Bipartisan Trump Removal

In the last few weeks, more and more evidence has piled up against Donald Trump's actions in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. Campaign finance law breaches and communication with the Russian government mean that he committed serious felonies. The evidence from the US Justice Department indicates that he should be impeached and removed from office.

But is that going to happen? Despite all the evidence of 2017 and 2018 the Republicans in Congress have defended their president. It was impossible for the Democrats to win a two-thirds majority in the senate at the recent mid-term elections. In order for Trump to be impeached and removed, a simple majority vote in the House needs to be passed in order for impeachment, and a two-thirds majority in the Senate is needed to remove the president from office.

Impeachment from the house is a simple matter, but it won't make much difference if the senate doesn't remove him. So the senate is the battleground. 45 Democrats and 2 independents need 20 out the 53 Republicans to vote with them. This is unlikely to work.

But if it could work - if there are enough Republicans who are convinced of Trump's guilt - what would be the necessary compromises made between the two parties to agree to it?

 1. Mike Pence should resign or also be impeached. 

Although Mike Pence has not been linked to anything substantial, the fact remains that he is closely associated with Trump. This association is intolerable. If Trump is removed from office, Pence should not replace him. He should either be impeached and removed at the same time as Trump, or else he should resign prior to Trump's removal.

2. Nancy Pelosi should refuse to serve as President. 

In the presidential line of succession, the House Speaker is next in line after the Vice President. In 2019 this person will be Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi has been a committed Democrat in the US Senate for many years, and while many Democrats would welcome a Pelosi presidency, it would not be something acceptable to Republicans. As part of any potential agreement between the two parties, the ascending of a well known Democratic party leader to the White House could not work.

3. Orrin Hatch should not be selected to serve as President. 

Next in line in the presidential line of succession is the "President Pro Tempore" of the US Senate. This is Orrin Hatch. Hatch, like Pelosi, is a well known Republican party leader. At 84 years of age, he is the third eldest person in the Senate and has shown himself to be an ardent Trump supporter. He should not be selected either.

 4. Find a young, moderate Republican.

In order for the removal of Trump to work, his replacement must be a Republican. Ideally this person should be younger than 50 and should hold a moderately conservative position, as opposed to the more radical tea-party ideologues. Members of the "Republican Main Street Partnership" should be the ones most likely to fit this bill. In the Senate, this would include Todd Young, the 47-year old junior senator from Indiana. For the House, moderate Republican under 50s include: Rodney Davis, Sean Duffy, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mike Gallagher, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Will Hurd, Adam Kinzinger, Brian Mast, Tom Reed, Elise Stefanik, David Valadao and Lee Zeldin.

5. Place this Republican candidate in a formal leadership position. 

This would be, in the case of Todd Young, his appointment to President Pro Tempore of the Senate, replacing Orrin Hatch. In the case of the house Republicans, this would involve them being appointed to the position of House Speaker, replacing Nancy Pelosi. These positions would be titular only, and would only last as long as it takes for the president and vice president to be removed.

6. Impeach and remove Donald Trump, and Mike Pence if necessary. 

With a young, moderate Republican now firmly holding a position in the presidential line of succession, Trump can be removed from office. With Pence gone as well, this Republican will then be in a position to be appointed to the position of president.

7. The Republican President nominates a Democratic or Independent Vice President. 

Unity is important in this day and age. With a Republican president replacing Trump, the chances of social upheaval and violence are lessened. By appointing a Vice President who is a Democrat or an Independent, the president will be publicly showing the importance of bipartisanship and unity.

8. Neither President or Vice President will stand for re-election in 2020. 

One important step to make this work would be the insistence that neither the newly appointed Republican president nor his non-Republican Vice President should be running for the presidency in 2020. By refusing to run, these two people would focus more upon the process of executive power wielded and effective government, rather than upon their own personal ambition to be elected to their position.

9. Donald Trump is not pardoned. 

The final part of this jigsaw must be the assurance that the new president does not pardon Trump. Although it is likely that Trump might be indicted on state charges, and thus not be able to be pardoned anyway, the action of pardoning Trump would create a huge distrust in the process of government.


The Anomaly of George H.W. Bush

The recently deceased former president George H.W. Bush will not go down in history as one of America's greatest presidents, but he will probably be remembered as a good president, and certainly the least controversial president of the post-war era.

