This note begins a response to the question ‘What to do?’ At the moment these paragraphs are place-holders. Still, they remind us that there are multiple measures from which an informed citizenry can draw, suited to successive stages as the emergency develops.
There are distinct, dissimilar reasons why any one of us might judge our circumstances to pose an Emergency. I appreciate that for some it is Trump’s failure to sever his private business from his position as President, posing unanswerable problems of motive and trust. There is powerful argument that this Polity must come together, the people unite, in defense of the Polity itself, and some honorably cling to hope that Trump will commit to that unity. To be clear, and to avoid misunderstanding, I consider it a side issue whether Trump’s occupying the Presidency is ‘legitimate’ or ‘illegitimate.’ What most threatens the Polity, in my judgment, is that Trump is unfit, unpredictable, subject to bizarre performances, hence the dangerous occupant of a most powerful and consequential office.
Most of the paths below are familiar. However, let me explain CONGRESSIONAL DENIAL. Trump’s authority depends in no small part on the presumption that Republican majorities in the House and Senate will supply him with a compliant Congress. Perhaps they will. It is also possible that strife will reign over relations between Trump and the Republicans.
Occasionally commentators note that control of the flow of business in the House and the Senate depends upon the House and Senate leadership being able to call on their membership with a confirmed expectation that their majority will rule. CONGRESSIONAL DENIAL would depend on upsetting that expectation in the Senate.
I have chosen to name those legislators who elect to go along with Trump, smooth his road, sit silent, as ‘collaborationists.’ Some may find that uncomfortable, excessive, recalling Europe’s complicated responses to the 1930s. But that is exactly why I choose the term. Traditional China had an expression: ‘the rectification of names.’ If you find the label ‘collaborator’ uncomfortable I suggest you speak up for the Polity and practices that call out for your voice, and by your actions, in the bright light of day, reject collaboration.
Section 1. reads: “In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.”
Why bother with all the numbers? A House majority and a 2/3 majority in the Senate would be sufficient to impeach and convict. If the votes were there Trump would be gone. Done. But consider:
• if Trump were impeached but not convicted, the issues he poses would be unresolved;
• if Trump were convicted Pence would become President, an outcome that fails to protect Democratic Party legislative and policy aims;
• among House Republicans some may insist on enacting laws (e.g. re Affordable Care, immigration, abortion) and making a Scalia-replacement on the Court before casting a vote for impeachment;
• strange as it sounds, it could be that Trump’s only way to avoid being evicted from the White House is to enter into a broad deal with a ‘bipartisan unity caucus’ protecting prime Democratic objectives, as the Democrats hold the Senate votes necessary to get a 2/3 vote for conviction;
In a nutshell, Republicans risk being punished in November 2018 for their opportunism and political incompetence in enabling Trump to become President. They ‘own’ Trump’ the Bizarre. The Democrats, still aflame at the brazen theft of a Supreme Court seat in 2016, have little with which to bargain, apart from their near-majority in the Senate, hope for 2018, and Trump himself.
The Constitution, Article I Section 3 establishes the procedure for trial:
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Section 4.Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
There are many who believe that Donald Trump was already disabled when he took the Oath of Office. Though characterizations of his circumstances were various, many onlookers believed they discerned a severely handicapped narcissist who appeared unable to distinguish the trivial from the important, affairs of state from affairs of ego, fact from fiction, and who lacked the common regard for others which is a prerequisite for governance.
Would Vice-President Pence initiate a claim of disability? That is hard to imagine, given Pence’s role in enabling the Trump campaign at a crucial juncture. It is also hard to see that the required concurrent group of officers could be found. That is: at this writing [23 January 2017] Trump is filling his Cabinet with sycophants and the “other body” referenced in Amendment XXV must be defined “as Congress may by law provide,” that is, a law passed by House and Senate and either signed into law by Donald Trump or created as law by an override of his veto. Far-fetched.
Thus it appears that
4 SUFFICIENT SENATORS BALK
Picture a bipartisan group of a few Senators profoundly—and patriotically—alarmed at the political disaster unfolding around a recalcitrant Trump. A few Republican Senators, joined by a few Democratic Senators, would propose to caucus with the Democrats on organizational questions. They together with all Senate non-Collaborationists would come into a majority in the Senate. They create the Emergency Committee. Having a majority, they organize the Senate. Mitch McConnell could peaceably retire, the structure of Senate committees would be in the hands of the Emergency Committee, and the calendar of the Senate would also be freed from the Collaborationists. Again, only a few Republican Senators, more if some Democratic Senators rejected the initiative, would be required.
Is it crazy to imagine Senators reconstructing the Senate in order to tie Trump’s hands? A similar move has happened in living memory. Recall 24 May 2001. Senator James Jeffords of Vermont, a Republican, found himself uncomfortable with policies of the Republican caucus. He declared himself an Independent, joined the Democratic caucus, and the Democratic Minority Leader of yesterday became the Majority Leader of the Senate today. Overnight. The Senate had been so evenly divided that the move by one Senator was sufficient to replace Republican control by Democratic control.
It could withhold consent from any legislation sought by the White House to enhance, or refine, Executive authority.
6 ELECTORAL DEFEAT 
7 ELECTORAL DEFEAT 
8 POPULAR VOTE DECIDES 
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact proposes that States agree that the Electoral Votes of that state shall be cast for whichever candidate for President receives the largest popular vote.The possibility of Compacts among States was provided in the original Constitution, and several such compacts exist today. Article I Section 10 provides:
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
which means in part that two or more States
[Bruce’s DESIGN: 2017.01.29. Post BB09. Short Link p=682. Front Door Index: http://design.learnworld.com/. Permalink: