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The hot topic these days seems to be impeachment, particularly as applied to President Trump; and how it will make our country great again.

Impeachment Worries

So, with everybody else having an opinion, I thought I’d throw my two cents’ worth into the discussion. We can always discuss a refund if you feel you overpaid.

First off, we need to be clear on what impeachment is, and what it isn’t. What it is, is the process by which the lower house of a bicameral legislature brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed. At the Federal level, this would be from the House of Representatives. Think of a Grand Jury bringing an indictment.

The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held. The trial is held by the upper house, in this case the US Senate. Think of a trial before a judge and jury. The trial and possible removal from office is separate from the act of impeachment itself. If the official is convicted they are removed from office.

So what an impeachment is, is bringing charges. What it isn’t, is automatic removal from office.

And, yes, President Clinton was impeached, and President Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment. So, yes, impeachment can be a powerful weapon.

But, consider the following reasons why impeachment may not be the most effective path to follow in the case of President Trump.

One, the House may fail to bring any charges. In which case, Trump wins and may be reelected.

Two, the House does bring charges, but at the expense of current investigations. In which case, Trump wins and may be reelected.

Three, the House does bring charges, and the Senate acquits him. In which case, Trump wins and may be reelected.

Consider these ideas in detail.

In the first case, there is a good chance that the proceedings will immediately degenerate into a media circus. The overtly partisan mainstream media would be joined by the me-too media, bolstered by the trolls, bots, marginal media (Breitbart, Newsmax) chiming in. This would make it extremely difficult for the House to define the charges. If no charges can be brought, Trump stays in office and may win the 2020 election.

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Impeachment proceedings would no doubt cut into the complicated tasks of unraveling Donald Trump’s decades-long web of suspicious financial transactions.

In the second case, impeachment proceedings would no doubt cut into the complicated tasks of unraveling Donald Trump’s decades-long web of suspicious financial transactions.

In the third case, perhaps the impeachment does manage to survive the Trump bombast, all the partisan press, and the Kardashian-level Main Stream Media ponderings and ditherings. With the current House balance of 235 Democrats, 198 Republicans and two vacant seats, the Dems have the majority, and the House could decide that there are sufficient charges to hold a trial.

The case would now go to the Senate for trial, and could well end there. With Republicans holding 53 seats to the Dems 47, and with so many of the Republican Senators showing more loyalty to their party than to the country, they might turn in a not-guilty verdict.

And there it’s over. And Trump will have won. And if all this happens before the 2020 election, Trump may well win that, also.

Remember that one big difference between our country now and our country during the Nixon and Clinton situations is our national media.

Consider: in 1983, 90% of all media in the United States was owned by 50 companies. Now, that same 90% is owned by 6 companies.

These are GE (Comcast, NBC, Universal, Pictures, Focus Features); News Corp. (Fox, Wall Street Journal, New York Post); Disney (ABC, Pixar, Miramax, ESPN, Marvel Studios); Viacom (MTV, Nick jr, BET, CMT, Paramount Pictures); Time Warner (CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Bros.); and CBS (Showtime, 60 Minutes, Smithsonian, Jeopardy, NFL.Com.).

So what we have here is about 230 network executives controlling the media diet of 270 million Americans.

Another factor in this heady mixture not present in the Nixon or Clinton cases is Sinclair Broadcast Group. This is a communications conglomerate controlled by the family of its founder, Julian Sinclair Smith. It is the largest TV station operator in the US, owning or operating 193 stations across the country in over 100 markets; this is about 40% of American households, many located in the South and Midwest; it is the largest owner of Fox and ABC stations.

And while most of the Main Stream Media are not overtly partisan, they are happily willing to stoke the fires that bring in the advertising dollars. Former CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, candidly explained his network’s decision to play up Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign while downplaying the other Republican candidates by saying, “It may not be good for the country, but it’s damned good for CBS.”

Sinclair Broadcast Group, however, is overtly partisan. They are very pro-Trump, and tightly control the content and format of their news broadcasts.

Another factor not present in the Nixon and Clinton impeachment processes is Donald Trump himself, with his talent for flamboyantly altering the reality around him, and ability to conjure a media circus out of nearly any event.

So perhaps impeachment is not the best way to make Trump and his minions accountable for their actions. Allowing the current investigations to proceed may be the most effective way to show the American people that no one is above the law, and that misdeeds do have consequences.

john macmurray

John MacMurray