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Old 02-09-2020, 08:15 PM
GreenHell is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 274

Is there a silver lining to Trump's win?

I am not a lawyer, but for a layperson I have a pretty good understanding of the political and legal system of the U.S. I would appreciate a more expert take on this idea, though.

So, predictably Trumo got off on a (nearly) party-line vote. It did raise some eyebrows that the Senate opted to not hear additional witnesses or admit additional documentary evidence. Obviously, POTUS faces no legal consequences for the charges and this would seem to embolden him. However, couldn't it be that this has greatly weakened the presidency? Even his next term, if it comes to that?

Let's say, hypothetically that Trump loses the popular vote (again) and is installed by the electoral college (again), but that the senate flips to democratic control, while retaining the House. Now, the Dems don't want him in office so they vote to impeach him. Previously, the White House resisted efforts to acquire documents and witnesses, so the evidence was arguably shaky, but they impeached him anyway. Once before the senate for trial, the Dems were stymied in their attempts to get more evidence by a vote to block additional witnesses. But, if the Dems were in control . . . couldn't they just vote against hearing any witnesses or admitting any other evidence before voting to remove? It seems ridiculous to hold a trial with no witnesses or evidence, but now it's been done. Wouldn't the events of this January set a legal framework for arguing, "if you can block damning evidence, then we can block exculpatory evidence"? If the senate can vote to retain a president after "evidence-less" proceedings, can't they vote to remove one? (Especially the same one?)

At first blush, this seems horrible to me. But, when I think about it . . . parliamentary governments may make a vote of "no confidence" in an executive. While the explicit mechanism doesn't exist in the same form in the U.S., wouldn't this effectively function in the same way? It also has the additional benefit of making an end run around the electoral college. All the reps and senators in congress are voted in by the people, not the electoral college (or a congressional analog). This makes governance more democratic (political concept not the party).

What do y'all think?


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