Impeachment Is a Symptom

Sean Trende recently noted that impeachment has been invoked more frequently in recent decades: in 1974*, 1998, and now in 2019. The only previous impeachment was against Andrew Johnson in 1868. So we went more than 100 years without trying to remove a president, and now we’re trying to do it roughly every 20 years. That certainly indicates an increased level and intensity of conflict between Congress and the executive.

Trende goes on to suggest that this could be beneficial and have the effect of weakening the power of the presidency. I have a lot of respect for Trende, but I disagree, and I think he’s getting the cause and effect backward. The incentive for impeachment has become more urgent precisely because the presidency has been getting stronger—and because nobody really wants to rein it in.

The more important a prize the presidency represents, the more viciously we fight over it.

Read the rest at The Bulwark.

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