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Historical support for impeachment and removal

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Here are some interesting data from Gallup on public support for the impeachment and removal of Nixon, Clinton, and Trump.

Starting with the most straightforward case, there was never any real support for removing Clinton outside the basic crazification factor, even when every reactionary centrist pundit in Georgetown was agonizing about What Shall We Tell the Children?

Nixon’s case is particularly interesting. There was never majority support in the electorate for removing Nixon via impeachment while he was still president. (The high water mark of 58% approval was reached in a poll from late August 1974, a couple of weeks after his resignation).

By contrast, a majority of the electorate wants to remove Trump right now, which is an unprecedented situation in regard to any sitting president in US history.

But of course 2019 isn’t 1974: in the latter year, a large minority of Republicans (31%) supported removing him in July 1974, despite the fact that this remained a minority position among the populace as a whole. Today, 6% of Republicans, in comparison to 88% of Democrats and 55% of independents, support removing Trump.

Of course this reflects the partisan sorting of the parties over the past 45 years, but also reflects a couple of other things:

(1) Impeachment/removal isn’t seen as such a radical step today. When Nixon was under the impeachment gun, more than a century had passed since the only other serious attempt to use the process. Since then, one third of all presidents have faced a serious threat of impeachment.

(2) Trump is loathed by far more people than love him, plus he clearly deserves to be removed, for too many reasons to count — indeed his corruption is far more comprehensive than Nixon’s, which is something that I wouldn’t have thought was practically possible.

I suspect that as our system of government continues to decay, impeachment proceedings will become a routine feature of political life. The logic of Both Sides requires it, which means that every hint of impropriety by any future Democratic president will be treated by both the Republican party and our feckless media as equivalent to Trump’s bottomless cesspool of grifting and lawlessness.

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