I don’t agree with conservatives on much, but I agree with David Frum’s opinion piece in the Atlantic. Frum is writing about a book by Laurence Tribe, one of the country’s leading constitutional scholars, and his former student Joshua Matz. Their conclusion is that impeachment of a president, even when it may be warranted, is a dangerous thing.
I think Trump is doing enormous damage to our country, to democratic norms and values, to our standing in the world, and to innocent people who are suffering under his racist and xenophobic administration. I think Trump is making a mockery of the presidency with his in-your-face decision to use the office to enrich himself and his family.
But an impeachment would give us what, Mike Pence? Maybe Pence would pick someone like uber-hawk Nikki Haley as vice president. They look more normal than Trump and so would attract more Republican votes, but their ultra conservative policies are no less a horror show. I see no benefit to going from bad to bad.
Tribe’s point is different. He says that impeachment, absent a bipartisan consensus, is too damaging a step. He’s probably right. The 40% or so who uncritically support Trump, and vow to do so in 2020 regardless of anything that happens between now and then, would view impeachment as an attempt to overturn the election — albeit an election that looks more and more as if it was unduly influenced by foreign powers. I don’t think we ever get those people back on board, so the only solution is to muster enough other voters to get Trump and his cronies out of office.
Twenty twenty sounds awfully far away.