And now, a thread about something that the present post-election craziness says about the Trump impeachment trial, which seems like centuries ago, but which actually occurred this year.

Yes, this year. (1/17)
As you’ll remember, Trump was impeached because he used his office to try to undermine the fairness/integrity of the presidential election process, by pushing a foreign government to throw (made-up) mud on Biden. (2/17)
At the time, many people said that the President shouldn’t be impeached & removed for that; that instead, the voters should pass judgment on it in the election that was soon to come. (3/17)
Impeachment and removal, they said, breeds mistrust and damage downstream, because pro-Trump Americans will think their guy was unjustly sacked. Elections, they said, are cleaner and more authoritative and provide better resolution. (4/17)
That was always a terrible argument, for lots of reasons, including first that if a president does something for which he should be removed, he should be removed; and second… (5/17)
…that it’s especially weak to say that the remedy for tampering with an election should be the election itself. If he is trying to tamper with the election, the election might not be a reliable remedy.

So far, this is old news. Here’s the new point: (6/17)
The idea that we could avoid the pain of impeachment/removal and deal with Trump’s misconduct at the ballot box presumed that if he lost the election, he’d be out of office without the pain/crisis of impeachment/removal. And that was always naïve, as we’re now seeing. (7/17)
A president who doesn’t care about the future of his country or his party, and who is willing to commit impeachable offenses to stay in power, is also likely to be willing to break all kinds of rules to stay in office after losing an election. (8/17)
Including by fanning distrust among his supporters and otherwise doing lasting damage to the country and its electoral system. (9/17)
Nobody should have thought “Trump lies/cheats/breaks things to tamper with the election in advance, but he’ll play by the rules once he’s lost.” He was never going to do that. Removing him by election was always going to involve the pain/damage/distrust we’re seeing now. (10/17)
The point here isn’t that Trump will manage to stay in office despite losing the election. I don’t think he will. His days are numbered. (11/17)
The point is that it was never reasonable to think the country could minimize the pain/damage/distrust attending his exit by showing him the door after an election rather than with an impeachment. (12/17)
Because the guy who needs to be impeached for the stuff Trump was impeached for is also the guy who won’t go gracefully after he loses an election. He’ll burn the house down around him. As everyone should have known. (13/17)
If he’d been removed in February, there would have have pain/trauma/distrust to get through. But it wouldn’t have been worse than what we’ve got now. Right now millions of Americans are being told the election was stolen. (14/17)
Impeachment/removal would not have brought 11 weeks of a dangerous/desperate lame-duck President still giving orders. And it’s hard to bring totally baseless claims of voter fraud against an electorate of 100 Senators voting publicly. (15/17)
And if he’d been removed in February, the country would have stood up for the principle that presidents are accountable. (To say nothing of the difference for COVID, among other things.) (16/17)
Not removing him in February at best delayed the pain. Because what’s happening now is at least as damaging as what would have happened then. And everyone should have known it. (17/17)(end)

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More from @Richard_Primus

7 Jun
Two years ago, I wrote an essay about the Trump Administration as a threat to the constitutional republic. This seems like a good time to re-up it. I think it holds up. Including the parts about what would happen if crisis came.

Here’s what I’ll add now, as the election approaches. Nothing is more important to Trump than Trump, and above all that Trump be perceived as a winner. He knows that his place in history as winner or loser depends on this election. Therefore… (2/4)
…he will transgress any norm, violate any rule, or destroy any system if he thinks it’ll improve his chances of re-election. He doesn’t care about any of those other things anyway. And he learned from the impeachment that he can behave with impunity. (3/4)
Read 4 tweets
28 Apr
The decision by @VP Pence to refuse to wear a mask at the Mayo Clinic today is all too apt a symbol of some very deep and troubling problems. A short thread: (1/5)
First: Not wearing a mask sends the message that it’s OK not to wear a mask, even in a place where medical authorities order the wearing of masks. That’s bad. And irresponsible. (2/5)
More deeply, he’s exhibiting the attitude that rules don’t apply to him. *Everyone else* needs to wear a mask, but he doesn’t. Why not? No practical reason; just ‘cuz I hold high office. It’s an attitude of aristocracy and out of place in a democratic republic. (3/5)
Read 5 tweets
5 Dec 19
And now, a thread about smart women and misogyny.

Whether or not you’re a woman on Twitter, you might know that…

…many women who are experts in their fields and who articulate unconventional ideas on Twitter—especially if they use humor/sarcasm or other confident/assertive/non-timid tones—are regularly insulted and otherwise verbally abused by other Twitter users. (2/14)
I’m a middle-aged white man. Sometimes I articulate unconventional ideas, and my tone is often assertive, and sometimes I get attacked in ways that are personal and inappropriate. But only sometimes. Most of the pushback I get is relatively civil, even on Twitter. (3/14)
Read 14 tweets
17 Nov 19
On the heels of AG Barr’s troubling speech to @FedSoc, here’s a thread about why I consider myself a member of the Resistance to Trump and Trumpism and what I mean when I say that I am part of this Resistance. (1/17)
@FedSoc Some people have taken to using “the Resistance” as a term of derision, to belittle or puncture the pretensions of people who are working against Trump and Trumpism. I claim the concept proudly. I’m a Resister. (2/17)
@FedSoc What does it mean to be a Resister? It means different things to different people. This thread, as noted above, is about what I mean by it. (3/17)
Read 17 tweets
24 Oct 19

Yesterday, when I saw news of Rs in Congress “storming” the meeting their (D and R) colleagues were conducting, I didn’t tweet my first thoughts. I wanted to give myself a little time to reflect. It’s the next day now. Know what?

It’s really bad. (1/8)
First, it’s a stunt aimed to distort reality. It’s supposed to make people think that Rs are being kept out of a secret D hearing, when in fact there are more than 40 Rs on the investigating committees (Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Oversight).

But that’s the least of it. (2/8)
The bigger problem is it’s an attempt *by Members of Congress* to use physical disorder to block the work of Congress. That’s terrifying. And completely inappropriate. Constitutional government can’t function that way. (3/8)
Read 8 tweets
4 Oct 19
Nothing is more important to Trump than winning. He doesn’t care about rules or fair play. And the biggest win/lose event a president faces is reelection. So Trump will violate any law, any norm, any constitutional principle, if he thinks it’ll help him win reelection. (1/7)
Nor does he care about whether the Republic after he’s gone is one where elections are fair, free, and trusted. So if he can win but only by damaging the possibility that future elections will be fair/free/trusted, he’ll go for it. (2/7)
In other words: if Trump thought he could win reelection by doing something that would permanently damage the Republic, he’d do it. It wouldn’t even be a hard question for him. (3/7)
Read 7 tweets

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