If you’ve been paying attention to coverage of the impeachment process, you’ve heard things like this from the Republicans:
“This is a coup.”
“Democrats are trying to overthrow the duly-elected President.”
“We have to defend the Constitution from this attack.”
“Democrats are trying to undo the election, and the will of the American People.”
Either they are ignorant of basic civics, or they believe you are.
It’s a A Coup!: A coup is a sudden, violent, illegal seizure of power from a government. It is an egregious lie, especially for Congressmen, to call this a “coup.” Impeachment is a process prescribed by the Constitution. It’s every bit as constitutional as the Electoral College, which put Trump in office despite his losing the popular vote. Impeaching and/or removing a President from office is a major step, and one that ought to be taken with caution and solemnity. But there is nothing coup-like about it.
He was Duly Elected!: If I hear “duly-elected” one more time… Yes. He was duly elected. Of course he was. All Presidents are duly-elected. Otherwise they wouldn’t be President. The Founding Fathers still believed we needed a mechanism to remove one from office if necessary. This is the dumbest and most pointless argument out there. Ignore it.
The Constitution is Under Attack!: Yeah, we noticed. There are a whole bunch of Congressmen calling its instructions a coup, and saying you can’t impeach a President only a year before an election, even though the Constitution says no such thing.
Democrats are trying to undo the election!: Nope. Even if Trump is convicted by the Senate and removed from office, Hillary won’t become President. Mike Pence will. Everyone who voted for Trump voted for him, too. You might even say that he was duly elected.
We can debate what the founders meant by “high crimes and misdemeanors.” We can argue over whether or not Trump’s actions rise to that standard. But let’s not be fooled by transparently false claims about the impeachment process.
And it may be worthwhile to ask ourselves, if Congressional Republicans are willing to lie so blatantly about the process of impeachment, how can we believe a single thing they say about its substance?