Commentary

If You Hear Only 34 Votes Are Needed To Convict Trump, Here's What You Need To Know

While the House of Representatives may very well vote to impeach President Donald Trump, he will almost certainly not be convicted and removed from office.

Why? Because the Senate needs to find him guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Seeing how a) Trump has never committed such wrongdoings and b) Republicans hold the majority in the Senate, it’s highly unlikely this scenario will ever come to fruition.

Be that as it may, liberals and NeverTrumpers haven’t stopped fantasizing about getting Trump out of the Oval Office.

One of the pipe dreams currently being pushed by some on the left is that if enough Republicans in the Senate refuse to show up to the proceedings, the votes of the 47 Democrats and Democratic-caucusing independents serving in the chamber would be enough to convict the president.

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Here’s how, in theory, the plan would work.

Everyone who remembers their high school civics class will recall that two-thirds of the Senate voting for conviction is needed to remove a sitting president. What they may forget is that the Constitution says two-thirds “of the members present” are needed to convict.

Do you think 30 Republicans would betray their constituents like this?

The Washingtonian’s Benjamin Wofford has correctly explained that the inclusion of the word “present” means the two-thirds threshold is essentially placed on a “sliding scale.”

“In theory, a vote to convict the President … would count as legal with as few as 34 members, not 67, assuming the absolute minimum (51) participated,” he wrote in an October story.

Wofford admitted this is essentially a constitutional “loophole,” but nonetheless mused about the possibility of 30 Republican senators simply not showing up to the vote.

Wofford chose that number because former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake had previously claimed more than 30 Republicans would vote to convict Trump if they could vote on a secret ballot.

“Suppose those 30 senators were seeking a way, as Flake suggested, to remove Trump while avoiding the rage of his base,” Wofford wrote.

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“They might boycott the proceedings — or, when the big day of the vote arrived, mysteriously not show up. With 70 members now present, the number of senators required to convict Trump is no longer 67. It’s 47: exactly the number of seats Democrats and independents currently hold in the Senate.”

Of course, if this fairy-tale scenario actually played out over the coming months, it would represent a spectacular betrayal of our democratic principles on the part of those Republican senators.

It’s not just the fact that polling indicates the American people don’t favor Trump being impeached.

To go to these sorts of lengths to remove a president who won an overwhelming Electoral College victory would likely lead to massive civil unrest, not to mention set a very dangerous precedent going forward.

Of course, the difference between the impending impeachment of former President Richard Nixon — who won in the electoral college by a landslide in 1972 — and Trump’s today is that Nixon’s was set to be quite bipartisan, something the Trump version completely lacks.

Again, this isn’t going to happen.

If anything, it’s a last-ditch effort by individuals who want to try yet again to invalidate the 2016 presidential election.

Clearly, many on the left are still struggling with the worst effects of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Pray for them that they come to their senses.

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Stephen Kokx is a journalist for LifeSiteNews.com, one of North America’s most-read pro-life, pro-family websites. A former community college instructor, he has previously worked for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.
Stephen Kokx is a journalist for LifeSiteNews.com, one of North America’s most-read pro-life, pro-family websites. A former community college instructor, he has previously worked for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.




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