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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/9/19

The Real Constitutional Crisis: The Constitution

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There is, it is true, a Constitutional procedure for the removal of a president on the grounds of incapacity -- the 25th Amendment. But nobody takes this remedy seriously, short of a finally crippling presidential stroke or some other White House calamity/Godsend that renders T7 unable to tweet. Even if T7 could be Twenty-Fifthed out of the Oval Office, the process would only give the White House (under our "genius" Constitution) to demented evangelical fascist, Mike Pence. Who wants his apocalyptic fingers on the nuclear codes even for one day?

There is of course the impeachment path. Impeachment is now very likely thanks to the Democrats' electoral takeover of the House of Representatives and to T7 getting its venal little red hands caught in the "deep state" Ukraine-Biden-Burisma cookie jar (Burisma-Biden Gate). But actual removal is unlikely under the nation's sacred parchment because the U.S. Senate is majority Republican and therefore likely to hand T7 an "exoneration" he could use as an electoral asset next November. It requires just a simple majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach but two-thirds of the U.S. Senate to remove a president under "our" beloved Constitution. We've had two presidential impeachments (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton) in U.S. history but no removals, though the evil nut-job Richard Nixon (who Trump thinks was "framed") would have been both impeached and removed had he not resigned first

It might seem absurd that the U.S. Senate is majority-Republican given the fact the Trumpified Republican Party is widely hated and deeply unpopular in the United States. But this irrationality (from a democratic perspective, at least) is fully constitutional, for the nation's unjustly hallowed charter grossly exaggerates the Senate voice of the nation's whitest, most reactionary, Republican, gun-addicted, racist, and proto-fascistic regions. The Constitution assigns two Senators to each U.S. state regardless of (steep) differences in state population.

Like the Electoral College, it's totally ludicrous from a democratic standpoint. "Red" (Republican) Wyoming, home to 573,720 Americans, holds U.S. Senatorial parity with "blue" (Democratic) California, where more than 39 million Americans reside. That's one U.S. Senator for every 19.5 million Californians versus one U.S. Senator for every 287,000 Wyoming residents.

Just one of New York City's five boroughs, bright-blue Brooklyn, has 2.6 million people. If Brooklyn were a state and US Senators were apportioned there with the same populace-to-Senator ratio as red Wyoming, Brooklyn would have 9 U.S. Senators, all Democrats.

The following 13 states together have a combined population of roughly 34,4 million: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Together these 13 "red states" send 26 Republicans to the U.S. Senate. The single "blue state" of California, with a population more than 5 million higher than these 13 states combined, sends 2 Democrats to the upper chamber of Congress.

Due to "a growing population shift from the agricultural interior to crowded corridors along the coast," Daniel Lazare noted two years ago, it is mathematically possible now to "cobble together a Senate majority with states that account for just 17.6 percent of the popular vote."

(And by the way, the bright blue District of Columbia is home to 693,972 people, more than all of Wyoming and just roughly 46,000 less than that of Alaska. It is absurdly denied voting representation in either the House or the Senate.)

This preposterous (from a pro-democracy perspective) apportionment system means that the Republican Senate majority answers to a very disproportionately white, rural, and reactionary section of the electorate.

How idiotic (from a democracy standpoint) is that?

And what, by the way, would the impeachment and removal of Herr Donald give the nation under the "genius" Constitution but the presidency of the arch-right-wing Christian Fascist Mike Pence? There's a case to be made for impeaching and removing Trump anyway, but Pence's constitutionally ordained ascendancy is no small negative incentive.

Look at the following passage from Nancy Pelosi's recent House floor speech in support of open impeachment hearings on the orange malignancy's abuse of power in the Biden-Burisma Gate case:

"And, what is at stake? What is at stake, in all of this, is nothing less than our democracy...I proudly stand next to the flag...which stands for our democracy. When Benjamin Franklin came out of Independence Hall you heard this over and over on September 17, 1787, the day our Constitution was adopted, he came out of Independence Hall, people said to him, 'Dr. Franklin, what do we have a monarchy or a republic?' And, he said, as you know, he said, 'A republic, if we can keep it.' If we can keep it."

"And this Constitution is the blueprint for our republic and not a monarchy. But, when we have a President who says, 'Article II says I can do whatever I want,' that is in defiance of the separation of powers. That's not what our Constitution says. So, what is at stake is our democracy. What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people."

You know in the early days of our revolution, Thomas Paine said, "The times have found us." The times found our Founders to declare independence from a monarchy, to fight a war of independence, write our founding documents and thank God they made them amendable so we can always be expanding freedom. And, the genius, again that genius of that Constitution was the separation of power. Any usurping of that power is a violation of our oath of office. So, proudly, you all, we all raised our hands to protect and defend and support the Constitution of the United States. That's what this vote is about."

Today we think the time found our Founders, the times found others in the course of our history to protect our democracy, to keep our country united. The times have found each and every one of us in this room and in our country to pay attention to how we protect and defend the Constitution of the United States honoring the vision of our Founders who declared independence from a monarch and established a country contrary to that principle, honoring men and women in uniform who fight for our freedom and for our democracy and honoring the aspirations of our children so that no President, whoever he or she may be in the future, could decide that Article II says "they can do whatever they want" let us honor our oath of office. Let us defend our democracy" (emphasis added).

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Paul Street (www.paulstreet.org and paulstreet99@yahoo.com) is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (2004), Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (2007), Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (more...)
 
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