An Impeachment of Trump Might Lead To a Disaster

Julian Knight, Opinion Editor

Through the political turmoil that seems to have filled the headlines for the last two years, one thing has remained constant among Donald Trump’s fiercest opponents: their calls for impeachment. In theory, such a method does seem politically sound—impeachment presents a way to unseat Trump from power and bring an end to the constant hirings and firings, early-morning Tweets, and divisiveness that his administration brought on. But as easy as it is to call for (and dream of) impeachment in the face of mounting investigations, the removal of a sitting president is far more complicated and could prove politically disastrous in the long run.

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation seemingly coming to a close, and the return of a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, impeachment seems to be a possibility much more realistic than a year ago. However, the reality is anything but; even if such a measure were to pass the House, the Republican-controlled senate would need to approve it with a supermajority of votes before Trump could be forced out. If impeachment failed (a more than likely outcome), this would quickly discredit the entire Democratic party, seemingly vindicate Trump, and provide him with the perfect talking points to help mobilize his base for the 2020 elections.

Whether deliberate or purely coincidental, Trump has spent the last two years actively working to discredit the Special Counsel and news media—steps that have, until this point, seemed more to be the desperate motions of an administration struggling to meet campaign promises and fight a tide of public opposition. Even as Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and other close Trump advisers have been arrested by the Special Counsel, the President’s constant assertions of an “illegal witch hunt” and late-night cries of “fake news” have seemed relatively harmless. After all, those who believe him likely put little stock in the “failing New York Times” to begin with, so all in all, Trump’s claims have had little drastic effect. But if enough investigations aimed directly at Trump and his family begin to materialize, the effects could be far from harmless.

It’s far safer to wait out the next two years to end chaos.

A voter base already suspicious of the media and the Washington establishment seeking to unseat Trump would be even more motivated to re-elect a President Pence and be sure to remove any legislators who had voted in favor of impeachment. Using the ideas of a country under threat that sustained his campaign, Trump’s application of those same principles to his administration has, in a way, ensured that many legislators will think twice before supporting Trump’s removal.

One of the most widely-recognized reasons to avoiding impeachment is the 25th amendment. If Trump were to be removed from office by Congress, his vice president, Mike Pence, would assume power. If this were to happen, President Pence’s all but certain pardoning of the recently-impeached Trump would be the least of America’s worries. Pence has been an open supporter of gay conversion therapy, promoted a return to “religious values,” and has refused to condemn racist and homophobic behavior on multiple occasions. Many agree that, as unlikeable and even dangerous as Trump may be, Pence would be far worse, as he would bring years of actual legislative experience and political skill to his presidency. For now, it’s better for America to suffer through Trump’s tedious Tweets than to endure far-right presidency in which the chief executive actually knows what they’re doing. If anything, it’s far safer to wait out the next two years, waiting for the 2020 elections to finally end the chaos.


This piece also appears in our February 2019 print edition.