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Alan's Note: When I started this blog, it was not my intention to include anything from other writers, as this is MY blog. But I found this opinion piece in the "Chicago Tribune-Enquirer" today and thought it so compelling and so well written that, once I got over my jealously, felt obligated to share it. It is written by Dominic Lynch, a writer from Chicago who writes for The Federalist and Chicagoly Magazine. He entitled it "Don't resort to a coup to remove Trump from the White House." The picture is from files, which I pilfered from some other source long ago. If I ever figure out how to get back on my Twitter account, I intend to add him and let him know what a fine column it was.
There are two political means of removing a U.S. president from office: impeachment and the 25th Amendment.
Almost from the first day of President Donald Trump's administration, his critics on the left have batted around the idea of impeachment.
To those detractors, the investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election, the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn, and the firing of FBI Director James Comey all seem to be building a case to file articles to remove the president from office. But there is not much “there” in those cases: Russian interference seems to be limited to misinformation campaigns, Flynn’s ouster has been undermined by the leaks that made it happen, and the firing of Comey is well within the president’s authority. Whether the president dismissed Comey in order to obstruct an investigation is still being determined.
For Trump’s critics on the right, the preferred method of removal now seems to be invoking the 25th Amendment, under which the Cabinet would vote to remove the president from power for an indefinite period, replacing him with Vice President Mike Pence. If a coup d’etat came to America it would look like this: unelected bureaucrats voting to remove a president because of his hostility to their jobs and his childlike temperament in expressing and executing his agenda.
President Trump is many things: an oaf, a buffoon and an incompetent politician. But he is also an existential threat to the culture of Washington, D.C., and its elites. His call to “drain the swamp,” whether he means it or not, has obviously riled his base and whatever base elites still have to ground themselves on. This goes a long way toward explaining the rage that encompasses the coastal media and its enablers.
Nonetheless, the white-hot rage that has been brewing among the president’s detractors since Nov. 8, 2016, seems to be reaching a point not seen since the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape a month before the election. Now, instead of calls for Trump to drop out of the race, there are calls for him to be removed by the Cabinet or impeached.
But these are unstable times and these are dangerous ideas. In an election that — fairly or not — cast doubt on the president’s legitimacy, in a political environment that careens between incompetence by Republicans and obstruction by Democrats, in a country whose social fabric is fraying, the calls to remove the president are reckless at best and damning at worst. The elites had their chance to persuade the American people to trust them: Between Hillary Clinton and the 17 Republican candidates, the people had a choice to vote for order and stability and politics as usual. But they chose the “Make America Great Again” candidate.
Trump’s critics make a good point when they attack his competence, sincerity, honesty and so forth. It is true that he is lacking in those qualities more than any other modern president. The criticism is well earned.
But the unceasing attempts to delegitimize and undermine him are as childish and petty as Trump himself. What is lost in the hyperventilation of journalists, pundits and politicians is the will of the people who elected him president.
Trump is a disrupter. That is his purpose and the reason he was elected. American elites stopped serving their constituencies long ago. For pundits and politicians to disregard the will of voters and float ideas for Trump’s removal flies in the face of the democratic society they are supposedly trying to save.
If Trump leaves office before the end of his term it will probably be because he feels boxed in or undermined. The prospects of Congress impeaching him are slim, as is his Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment. Putting these ideas into the public forum as practical solutions is harmful to the country.
If America is to weather the current political storm, then cool heads must prevail. What we cannot afford is a coup.