Conservatives must impeach Trump

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Conservatives must impeach Trump

Hayden T. Crosby, Staff Columnist

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If conservatism can be summed up in one dogma, it is this: that “society,” in the words of Edmund Burke, “is indeed a contract. It is a partnership … not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” As such, the success and quality of any nominally conservative movement can be measured by the extent to which it leaves the generation that it precedes a better – that is, a freer, more moral and more just – society than it inherited.

To accomplish this goal, conservatives act in accordance with the conviction that in politics, as in biology and just about everything else, positive mutations are exceedingly rare, and that they only ought to persist after repeated testing and successful reproduction. Thus, the chief instrument of conservative progress is prudence, which, in short, is a refusal to sacrifice justice, morality and order in the long term for such short-term titillations as temporary policy victories and electoral triumphs.

To be clear, it is not enough for impeachment that Donald Trump failed to denounce the endorsement of David Duke until after the Louisiana primary. Plenty of presidents have soft-pedaled racism for political advantage; only one – Richard Nixon – was forced from office prematurely. It is not enough that Donald Trump said that an Indiana-born judge could not remain impartial on a case regarding the former’s border wall because the latter is “Mexican.” If racism were grounds for removal, we would have to wipe out over half of our presidential history. It is not even enough that Donald Trump has openly bragged about using his fame to get away with sexual assault. From Thomas Jefferson to John F. Kennedy, presidential bedroom history is full of the questionable, extramarital and immoral. The president’s deficiencies in private character, deleterious as they may be to the conservative image, are not grounds in themselves for impeachment.

Corruption, however, is an impeachable offense. We know that at the very least, the president of the United States implied to a foreign leader that our country’s military aid is partially contingent on that leader’s willingness to investigate the son of the president’s foremost political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Any prudent conservative should see this behavior as unacceptable. It is not worth the short term policy achievements that have accompanied the president’s first term if we also have to normalize corruption and extortion at the highest level of our government.

I am confident that if the House were to hold an anonymous vote, a surprisingly large number of Republicans would vote in favor of impeachment. I would expect a similar result in the Senate. The fact that so many congressional Republicans have to avoid voting in accordance with their consciences for fear of the leader of the party and the country is both a frightening reminder of the consequences of contemporary inaction and a harrowing sign of things to come in our politics if nothing changes soon.

Given these facts, the only prudent path – the only path that gives preference to the long term health of our political economy – is to support an impeachment inquiry. For the sake of the country and the conservative movement, we cannot permit the face of both to be so wanton in his disregard for our laws and customs. It is time for conservatives in Congress to put the president in check.