Constitutions as Self-Restraint

I’m a bit late to the party on this, but Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, recently offered one of the more strained arguments against an impeachment trial for former President Trump. It would be, he said the weekend before last, “arrogant” to disqualify Trump from running for office again. “Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” Rubio mistakes not just the impeachment power but also the nature of constitutional government itself. Written constitutions place all manner of restraints on the people. Try Rubio’s argument from the opposite side. Consider, hypothetically, an … Continue reading Constitutions as Self-Restraint

Jeffrey Abramson’s follow-up to his prior essay on political resignations

On January 13, I published an essay in these pages (Political Resignations: Comparing the Watergate and Trump Eras), contrasting resignations from the Trump administration to the role political resignations played in toppling Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal. Recent revelations show that the comparison to Watergate was even closer than suspected. Richard Nixon triggered the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” in 1973, when he ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the Watergate break-in into the offices of the Democratic National Committee.  Richardson resigned instead, backed up by the resignation of the Deputy Attorney General, … Continue reading Jeffrey Abramson’s follow-up to his prior essay on political resignations

I Think I am Against a Senate Impeachment Trial for Trump

Jeffrey C. Isaac is the James H. Rudy Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University. The best thing now is to let Trump leave the White House in disgrace, to do everything possible to put him out of the public mind, and to move forward politically with the business of Democratic governance and democratic citizenship. I think I am against a Senate impeachment trial. I think I am. I’m not sure. I am sure about little these days. But I am pretty sure that a Senate trial is not a very good idea. Of course Trump deserves … Continue reading I Think I am Against a Senate Impeachment Trial for Trump

Symposium on Impeachment

Susan McWilliams Barndt is Chair and Professor of Politics at Pomona College. On the one hand: I study American political thought and history. So I understand that impeachment is a big deal. On the other hand: I’ve already lived through three impeachments. So I understand that impeachment is banal. On the one hand: I don’t want to be glib because this may well be a moment of real significance in the history of the republic. On the other hand: Been there, done that. * * * When we’re talking about impeachment, here’s an underlying problem: Right now, it is hard … Continue reading Symposium on Impeachment

Political Resignations: Comparing the Watergate and Trump Eras, by Jeffrey Abramson

Political resignations can be a matter of great conscience and statesmanship. Or they can be the too little, too late scurrying of rats off a sinking ship. The last few months of the Trump Administration resemble the end of the Nixon presidency in giving us some of both. Continue reading Political Resignations: Comparing the Watergate and Trump Eras, by Jeffrey Abramson