If you go through a list of all the presidents after Roosevelt, every single one has a serious black mark against his name, deserved or undeserved. All except GHW Bush.

It's not as though GHW Bush was perfect. He wasn't. He could've done a whole lot better than he did, and he did some bad stuff too.

Here's a list of the postwar presidents, and the controversies associated with them. And remember that these controversies are not necessarily deserved.

Truman - The use of Atomic Bombs against Japan.

Eisenhower - CIA coups in various parts of the world that propped up authoritarian regimes.

Kennedy - Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War

Johnson - Vietnam War

Nixon - Vietnam War, Watergate

Ford - Pardoned Nixon

Carter - Malaise, Iran hostage crisis

Reagan - Reaganomics, Iran-Contra

George H.W. Bush - Gulf War

Clinton - Lewinski Scandal

George W. Bush - 9/11, Invasion of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, Global Financial Crisis

Obama - Global Financial Crisis, Birth certificate conspiracy

Trump - Collusion with Russia

GHW Bush was president in a transitional period of history. Communism and the Iron Curtain collapsed under his watch, an event that America did not expect and did not adequately exploit. It was also a transitional time for US politics too, with the growing demise of Rockefeller Republicans, of which Bush was one. Bush helped set up NAFTA, a trade agreement that upset a number of economic nationalists and which created a spoiler candidate for him in 1992 in the form of Ross Perot. Had Perot not run as an independent, Bush probably would've got enough votes to beat Clinton. Economically, Bush was against the Supply-Side "Voodoo Economics" that became policy under Reagan, forcing him to raise taxes to address the out of control budget deficit that had been bequeathed to him by Reagan. The decision to raise taxes rather than cut spending was an indicator of his centrist position, but he had made the mistake of initially promising "no new taxes", a policy reversal which further alienated the growing minarchist base of the Republican party.

The greatest event during his presidency was the Gulf War. With the Cold War barely over, Saddam Hussein's decision to invade Kuwait created a potential economic and humanitarian crisis. With the United Nations as a global institution still respected by Washington, Bush and other world leaders skillfully navigated diplomatic channels in an attempt to end the crisis while simultaneously preparing for war. With Saddam unmoved, the Western powers engaged in the largest military conflict since the Vietnam War. The overwhelming victory not only solidified America's place as sole military superpower, but also justified the idea of an all-volunteer military, a process which had begun in Western militaries soon after the Vietnam War finished.

In hindsight, would it have been better if the US had gone on to invade Iraq? The Iraqi military was in chaos and Saddam's grip on power loosened. Yet the post-2003 years showed just how difficult such a process would be. Nevertheless, a 1993 occupation of Iraq with the backing of the United Nations and the keen involvement of all western powers could have arguably produced a better outcome than the 2003 occupation, not least because by 2003 a combination of arrogance and incompetence had begun to typify high-level government leaders under GW Bush, a process which came to a head in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, and which was also seen by the increasing civil war in Iraq. At least in 1993, such a combination of arrogance and incompetence was not yet noticeable (perhaps due to GHW Bush's many years in public service, including being head of the CIA).

George HW Bush's pardoning of those involved in the Iran-Contra scandal is obviously an issue. The scandal, hatched under Reagan, should have been exposed and the top people involved punished. Bush probably knew about the plan - being the Vice President under Reagan and a former head of the CIA. It's a scandal that didn't reverberate as much as it should have, and modern day American conservatism has been too quick to forget and ignore the near-treason involved in it, with feel-good nostalgia and victory over communism (a modern myth) being their memories of Reagan.

So of course GHW Bush was not a perfect president. No president is. And yet when we look through the turmoil of postwar history we see in GHW Bush as someone who managed to avoid controversies. And just as we wonder what would've happened had Gore or Hilary Clinton had become president had not circumstances intervened, so too can we wonder what would've happened had Perot not spoiled the 1992 election. Would there have been a 1994 Republican revolution with Bush in power? Who would've contested the 1996 election? Who would've been in power on 9/11? GW Bush's run for the presidency could've been delayed had his father served a second term.

So in the grand scheme of things, GHW did a few things that were good, a few things that were bad, and escaped the levels of controversy of virtually every other US leader in the postwar era. This is a great achievement.