My layman’s approach to the impeachment of President Trump is somewhat simplistic.
We American citizens have the right to choose our leaders by voting in elections. Exercising that right requires that our elections be fair, especially the one for president. Anyone who cheats in an election denies us that right.
American elections are for Americans only. When a foreign power interferes in an American election, it attacks our democracy.
When our president asked a foreign head of state to interfere in our next presidential election, he cheated and he invited such an attack.
Cheating is wrong, and this cheating was no small matter. This was cheating in how we choose who will hold the most powerful job on the planet. President Trump cheated. To help himself, he tried to deny me my right to vote in a fair election, and he tried to involve a foreign government in that cheating. That is inexcusable and unforgivable.
President Nixon cheated. By removing him for this, our self-correcting democracy partially repaired the damage he caused. President Clinton lied in court. I thought that was a high crime and supported removing him then. We failed, lowered the ethical bar, and weakened our democracy. Both comparisons are relevant today.
Like Nixon, President Trump cheated in a presidential election. Even worse, President Trump’s attempt asked a foreign government to interfere. To me this is also worse than what Clinton did, and I thought Clinton should have been removed. Our democracy needs to self-correct, as it did with Nixon and failed to do with Clinton.
I think President Trump’s cheating in the next presidential election, and his use of his office in an attempt to involve a foreign government in that cheating to help himself, are together an abuse of power and a high crime. I recommend the Senate find President Donald Trump guilty of abuse of power and remove him from office.
I find many of the arguments in and on the margins of the Senate impeachment trial to be distractions or secondary.
– I don’t care whether President Trump tied explicit conditions or threats to his request for a “favor” from the Ukrainian president. The ask was the bad act.
– Nor do I care that his cheating failed. An inept cheater who fails to achieve his objective is still a cheater.
– I don’t care much whether his action violated a criminal statute, as I think this is not necessary to constitute a high crime.
– I would err on the side of being over-inclusive on witnesses and evidence but don’t need more of either to draw my conclusion.
– Others who also cheated should be or should have been punished. The right answer is to raise the ethical bar, not lower it.
– The prosecution’s flaws, failures, and in some cases corrupt motives do not mitigate President Trump’s bad act or guilt. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
– Relative peace and prosperity, good poll numbers, anticipated citizen anger, or an upcoming election do not excuse a president from being held responsible for trying to deny me my right to vote in a fair election. We should hold all elected officials accountable for their worst actions, not just those who are unpopular, unsuccessful, or whose policies or political style we dislike.
It is a privilege to live in a society where we can speak our minds, vote, criticize our elected leaders, and hold them to account. I cherish these freedoms and rights, and our democracy that protects them. As permitted by the Constitution, the Senate should remove from power anyone who attacks that democracy. That includes our president, Donald Trump.