Apparently, Two wrongs do make a right in some cases. Two thirds wouldn’t agree.
By Nigel Tate: Political Columnist
Not many Presidents over America’s political history have faced impeachment.
Nevertheless, this is one exclusive club Trump is a part of, as well as breaking another historic record of being the first President to undergo impeachment twice.
On the 6th of January, in protest of the 2020 Presidential election, a group of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. Trump was blamed for “incitement of insurrection” against Congress, forcing Congress members to take refuge during the attack. Trump echoed the words “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” followed by “we are going to the Capitol”. These words featured at his press conference just moments before the invasion of the Capitol took place, causing the House of Representatives to initiate another impeachment process against Trump.
Nonetheless, Trump had faced a previous impeachment trial, where he was accused of political corruption on December 2019. A leaked transcript with Ukraine’s President Zelensky, illustrates Trump’s efforts to expose Biden for his own political agenda. It is not surprising that Trump’s former role as President is far from conventional, but is his ability to avoid serious repercussions underline a potential fault in the American political system?
Constitutions are designed to act as checks and balances on the government from abusing too much power, but are they truly that effective or just there for show?
Evidently, Trump being acquitted twice brings to light that the US political systems’ very own ‘watchdog’ may be considered weak at fulfilling its duty. There are some significant examples of how Trump undermined America’s democratic features. For an instance, attempting to control the outcome of the election (via telling voting centres to “stop the count”), appointing judge Amy Coney Barrett who may back his own political goals, and allegedly using external interference in the 2016 Presidential election. Thereby, Trump’s term in office may have caused us to question the functionality of America’s democracy, by failing to prosecute those who compromise its ability to operate successfully.
MACKAYAN: ACQUITTED. NOT ONCE, BUT TWICEUITweet
The US Constitution is said to be the backbone of American politics.
The US Constitution is said to be the backbone of American politics. Trump’s breach of the US Constitution’s second article, in the recent Capitol riots, damages both America’s core values and the foundations of their political institution.
Yet with all this backlash, how has Trump not being held liable?
Trump’s popularity may be a prominent reason for why he has being able to avoid accountability for his actions. Whether you are a Trump fan or not, receiving an impressive 71million votes in the recent election result (more than any other sitting President), emphasises that Trump had made a mark within American history.
Despite this, his popularity may have been hindered after the Capitol incident. Trump had not only lost support from his own party members, but also a significant proportion of his core followers for not pardoning those who stormed the Capitol. Regardless, as Trump was acquitted, he is still able to run again for office, but only time will tell if he is able to gain the same amount of traction as he did in previous campaigns.
Trump was eventually voted out of office as many expected could be due to his lack of accountability and questionable leadership. Biden, on the other hand, represents the antithesis of Trump, in the sense he had faith in the democratic framework, whilst Trump aimed to destroy it.
Overall, accountability and limitations on power are important factors of any political structure, and without it, as Sir John Dalberg-Acton would put it, “power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely”.