A somewhat ambling text chat with a political friend yesterday coalesced around Trump, upcoming elections, and the Left’s goals and strategy – as in “What are they?” It’s easy to figure out what they’re against (anything Trump), and it’s easy to figure out what they want (Trump removed from office, by any feasible means), but figuring out what they are for is a bit more difficult. Yes, there are a lot of platitudes to draw from (Equality! Free Health Care! Free College! More Taxes (on someone else)! and so on), but in terms of substantive policy proposals, the pantry seems somewhat stale. And, in any case, advancement of policy ideas is taking, nowadays, a distant back seat to the singular strategy of “Trump must go!”

Indeed, the strategy the Democratic Party seems to be coalescing around is one of “vote us into office so we can remove Trump!” Clearly, for this notion to have legs, a year into Trump’s tenure, it must remain an overwhelmingly popular one with what’s perceived as the Democratic base nowadays. First, various scenarios were concocted whereby Hillary would somehow be installed as President. In parallel, we heard a string of reasons why Trump should be impeached, including failure to divest his holdings, conflicts of interest, ties to Russia, collusion with Russia, obstruction of justice in various forms, improper disclosure of classified information, and associations with unsavory types. Pending some unexpected revelation from on-going Mueller investigation aside, none of these pursuits have amounted to anything more than symbolic preening.

As time marched on, and the search for evidence of an impeachable offense bore no fruit, the buzz started to shift towards removal via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, whereby Trump would be judged unfit for office and removed therefrom.

I do wonder if the people who actually think that a 25th Amendment action could work have bothered to read it, however. Or, for that matter, actually understand what impeachment means and requires.

As to the latter, impeachment is a form of indictment, not an actual removal from office. Impeachment requires a majority vote in the House. I do fully expect that, if the Democrats win a majority in the House in 2018, their first order of business will be to trump up (yes, obvious pun) some charges by which to impeach Trump. Whether the party members have the stones to actually impeach him, however, remains to be seen. Don’t forget, the GOP voted endlessly to repeal Obamacare when it was a minority and knew there was no chance, but it chickened out when it actually had the chance to do so, and it’s not inconceivable that Dems blink if the allegations aren’t something of real substance. But, even if they do impeach Trump, his actual removal would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate. It would take a good number of Republican votes to remove Trump, and, barring something major and irrefutable as reason, that’s not going to happen. Plus, his removal would put Mike Pence, loathed by the Left for his social-conservatism, in the White House, it would take a major campaign issue away from the Dems for 2020.

As to the former, here’s how 25A, Section 4 works. First, the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet must notify Congress that they believe Trump is unfit. If Trump refutes that assertion, then Congress votes. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to remove him from office.

Think that’ll happen, barring something new and truly egregious coming out? Not a chance in the world.

None of this is revelatory. The workings of government are easily discovered by anyone who’s heard of the Internet, and it’s pretty clear, at this point, that there’s no smoking-gun evidence at hand by which to induce the balance of government to remove the President.

Sure, the Mueller probe might find something. That’s the fantasy and dream, and nearly 8 months in, nothing has come out other than some secondary players admitting to some mildly naughty things.

And, yet, the Trump derangement continues, driven as much as anything by Trump’s unfiltered and untethered id-to-Twitter blather. His actual governance has been rather mild from the perspective of anyone but a far-lefty, when it could have been FAR worse. The desire to see him gone, gone, gone reeks of petulance far more than of rational thought. Obama’s anointed successor lost what was long-touted as a sure victory, to a short-fingered vulgarian reality TV star who was born with a gold spoon in his mouth no less. This continues to burn the britches of people utterly convinced that they know best how the nation and world should be managed, and they simply can’t get over it.

Back to the original question: What do these people actually want, beyond Trump’s removal? From where I sit, I don’t see that they’ve thought matters through, either as to the removal itself or as to the aftermath (which truly frightens me. If Trump is forced from office for any reason short of something truly compelling and egregious, I foresee a violent end to the Republic). Simply loathing the President isn’t enough. More importantly, it mustn’t be enough. We have elections, and we have to live with the outcomes until the next elections. If we let dislike and low approval ratings decide things, most Presidencies and most Congresses would have been dissolved.

I cannot but be reminded of Dennis the anarcho-syndical communist’s admonition to King Arthur:

Listen — strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

Petulance is, if anything, an even worse idea than the Lady of the Lake choosing a king, and yet that’s where we are today. The masses issued a mandate, subject to the rules of the game (yes, Electoral College complainers, I’ve heard your squeals), and we should abide by that until the next election. The Republic will survive Trump, just as it survived every previous President.

If you want Trump gone, I ask whether you know what you want in his stead. If it’s simply “your party” in power rather than “the other party,” I ask what you want “your party” to do. If you know that, what’s stopping you from asking “your party” to try and work today towards that, instead of demanding pure naysaying to everything. Unlike Obama, who famously declared “I won” and proceeded to shut the Republicans out of every policy initiative, Trump has shown a willingness to work with Democrats. Is your petulance over his victory so all-consuming that you’d rather burn the Republic down than try to work within the current reality?

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


Like this post?