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Huckleberries Online

Opinion: Talk of impeachment premature

A large majority of Democratic voters wants impeachment – wanted it, in fact, well before the revelation that senior Trump campaign personnel decided to take a meeting after being promised Russian support in taking down Hillary Clinton.

Limbaugh even understates the case. He says that “nobody is actually expressing this desire verbally.” He should read the liberals in my Twitter feed. Or listen to the two Democratic congressmen who this week filed an article of impeachment. Rep. Maxine Waters of California has also called for impeachment.

That’s a far-off prospect. But even if the debate is only beginning, we can already see its main points of contention. We can also see that each side is skirting two truths about impeachment it finds unpalatable.

It wouldn’t be “a coup.” The Constitution’s provisions for impeaching and removing a president from office require a very high degree of public support. The process would have to enjoy the support of a majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate. It is unlikely that Mike Pence would become president this way unless a very large majority of Americans wanted it.

In the last 30 years, the highest percentage of the vote any presidential candidate has gotten was George H. W. Bush’s 53.4 percent in 1988. That level of consensus – the most we have attained in decades – would not be enough to secure Trump’s removal. Support for his ouster would have to be much broader than that. Without very broad support, any attempt to dethrone Trump would fail – just as the attempt to remove Bill Clinton for perjury did. Read more.

Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.