No Dancing in the Streets … Sorry.

I’ve noticed the almost exponential spread of a misconception being bandied about on social media the past few days and thought it would be a good idea to clarify before there is premature dancing in the streets.  The misconception is that if Trump were to be impeached and removed from office, Pence and the rest of his appointees would also be automatically removed from office.  Sounds like a truly wonderful idea, doesn’t it?  Much as I hate to have to take those happy smiles off your face, I have to tell you folks … it just ain’t so.

I understand where the confusion comes in.  Remember that when the Constitution was drafted, the framers were trying to keep it short and simple, for they wanted every man (women didn’t count back then) to be able to read and understand it.  If we were writing the document today, lawyers would be involved and it would no doubt turn into a few million words, rather than the mere 7,591 words it is now, including the amendments.  So, in keeping the document short and readable, there are some segments that, on the surface, may seem to mean something that they do not.  Article II, section 4 is one such:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

First of all, it should be noted that while the House of Representatives may formally ‘impeach’ a president, this alone does not call for a removal from office.  Remember President Clinton?  The Senate basically acts as the jury once the House has voted to impeach, and if the Senate finds the president or other officer guilty with a 2/3 majority, in other words a vote of 67 senators, then and only then is that person removed from office.  And only the person convicted of treason or another impeachable crime is removed, not the entire bunch of ‘em.

The tricky word that has given people hope we might do a thorough cleaning of the White House is that word ‘and’.  “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers …”  Replace ‘and’ with ‘or’, and you get a better picture of what the framers were trying to say.

If you think about it, it wouldn’t make sense to remove the vice president and the rest of the crew from office if the president were convicted and removed from office.  In the case of Trump & Co, yes, it might make perfect sense, but in most cases it is highly unlikely that the entire crew was guilty just because the president was.  And, can you imagine what chaos it would cause?  Just the removal of the president would likely set the nation reeling for years.  So no, there is no clean and legal way to “throw da bums out” all at once.

Something else to think about, as we call for impeachment.  If the House impeached Trump today, we would still have him as president a year from now, because with the current makeup of the Senate, 51 republicans, 47 democrats, and 2 independents (who generally vote with the democrats), and given the fact that they are not only split along party lines but rent along party lines, there is no way in heck they would garner a 2/3 majority to remove him from office.  It’s one of those situations where “Be careful what you wish for …” applies, for in all likelihood there will be only one chance to impeach Trump.  Let us not waste it at a time when he will not be judged guilty by the senate and nothing will change except that the process will have wasted a ton of time and money.  And frankly, while I really hate to burst everyone’s bubble – including my own – I don’t think that even with the best possible outcome in November, Trump will be removed from office by impeachment.  The numbers just don’t add up.

There are 35 Senate seats up for election in November.  Of those, 26 are already held by democrats, leaving only 9 seats currently held by republicans that could be switched to democrats.  If every seat were filled with a democrat, the makeup of the Senate would be: 58 democrats and 42 republicans.  Enough for a simple majority, but not enough for a 2/3 majority.

The only hope, and it is one I still think could happen, is if the evidence that Trump committed treason is so overwhelming that even the republicans in the Senate are ready to shove his patootie out the door.  This, of course, would require that they dig deep and find both a pair of cojones and a conscience.

I apologize for bursting everybody’s bubble today, and I still believe that Trump needs to be removed from office and soon, before he does more damage to our system of government and our nation as a whole.  But we need to be realistic, too.  Sorry …sad-2

31 thoughts on “No Dancing in the Streets … Sorry.

  1. Pingback: Bursting the Bubble … | Filosofa's Word

  2. I don’t for a minute think he will be impeached. If the Dems don’t win big in Nov, we are screwed in 2020 and he will win again. He has huge money and powerful people behind him plus Russian meddling. They want him for ulterior motives and financial gains and power that he’s too stupid to realize or too greedy to care. And the ever loving brainwashed ignorant cult base are blissfully used by all, to ensure this “takeover” that has infected our country.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmmmm … much of what you say is right — he does have the big money power-brokers backing him. But I believe that he can be beaten in 2020. A few things need to happen. The DNC needs to come up with a viable, trustworthy candidate for 2020, and they need to do so soon. The 40% of voters who didn’t even bother to vote in 2016 need to be nudged, prodded, whatever it takes to get them to the polls. And the 36% or so who support Trump need to see for themselves that his policies are not to their advantage. This last one will likely happen over the coming months, as the effects of Trump’s trade tariffs start to hit home and people start feeling the pinch in their own wallets. It will be an uphill battle, but the fight isn’t over yet. There is always hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jill,

    I’m with John Fioravanti. If the Democrats don’t blow it, and they take back the US Congress there is a lot more that can be done to neuter the president like he can’t have one-on-one summits with folks like President Trump without a US independent note taker present, etc.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very well done. Impeachment is not even a possibility until after the mid-term elections. But if it were to happen then, and if he were removed from office (both BIG ifs), it would send an important message to the rest of the world — which they definitely need to hear!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Hugh. I suspect that even after the mid-terms, while he may well face impeachment, I don’t see him being removed. That said, I would really like to see the Democratic National Committee working hard on coming up with a viable candidate for 2020 and promoting him or her heavily. And soon! We simply cannot let the buffoon Trump have another 6 years!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You very eloquently stated what I had touched upon in my comment of yesterday’s post by Erik Hare. Reality is harsh. Don’t hold your breath waiting for charges of treason. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, you got me started thinking, but then I kept seeing people posting on Facebook, and even a comment or two on WordPress that if Trump were impeached, the whole circus would be removed from office, and I thought that was a dangerous myth for people to start believing. Sigh. If we’re to make a difference, we have to face reality and logically assess what is and isn’t possible.

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    • Yes, for the moment, our best hope is the mid-terms. If the democrats can win a majority in at least one chamber of Congress, at least there will be some safeguards. If we can take both House & Senate, then there is a better chance to stop the runaway train. Fingers crossed.

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  6. A succinct and clear explanation. Strategically, Democrats may be better served focusing on 2020, since Pence probably has a better shot of winning reelection in 2020 is Trump were impeached than Trump does as things stand now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, James! I think we need to definitely begin focusing on a strong democratic candidate for 2020, but also need a strong turnout this November. A majority in either or both chambers of Congress will go a long way toward putting some brakes on Trump, and I see that as absolutely essential, for his really poor behaviour and decision-making seem to be escalating to the point that he doesn’t care what anybody thinks.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am willing to wait out trumps’ remaining term of a mere 2 years + several months. Let’s just be sure he gets neutered this November. In my humble opinion, Pence would be by far a scarier scenario than trump. Pence is polished and slick, but just as evil.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Nicely done, Jill! It is good to have these constitutional primers to sober the discussions around Trump and his GOP enablers. Personally, I’d settle for Dem majorities in both houses of Congress until Mr. Mueller can save the world! Without his Congressional support, Trump would be enraged, throw great tantrums, and generally make a bigger ass out of himself. I was tempted to add that he’d be unable to pass bills to further his agenda, but I don’t think he’s done anything legislatively besides tinker with Obamacare and give his cronies a tax break. Was there something I missed?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks John! Yes, the time has come for us to look at things realistically … what can we do vs what can’t we do … and focus on the things we can do. You are right … we need a majority, preferably in both chambers of Congress, but even one will be enough to put the brakes on him. I think we can get a majority in at least the Senate, which will give us some power to deny his nominees if they don’t seem fit. No, he has done very little through legislation, but has done most of his damage via executive order. Frankly, I think he has overstepped the bounds of what he should be able to do via executive order, but … who’s gonna stop him? Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

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