US Capitol

Is America on a Slippery Slope Toward Becoming a Banana Republic?

Originally published at Amarillo Globe-News

Who would have ever thought the United States could lose its way and find itself on a slippery slope to becoming a banana republic in which political power is typically determined by coups rather than elections? But it appears many in the Democratic Party are willing to go down this road and risk the nation’s continuity and stability in a desperate effort to regain power and control.

Since there is simply no greater crime against the United States, its Constitution and its people than subverting the government that is duly elected by the people, Americans need to clearly remind Washington that the legitimacy of our government comes exclusively from the people.

Think about it… why should Democrats in Congress be ignoring their legislative responsibilities and wasting their time and the nation’s scarce resources with impeachment proceedings less than a year away from the next presidential election? And why would Democrats think impeachment a wise course to follow, particularly after putting the country through nearly two years of the Mueller investigation?

What many are now realizing is that Democratic Party leadership has lost its bearings by surrendering control to the extreme left—an amalgam of pro-Islamic and Marxist views as represented by the so-called “squad.” The impeachment effort is not just an attack against Donald Trump; it’s also meant to dishearten and disenfranchise nearly half the country who voted for him.

The American Republic established by the Constitution provided for a more stable system of government based on honoring the results of scheduled elections than the parliamentary form of democracy, where politics and a no-confidence vote could bring a government down and require a new one to be formed on an unscheduled basis. Relative political stability and continuity of the American Republic has been the chief contributing factor to the nation’s civility, as well as its meteoric economic rise over the past 240 years.

Alexander Hamilton, in The Federalist No. 65, warns that impeachment hearings are highly divisive and bring a quandary to Congress of whether it helps the nation to remove the people’s choice in a president. Thus, the cause for impeachment must be a clearly recognizable high crime that mobilizes action across party lines starting in the House of Representatives, with the trial and outcome determined by a supermajority of 66 in the Senate.

Initial testimony from Chairman Adam Schiff’s lead witnesses suggest that the charges against President Trump’s actions and involvement with Ukraine matters are more based on hearsay and political differences than any high crime. Moreover, referral of a Trump impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate will simply be dead on arrival. So why proceed?

Impeachment hearings are a show driven by desperation—a “hail Mary” pass to smear Trump and generate smoke such that people won’t be able to see and understand what’s going on. And by creating continuous smoke around Donald Trump, they hope that the average voter will conclude that there must be fire that needs to be doused by voting him out of office in November 2020.

The Democrats’ trivialization of impeachment runs totally contrary to what the framers of the Constitution intended. They specifically required a Senate supermajority because it made impeachment rare and strengthened the central role of elections in which the government’s sole legitimacy came from the people. It was elections that were to be the sole mechanism for the peaceful transition of power, and not coups and impeachments from party passion and partisanship.

What will happen to the United States if there is no corrective to the hyper-partisan coup-impeachment path that has been unfolding from day 1 after President Trump’s election in November 2016? The fact is that we have seen an unprecedented abuse of power by Democrats even while they have been in the minority, such as what was exhibited in the Senate’s Supreme Court justice confirmation hearings of candidate Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The Democratic Party has become more intolerant as it has become more radical, even embracing and encouraging mob action against political opponents. Much of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights has become irrelevant. In many instances, due process and the presumption of innocence has been turned on its head. Gone is free speech on most university campuses. And the bulk of the legacy press in America has become an arm of the Democratic Party and ceased reporting news. Social media, where the majority of Americans under 50 now get their news, has also followed suit—censoring individuals and views that challenge the politically correct narrative.

Much of this has happened when the Democrats have been the minority party. Why would Americans want to give more power to a party that embraces this kind of abuse, including the ways of banana republics?

Scott S. Powell

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Scott Powell has enjoyed a career split between theory and practice with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and rainmaker in several industries. He joins the Discovery Institute after having been a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution for six years and serving as a managing partner at a consulting firm, RemingtonRand. His research and writing has resulted in over 250 published articles on economics, business and regulation. Scott Powell graduated from the University of Chicago with honors (B.A. and M.A.) and received his Ph.D. in political and economic theory from Boston University in 1987, writing his dissertation on the determinants of entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.