Impeachment for budding US constitutional experts

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Salvatore Balbones has written one of the better pieces as goes impeachment to all those budding US constitutional experts in The Spectator today.

In the United States, no president has ever been convicted in an impeachment proceeding, even if he was guilty. In 1998, Bill Clinton almost certainly committed at least two high crimes (perjury and obstruction of justice), and God knows how many misdemeanours, but even he was acquitted. And that was with Republicans in control of the Senate. The idea that Donald Trump would be convicted on vague charges of ‘abuse of power’ by two-thirds of a Senate where his party controls an absolute majority is preposterous. Even Donald Trump isn’t that unpopular.

And then there’s the election. In case you haven’t heard, 2020 is an election year in the United States. Conviction in an impeachment proceeding removes the incumbent from office, but it doesn’t automatically disqualify him from running again. That takes an additional vote. But if Senate Republicans not only convict President Trump but also disqualify him from holding office in the future, who would be the Republican candidate in the 2020 elections? Currently, no one else is (seriously) running. The national Republican party isn’t even holding candidate debates, and some state parties are cancelling primaries and caucuses. It seems very unlikely that the Republicans would let the Democrats walk into the White House unopposed.

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