The lingering question for the man on the street who doesn’t care to litigate the rights and wrongs of both sides, to find Ukraine on a map or switch rapidly between MSNBC and FOX News to figure out what’s going on, is why not wait for the election.
Bill Clinton was impeached in the middle of his second term. That’s the time when it makes the most sense to impeach a president. He can’t run again, but he still has some years remaining in office.
Nixon was on his second term. Johnson was an unpopular vice president who was obstructing the will of the legislature.
But why impeach Trump in the sunset of his first term as an election is coming up?
Rep. Schiff had an answer. It explains everything.
“If not remedied by his conviction in the Senate and removal from office, President Trump’s abuse of his office and obstruction of Congress will permanently alter the balance of power among the branches of government,” the 59-year-old congressman said.
Schiff accused Trump of attempting to “use the powers of the presidency to cheat in an election.”
“For precisely this reason, the president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won,” he said.
That’s to say, Trump has to be impeached because elections that he wins are illegitimate. This isn’t an impeachment then. It’s a coup.
Schiff officially laid out a case for why we can’t trust our system of elections and must instead legislatively intervene to remove an elected official.
That’s a hell of an argument whose implications he hasn’t thought through. If we can’t trust the national system of elections that gave us POTUS, why should we trust elections in dinky states like California, where voters get to choose between two Democrats?
If impeachment, or investigations, are a remedy for an untrustworthy system of elections, what happens to Rep. Schiff?
And what does that make impeachment except a coup, a means of removing illegitimate leaders by a political faction in the government that rejects the outcome of free elections?
Despite the vague Maddowy claims of election hacking, there’s no meaningful evidence that the system itself has been tampered with. Instead all the claims meant to cast doubt on the outcome of the 2016 elections suggest that the electorate was tampered with through ‘fake news’ and bots and all the other nonsense. That’s to say, Schiff is suggesting that the American people can’t be trusted.
The Senate is being asked to remove President Trump from office because Schiff and the Democrats don’t trust the people not to vote for him again.
More than that, it’s an open expression of a defining belief in the worthlessness of the system of elections. The attack on Trump are really an attack on our political system, not just the electoral college or Facebook’s ads policies, but the legitimacy of the electorate.
That’s a coup.