of certain impeachment.) Meanwhile, both Johnson and Clinton were acquitted. That’s a batting average of zero.

Even a president as off the wall as Donald J. Trump can take heart as the likelihood of him getting impeached by a Senate full of Republicans is about the same as Senate speaker Nancy Pelosi inviting him over for tea. It ain’t going to happen short of a miracle.

But miracles have been known to happen.

However, before you can really understand what’s going on in the funny farm to the south of us you have to understand exactly what impeachment is as it’s a unique legal (political?) instrument known only to the Excited States of America. And maybe just as well.

Think of impeachment as a trial where the US House of Representatives, all 435 of them, vote to lay the charge – often referred to as “High Crimes and Misdemeanours” – and  the US Senate, consisting of 100 members, holds the trial before the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Where an impeachment trial differs from a traditional civil or criminal trial is that a two-thirds majority of the Senate is needed for conviction, and in politics, that’s a very high bar.

In other words, several Republican Senators would have to break ranks in the impeachment trial and vote to convict a Republican president. What’s the old saying ? “When fishes flew and forests walked   . . .” Yeah, right.

Despite the odd rumbling here and there no Republican has seriously crossed Trump yet and they all have skin in the game in seeing that Trump gets elected again in November and they get to hold on to their seats and see that a Republican hegemony continues in the White House. In other words, loyalty to the boss trumps, so to speak, their political principles. And that’s why we’re in this polarized political quagmire while the fate of the world lies in Trump’s seamy hands.

Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” Well, he lied that time too. Trump didn’t drain the swamp. He made it bigger and if the world is going to survive Trumpdom we’d better find a way to stop him. If the Great Populist (some would say fascist) is re-elected in November, he’ll have a mandate to continue with his authoritarian and dangerous ways like threatening war with Iran and North Korea, pulling the US out of international treaties like the Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Paris Climate Agreement, packing the US Supreme Court with conservative extremists, completing the cruel wall and putting refugee children in cages – and most of all – scoffing at climate change, which most scientists say is the gravest issue facing the Earth.

Incredible as it may seem, Republicans, and more Canadians than you might think, support Trump’s heavy-handed ways. They hate politicians in general, but like populist, authoritarian leaders like Trump because they make quick decisions and remove the burden of thinking for voters. Democracy is a slow, messy process and many just don’t have time for it. So, when someone comes along and says they’re going to make things “great” again – especially when things weren’t so great to begin with – it’s a clarion call that many can’t resist. Keep in mind the acronym KISS, “Keep it simple stupid.” That’s what Trump is selling – simple solutions to complicated problems and it’s the same old snake oil that some people fall for every time.

It takes a world bamboozled by social media and “alternative facts” to elect a dictatorial president like Donald Trump. One can only hope that the world isn’t bamboozled again in November.

– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist who warns “beware the ides of November.”

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