The House Should Impeach Regardless

The current lame excuse for not impeaching the so called president starts with the observation, likely correct, that the Senate will not convict him, then concludes that he will claim victory and easily win reelection as a result.

This logic is badly flawed in a number of ways. To begin, this tweet implicitly compares impeaching Trump to the impeachment of Bill Clinton (“the house [sic] voted to impeach but the Senate didn’t impeach [sic].”) The best comparison for Trump is not to Clinton, but to Nixon. The Clinton impeachment was obviously a partisan hack job, which is why Democratic Senators felt free to vote to acquit Clinton. Nixon was obviously guilty on the basis of his own recorded conversations. Trump is obviously guilty on the basis of the Mueller report, if anyone would read it closely.

Further, Trump is already claiming victory. That’s almost all he ever does. The only people who find this at all convincing are his loyal followers who were a minority in 2016 and, judging from the results in 2018, are an even smaller minority now.

The more important, subtle point grows out of the increasingly common observation that the Senate, by allotting two votes per state, overrepresents the thinly populated, mostly rural, middle of the country, which is also much whiter, relative to the densely populated, mostly urban, edges of the country. This is a historical accident. There is no logical reason to organize a house of our national legislature this way.

Under our Constitution, removal by impeachment requires a two thirds majority vote in the Senate. What that means is that, between the skew from allotting two votes per state and requiring a two thirds vote to remove, surviving a removal vote in the Senate tells us effectively nothing about what the majority of the country thinks about the guilt or lack of if of the official on trial.

That is, the vast majority of the country could know to a certainty that Trump is as guilty as we know he is, and the Senate could still fail to convict. Easily.

So it is rank nonsense to assume that a failure to convict by the Senate would ensure a second term for the so called president. There is far too little correlation between the outcome of an impeachment trial in the Senate and the opinions of the voting public to support any such assumption.

The House should impeach now.

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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