The following was submitted by Preston Love, Jr., M.P.S., founder and CEO of Black Votes Matter Institute of Community Engagement and also an Adjunct Professor in the Black Studies Department at UNO.
By Preston Love Jr.
With the complexity and ever-present dialogue throughout media, as it relates to the almost Rubik’s Cube status, of our government and country and with the passing of each day, the national, regional, and local dialogue, is focused on the impeachment of the President of the United States. It is both constant and compelling. So, for the benefit of the Omaha Star readers, and more, I write this short article on the elements known and unknown about an impeachment of the President of the United States. This article serves to give the readers a framework not to evaluate the merits, or demerits, of impeachment of this President, but to provide a basis for evaluating the process with knowledge. So, with that said, the following is in fact, Impeachment 101.
Let’s begin with the historical perspective on US Presidential impeachment. There have been three impeachments in our history. Andrew Johnson, not to be confused with Andrew Jackson, in 1868,
There have been two impeachments in United States history, and one resignation which was caused by the threat of impeachment: Andrew Johnson in 1868, (not to be confused with President Andrew Jackson); President Bill Clinton in 1998; and Richard Nixon, threatened with impeachment, in 1973, resigned from the presidency.
Let’s start with fact number 1: The word impeachment can be misinterpreted. Said simply, impeachment is a two-part process. One, to impeach the President, and two, to remove the President.
Fact number 2: the impeachment of the President is conducted in the United states House of Representatives. It requires a simple majority of the members of the House of Representatives, and that number is 218, to impeach. The removal of an impeached President is done in the United States Senate, and it is in effect, a trial to convict the President, and to remove him if convicted. It is required that 2/3 of the United States Senate, that number is 67, must vote to have the President removed as unfit to hold the office.
It should be noted that prior to the House of Representative having a vote for impeachment, that an impeachment inquiry is needed. It has to be accomplished in order to develop the articles of impeachment based on what is found in the inquiry. To say it another way, the sequence is a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry, followed by a House of Representative vote to impeach, followed by the United States Senate trial, to determine whether or not to remove the President.
Let us take a short look at the political numbers as they relate to the House and the Senate. The House of Representatives have 435 members, notwithstanding a few independents and vacancies. The Democrats have a majority of 235 VS 197 for the Republicans. And so a simple majority of the house, is 218 votes needed to impeach. The point to be made here is, with a majority of 235, you only need 218 votes. The chances of a House vote, to impeach, is very, very high. In the United States Senate, the Republicans have the majority of 53 and the Democrats 47. As you can see, it would take 67 votes to remove the President. The Democrats need 20 Republicans to vote with them to remove the President. It is unlikely, at this juncture, that 20 Republicans would vote with the Democrats, to remove the President from office. That is the fact of the matter. It should be noted that a quick reflection to the history of it is that Andrew Johnson was impeached, but not removed, that Clinton was impeached but not removed, that Nixon was going to be impeached, but resigned prior to the vote. Also, it should be noted that if President Trump is impeached and removed, it appears that constitutionally, he can run in 2020, in spite of that. It appears that dilemma has never been reached. It should also be noted that a sitting President has never both impeached and removed.
So, as an average citizen, at this particular junction, and with the knowledge of the reality of impeachment, what should we be doing now? I suggest at least these actions:
You need to be part of one (or more) of those efforts or you will be part of reelecting Donald Trump, (impeached or not). There will be high efforts to confuse and corrupt the voting process in all communities, including ours. Efforts to divide us are underway…I’m watching them every day in our own community.