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How and why Impeachment may be used as a weapon
Gage Skidmore
Donald Trump is responsible for the massive uptick in impeachments, having two to his name.

Impeachment is becoming an increasingly familiar term in modern American politics. The word carries a lot of weight, and this is mostly because of how impactful and rare it is. Out of 46 presidents, only three have been impeached. These three are Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump. However, unlike many Americans are led to believe, impeachment doesn’t necessarily mean that a president is kicked out of office; this is the end goal. Someone can still be impeached without that consequence. There are three unique steps for undergoing the process. 


  1. The House of Representatives drafts articles of impeachment (the reasons why that person should be removed).


      2. The House votes to adopt the articles of impeachment and that individual is officially impeached.


      3. The Senate holds a trial to impeach the person. If found guilty, that person is removed from office. If not, nothing happens and they continue to serve in their position.


Even if someone isn’t removed from office, being impeached holds a lot of weight against that person’s name. It also can’t be for shallow reasons. In order for the articles of impeachment to be adopted, there has to be a law that was broken by that individual. For example, Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied under oath and obstructed justice. Impeachment can also be instituted when congress loses faith in a president and doesn’t believe they have America’s best interest at heart. Andrew Johnson was impeached mostly because he was denying laws made by congress to protect recently freed slaves.


Both of these men are remembered with an asterisk mark behind their name for what was brought against them. The most recent of the three who were impeached was Donald Trump. His case is a very special one because he was impeached twice. What is the cause for this mysterious phenomenon? 


The main reason for Trump’s double-impeachment was his alleged abuse of power to secure political advantage. The first time was because of the accusation that he allowed Ukraine to interfere with the U.S. election. For the second, it was his involvement in the January sixth riot. These charges tarnished Trump’s appeal to many Americans. The first impeachment most likely played a part in why he lost the 2020 election against Joe Biden. It’s also affecting him now in his 2024 presidential campaign. 


No matter the reasons, there has been a 100% increase in impeachments within the last 4 years.

there has been a 100% increase in impeachments within the last 4 years.

— Asher Maney

Surprisingly, this mind blowing situation doesn’t have an end in sight.


In late September 2023, articles of impeachment were opened against current president Joe Biden. The House began a set of inquiries into his past dealings to investigate the possibilities of bribery and conspiracy. These are serious charges. Attorney Jonathan Turley writes, “In my view, there is ample justification for an impeachment inquiry.” 


If these articles develop into a substantial portfolio of reasons that Biden should be indicted, and if they are passed by the House, then the U.S. is looking at its 5th impeachment. Either American presidents are becoming a whole lot more crooked or the nation is becoming much more divided. Of course, it could also be nothing but a coincidence that presidential politics have become so tempestuous.


Politics have always been a little shady in some areas, and some non-impeached presidents are not excluded from partaking in dishonest activities. Richard Nixon famously played a part in the Watergate scandal, in which he did not have any case brought to the Senate for his impeachment (although he did resign). Simply saying that politics are more under-handed nowadays does not provide a thoroughgoing explanation for what’s happening now. 


It also isn’t likely that these indictments are pure coincidence. There haven’t been any impeachments back-to-back in all 247 years of the U.S. being a nation. This is something new. 


The most probable cause for this instance is the current state of the U.S. itself. The two leading political parties, Republicans and Democrats, are more polarized today than just about all of before. 38 percent of Democrats in 2014 considered themselves to be liberals, compared to the 8 percent in 1994. Similarly, 33 percent of Republicans identified as conservative in 2014, which is up from the 23 percent in 1994. This difference is enormous and shows a steep departure from previously shared ideals between both parties.


This trend has continued since 2014 and has led to some major quarrels that can also be interpreted as symptoms of mass division. One of these symptoms is the increase in impeachments. One can only imagine how the country will be in twenty years from now. 


America is already seeing the beginnings of a possible back and forth impeachment battle.

America is already seeing the beginnings of a possible back and forth impeachment battle.

— Asher Maney

It seems that nowadays if one party doesn’t really like the president, they can just impeach him. Although that president will probably never be removed from office, the action still succeeds in putting a permanent stain on their record. 


This kind of behavior can be likened to a fight between two emotionally immature children: “You hurt me so I’ll hurt you.” The very word ‘impeachment’ might carry a lesser meaning after a few cycles of this conduct. What was once a nasty stain is now a bit more faded. This can go on for a while, but eventually people will grow tired and call for a solution. 


A solution to such a massive problem may require a complete restructuring of the impeachment system, and this will be controversial. Whichever way you spin it, conflict is on the rise in American politics. 


All of these possibilities are just speculation for now.What America is currently left dealing with is two increasingly irate legislative parties. Just by glancing at social media headlines, it isn’t hard to tell that there is some serious animosity. This is pretty much the usual as far as politics go nowadays, but if this is left unchecked in the years to come, these speculations will become more than theory.

About the Contributor
Asher Maney, Reporter