This is a campaign newsletter. But inherent in any discussion of campaigns is self-government. What happened last week was an assault on the very idea of free and fair elections. If one side can simply say—without evidence and despite losing in every court at both the state and federal level—that they do not accept the outcome, then our Constitution doesn’t mean much.
Our Founding Fathers listed 27 grievances against the mentally unstable tyrant King George in their Declaration of Independence. They wrote that the “history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” Included in their list of complaints—all of which are worth a walk down our collective national memory lane here—is that the king “excited domestic insurrections amongst us.” And they note that the king, “whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
My point in all this is to remind us that our Founding Fathers wrote our Constitution 11 years later with that 1776 document very much in mind. Their aim—as Madison and Hamilton wrote in Federalist 47 and 69 respectively—was to create an executive wholly unlike the king and less likely to result in that “dangerous tendency to such an accumulation.” That is why the impeachment power exists: to provide the legislature a check against a would-be tyrant.
And so I’d like to answer some of your more legal, constitutional questions that touch on these issues.