Home / General / A New Innovation in Centrist Ideology: A President Cannot Be Impeached If He Was Elected

A New Innovation in Centrist Ideology: A President Cannot Be Impeached If He Was Elected


Apparently Fred Hiatt couldn’t find anyone to do this hot take so he decided to Bayless it himself:

The strongest argument for impeachment may be that Trump is unfit for office. He lies; he divides; he flouts constitutional norms, embraces dictators and spews hateful rhetoric. He is ignorant and impetuous, temperamentally and philosophically unfit.

All true. In fact, our editorial board said as much when he was nominated in 2016. “Uniquely unqualified to serve as president,” we wrote. “A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.”

I think we’ve been proved right. But that is precisely the point: We thought his unfitness was evident before he was elected, and Americans chose him anyway. (No, he didn’t win the popular vote. But he won.) He is endangering the future of the planet — but we knew he was a climate denier. He ripped children from their parents at the border — but his racism and anti-immigrant animus, like his contempt for the Constitution, were no secrets.

To impeach him now for what the electorate welcomed or was willing to overlook isn’t the democratic response. The right response is to defeat him in 2020.

The second article of impeachment might be that Trump encouraged and benefited from foreign interference in the 2016 election. This, too, is unforgivable. But, again, the broad outlines were known before the election — he invited Russia’s help, he crowed about WikiLeaks’ publication of stolen Democratic emails — and, again, he was elected anyway.

Since this is the guy who edits one of the three most prominent op-ed pages in the country, I hope you’ll forgive me for belaboring the obvious:

–The whole argument that the president cannot be impeached if people knew he was bad in other ways makes no sense at all on its face, not least because of all of the impeachable stuff he’s done since getting elected.

–You can’t really “but he won” the popular vote away when you’re arguing that “the people” knew what Donald Trump was in 2016 and you’re arguing that the only remedy is beating him in 2020.

–Were people fully informed about the Russian ratfucking before the election? Um…

Similarly, the idea that the DNC/Podesta hacks were covered as a scandalous strategic ratfucking operation rather than covered as yet another series of Clinton EMAILS! pseudo-scandals just as the ratfuckers wanted isn’t so much historical revisionism as self-serving historical making things up out of whole cloth.

“It was litigated!” would be a terrible argument even if the public were fully informed in 2016, and they most certainly weren’t.

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