Since the election there has been vociferous calls for impeachment from the left. Some moderates and conservatives have also begun to talk about the possibility of impeachment as the Trump administration has increasingly been plagued with reports of ties to Russia. This being the case, one can imagine the responses I got from my left-leaning peers when I told them I have reasons why I think we should not impeach Donald Trump. Let me be clear, I am no apologist or supporter of Donald Trump. Nor am I suggesting passivity or inaction. The point of this article is not to convert the reader to an ardent Trump supporter or to label those calling for impeachment as alarmist. Rather, the aim here is to provide insight in order to achieve balanced reasoning. When considering why people should take action on a serious matter it’s also important to consider why they should not.
First, let’s begin with the crux of the argument for impeachment; the Trump administration’s problematic relationship with Russia. Some have argued that we should try to improve relations with Russia . This is a point I will concede, the United States should seek to have non-hostile relations with all nations.The problem is that Russia’s actions are not very friendly. In fact, Russia has a decade long history of using various forms of cyber attacks to destabilize nations they wish to assert influence over. United States intelligence agencies have confirmed that such cyber attacks were directed at the U.S. to destabilize our political process (You can read the Director of National Intelligence’s report detailing Russia’s actions here). I think the investigation of the potential Trump/Russia ties should continue but impeachment should not be a focus. Impeachment will be a lengthy and tumultuous process. If the goal of Russia is to cause chaos in the U.S. then the impeachment process of a combative president with rabid supporters will surely be to the delight of Moscow. This should instead be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of our democratic institutions and the effectiveness of checks and balances in government . The legislative and judicial branches have the ability to check the executive. Instead of dragging the country through the circus of an impeachment trial we should seek to keep our government functioning.
Some have argued that if Trump were to be impeached we would have the lesser of two evils in Mike Pence. Pence may be more refined in his rhetoric but there is no indication he would depart from the current policy agenda. Also, removal of Trump from office through impeachment does not necessarily mean removal of the members of his administration. Would impeaching Trump really be that significant in light of the possibility of cabinet members like Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway sticking around? Additionally, it is possible that Trump could do as Nixon did, resign before impeachment and be pardoned by Pence.
There is only one sure way to remove Trump and all the toxic elements of his administration from the White House. Unfortunately for those who oppose Donald Trump that opportunity for clean removal from office does not happen until 2020. In the meantime we should put our energy into local and state governments in order to maintain stability. We should organize and build our communities so they can deal with some of the inadequacies of federal government. As detailed in a recent article by Ani Manolatos impeachment is no simple process. We can not undo the democratic election of Donald Trump and trying to will only further divide the country. It may be a bitter pill to swallow for many American’s but we should not quickly follow down a path that could tear the country apart.
By James Martines