A Performance with a Predictable Ending

Is Trump’s inappropriate behavior enough to prove that U.S. democracy is in danger and merits his removal from office?

The United States is a country with a short history, which would explain why it holds its Founding Fathers in such reverence. They are the authors of impeachment, an extraordinary constitutional solution to avoiding the rise of a despot, a president who confuses his role with that of a king. The constituent act of the American republic was abandoning the colonial stronghold of the British monarchy.

These days, the Senate evokes the image of a play for two characters: a man and a woman of similar age, a Republican and a Democrat. The outcome is predictable. First, the U.S. president defends his innocence and denies all responsibility for his unorthodox governance. As president, he says, I can do what I want and nothing will happen to me. The star of the show, behind the curtain, is Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a brave politician who tried to avoid impeachment until the very last moment, and began Trump’s removal process on Dec. 18 with two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, because “if we had not done this, just think of how low our democracy would have sunk.”

We’re watching an unheard of political trial. The Democrats are fighting to convene witnesses and provide documents with new evidence. Meanwhile, Republicans at the moment are denying everything and seeking quick and complete absolution for Trump. The first charge is abuse of presidential power for pressuring and coercing a foreign country, Ukraine, to conduct an investigation into Trump’s main electoral rival, Joe Biden, and his son, in order to support Trump’s reelection in November. The White House has assured us he got nothing in return, that there was no quid pro quo.

Trump and his legal team are blowing smoke and denying the charges; they say there has been no crime, that it’s a desperate attempt by the Democrats to unlawfully knock off Trump, whose election they never accepted in the first place, that the president has exercised his right to manage foreign policy autonomously. Trump and his lawyers are seeking an extraordinary expansion of presidential powers, and a limit to congressional power, arguing that it should be the voters, not Congress, who decide if the president should be removed.

The second charge is the alleged obstruction of Congress that the president committed by denying Congress access to witnesses and evidence. The president mocked his rivals from Davos, tweeting, “But honestly, we have all the material. They don’t have the material.”

In this extraordinary case, impeachment is a constitutional parachute jump meant to save the republic. Is Trump’s inappropriate behavior and compulsive lying enough to prove that U.S. democracy is in danger and merit his removal from office? The performance is getting near the end and there’s little doubt as to the outcome: absolution by the Senate and a vote on Nov. 3.

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About Hannah Bowditch 129 Articles
Hi, my name is Hannah. I hold a Masters degree in Translation from the University of Portsmouth and a BA in English Literature and Spanish. I love travel and languages and am very pleased to be a part of the Watching America team.

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