Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the only two viable presidential candidates. Both are disastrous. Third-party candidates are a joke, electorally. Supporting them accomplishes nothing beyond weakening the candidate one would otherwise have supported from the two major parties.
The Utah scheme, if successful, would only pull support from Trump, leaving Clinton likely to win an even more impressive margin of victory in the Electoral College. Even on simple policy grounds, most conservatives would be unhappy with the two leading third-party candidates. Conservatives are left with no good options.
Or are we? There is a way out of this mess. It is a desperate plan, but desperate times, desperate measures: Elect-and-Impeach. Elect the ticket. Impeach Trump.
The Republican Party does have an attractive candidate on its ticket. Socially conservative. Economically conservative. Conservative on national defense. Morally and religiously impeccable. The trouble is, that man is the Republican candidate for vice president, Mike Pence.
But if Trump were impeached immediately after he took office, the Republican candidate for vice president would become president in his place. Further, if Republicans take the lead in removing Trump from office, the party might regain some of its lost credibility in parts of the electorate that it is anxious to attract.
Yes, We Can
There is nothing impossible about this strategy. That Republican leaders are strongly at odds with their party’s candidate is no secret. If enough of them are willing to cross the aisle and join forces with their Democratic colleagues, impeachment is a perfectly plausible outcome.
Of course, impeachment requires a charge. The president must be guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But the phrase is understood to be quite broad in its application, and ultimately Congress is in practice the final judge of its meaning. If Trump is half as corrupt as we have been told, surely some charge could be made to stick—especially if the recent allegations of sexual assault prove to be more than empty propaganda.
An additional benefit is that impeachment allows not only for removal from office, but for disqualification from future office-holding. There need be no repeat of the 2016 debacle.
Elect-and-Impeach offers conservatives precisely what they want: A solid conservative president far better than either of the two major-party candidates. He’s far better, for that matter, than either of the two leading third-party candidates who have attracted attention as magnets for protest votes. But it requires two things.
What It Would Take from Us
First, it requires backbone from Republican leadership. Republican congressmen and senators must pledge to take on the unsavory job of impeaching their own candidate the moment he becomes president. As this is by far the least-bad option that Republican leaders have, they should be willing to step up to the plate.
Second, it requires Republican voters who have abandoned the GOP in protest of Trump’s candidacy to return. The Never Trump movement has claimed thousands of Republican stalwarts, potentially enough to determine the election. Those voters will have to return, if Elect-and-Impeach is to work. Put a mark by Trump’s name on the ballot, knowing it is not really him you are voting for. Vote the party ticket. Then lobby your senator and congressman to do their part, and remove Trump from the head of it.
There is a potential for dawn after the dark night of the 2016 electoral season. There is a very real possible future in which Pence is the president of the United States, in which the country is in safe, responsible, conservative hands. It would also be one in which the Supreme Court is saved from the lawless ruffians who want to rewrite the Constitution as they see fit.
But for that future to be realized, Republicans have to work together, and they have to do so quickly. Inertia is our greatest obstacle. This has never been done before. That makes it seem like it cannot be done. But America cannot afford our complacency. This is our last chance to prevent impending electoral catastrophe.
So this is a plea to conservative leaders and conservative voters: Do your part. Make the pledge. Cast the vote. Help make Elect-and-Impeach a reality.