On the one hand, President Trump is widely suspected of misfeasance before and after taking office, to wit:
- His relations with foreign leaders are suspect.
- He fails to recognize that the Constitution limits his powers, but attacks Congress, judges, and courts.
- His understanding of issues is sketchy, based on news reports rather than study or expert advice.
- He cites “alternative facts,” some reflecting Russian propaganda.
- He is out of step with past administrations, Democratic and Republican, on many issues–free trade, climate change, foreign relations.
- His administration is rife with corruption.
- He encourages divisiveness, racism, intolerance.
One might think that even suspicion of conspiracy with foreign dictators alone would be fatal, yet for President Trump even billowing smoke doesn’t mean fire to many of us.
On the other hand, he was elected President, and whether fairly or not, occupies the office and exercises its powers and usurps more:
- He enjoys the support of a significant fraction of us.
- He threatens war and makes nice erratically.
- He nominates judges, some to lifetime positions.
- His administration fails to fill many important offices with little notice.
- He appoints senior officials, often cronies and family members, with the consent, if not the advice, of Congress.
- He has provoked the longest shutdown in history.
- He has imposed tariffs on foreign goods disrupting the world economy.
- He has used the military in questionable ways.
- He quarrels with allies and makes nice with dictators.
Why, one wonders, is President Trump able to do this? Is it that we have such faith in our elections that we can’t conceive of an unsuitable person being elected, is it that politicians, seeking partisan goals, choose to ignore the danger, or is it that the constitutional provision for removing an elected President, impeachment, is too cumbersome and controversial to be used?