The Case for Impeachment

Image of The Case for Impeachment
Release Date: 
April 17, 2017
Dey Street Books
Reviewed by: 

In a recent interview, Professor Allan Lichtman—who has successfully predicted the outcome of presidential elections since 1982—said America’s founding fathers “believed that impeachment was a critically important element of the Constitution—to be a check on a rogue president who they believe could otherwise smash through even the checks and balances built into our system.”  The “rogue” nature of our current president is the fodder for Professor Lichtman’s thesis in The Case for Impeachment. What follows are no less than eight reasons President Trump could face impeachment before the end of his first term.

Readers with even a modicum of political sagacity will quickly note that a Republican-led Congress is unlikely to take down a president from their own party who commands such dogged loyalty despite his odd, confrontational relationship with facts. If Republicans finally control government (in both houses of Congress, The White House and a right-leaning Supreme Court), why upset the applecart? 

Lichtman’s theory is predicated on the notion that Vice President Mike Pence—a more seasoned political hand and true conservative—is preferred among Republican faithful over President Trump whose own ideology is malleable. With little use for conventional wisdom at a time when predictability, tradition, and proper political decorum are passé, the book may convince a reader that impeachment is on the horizon.  

The Case should, and does, provide an early historical framework with many references to Nixon’s bad behavior in office, which proved a stunning exemplar (and perhaps blueprint) for the arrogance and authoritarianism on full view in the Trump Administration. 

But Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, leaving President Clinton’s trial to provide context. While the author draws parallels between the traps laid for Clinton by his detractors and a similar path ahead for President Trump by Democratic and Republican critics, he reminds that impeachment is neither recent nor rare. What follows is a lengthy discussion of Trump’s pre- and post-presidency entanglements that will be all-too-familiar to anyone who has turned on a television or read a newspaper at any time during the last 12 months.

The argument begins to take shape in Chapter 3 entitled “Flouting the Law” where Trump, the self-styled real estate mogul is shown to have discriminated against black applicants for his rental units. Staffers working for the Trump organization went so far as to label tenders from black families with a “C” for colored. His charities and university come into sharper view as well. One run-in with the New York State Attorney General over the improper registration of Trump charities allowed the organization to skip audits—a charge not far removed conceptually from his failure to release his own taxes.

Chapter 6 details much of the misogyny that emerged toward the end of the 2016 Presidential cycle. Professor Lichtman goes so far as to portray Mr. Trump as a lecherous sex addict, hunting incessantly for the “low maintenance wife.” Pages of this chapter, while salacious and largely known before the election, provide a stunning juxtaposition with the revelation that President Trump received 53% of the vote among white women, besting Hillary Clinton in that demographic.

Much has been made of President Trump’s conflicts of interest and relationship with Russia. In fact, recent reporting showed that his daughter Ivanka received trademark approval in China the same day she dined with the Chinese President at the Mar-a-Lago estate. More questions about the dealings of the president himself, his sons, and son-in-law abound in other chapters.

Trump supporter and television commentator Jeffrey Lord’s bizarre comparison of Trump to Martin Luther King Jr. notwithstanding, “Trump is first among his peers in the art of deception” according to Lichtman, and his book is a pretty substantial case for why Donald Trump should not have been president at all.

The more readers consider the potential fallout of Lichtman’s analysis, a thought materializes that warrants some discussion: What will be the cost to members of the House and Senate who consent to impeachment, i.e. Does the inevitable political fallout outweigh gains from venturing down this path, rebooting the American presidency with Mike Pence in the oval office? Perhaps those considerations are not within the purview of the book but the central question remains: Would the short-term unpleasantness and sheer spectacle of this president’s impeachment make us better off as a nation?

The Case for Impeachment is a good backdrop for conversations that will likely remain a part of our national dialogue for some time—or if you are a member of Congress trying to grapple with all that this administration has wrought. For voters still perplexed by how we got here in the first place and who remain fretful about the future, you have been brooding over the issues raised in these pages for quite some time. This book will surely add to your frustration.