Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Counterpoint: Impeachment is a necessity

Trump should not escape punishment for his crimes
(The White House/Flickr)

After the harsh lesson of the 2016 presidential election, the first thought on many minds when determining which candidate to vote for in 2020 is: are they electable? After the recent Ukrainian developments involving President Trump, it is time to put electability on the backburner and move forward with an impeachment inquiry. The impeachment should not just be a removal of Trump, but a bipartisan condemnation of his actions.

Focusing on simply kicking Trump out of office reinforces the idea that the problems which the Trump administration represents will disappear with him. However, these issues existed before Trump, and if nothing changes, will continue long after him. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg partially acknowledged this idea during the Democratic debate when he said “Look, systemic racism preceded this president, and even when we defeat him, it will be with us. That’s why we need a systemic approach to dismantle it.” These problems are not limited to racism, though Trump has done much to encourage that system.

The issue of systemic change came to a head when the Democratic party was once again presented with the option of impeachment. This time, Trump admitted to discussing Joe Biden with a foreign leader, and there is evidence he used aid packages as leverage to encourage the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden’s son on allegations of corruption. The gravity of these allegations is leagues above previous accusations. This is treason, plain and simple. Trump has turned to defending the call rather than denying it outright as he did with much of the Mueller investigation. The call and the subsequent cover-up of the whistle-blower complaint, is enough to make Mitt Romney publicly uncomfortable and possibly other Republican legislators privately uneasy.

Letting yet another presidential abuse of power slide will establish the precedent that whoever holds the office is immune to anything. Democrats and Republicans alike need to understand how dangerous setting this precedent is. It will last beyond any presidency, and if Trump is reelected in 2020, will only get worse. He has simply gone too far this time to remain inactive.

The Democratic party leaders have remained ambivalent toward impeachment up to this point. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime party leader, has been criticized for taking too long to make up her mind and is being critiqued for pushing for an impeachment inquiry too quickly. It is time for legislators to stop thinking what is best for reelection and instead think what is best for this country. Right now, the best thing legislators can do for the country is stop President Trump before he is able to erode the democratic institutions the United States holds so near and dear.

With an eye on the Democratic 2020 polls, it is increasingly apparent that the Democratic constituency is ready for change, and quick. The three highest polling candidates are Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Together, Warren and Sanders have the support of 36 percent of those polled. The two candidates represent a radically progressive departure from the centrist “we can work things out” attitude of Biden and other establishment Democrats. Americans are beginning to realize that some of these issues simply cannot be worked out without serious change, especially when your political opponents have no desire to compromise.

Just as with systemic racism, courting political intervention from other countries is not something that can be compromised on. The question for Democrats now is who has the courage to ignore the risk of losing an election and show that no matter who is in office, this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. And this time, a non-binding resolution condemning these actions is not enough. Impeachment should be a matter of when, not if.

Max Dutzik Henricks can be reached at [email protected].

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