Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Congressman Robert “Beto” O’Rourke (D-El Paso) have become the faces of the raging war between the rule of law and the rule of man in this election for United States Senate.
During the CNN town hall meeting in McAllen on October 18, University of Texas Rio Grand Valley student Juan Ramirez asked O’Rourke, “What would you say to Republicans and Independents who are watching tonight and are contemplating voting for you but are worried that, should you win, your main objective as senator would be to try to impeach President Trump?”
Great question, Mr. Ramirez. Unfortunately, O’Rourke evaded it; yet CNN moderator Dana Bash had the good sense to hold O’Rourke accountable to the question.
“Congressman, his question was about impeachment,” she said. “You said in July that you would, as a member of the House right now, vote to impeach. Have you changed your mind?”
“I haven’t,” O’Rourke replied. He then proceeded to wax eloquent about allegations.
Bash then astutely followed up.
“According to the Constitution, that means the President has committed the crime of treason, bribery, or a high crime and misdemeanor,” she said. “Which one of those do you believe the President has committed?”
Again O’Rourke meandered, referencing unsubstantiated allegations that President Trump obstructed justice and colluded with the Russians during his presidential campaign; this is before the Mueller investigation report has even been released. O’Rourke asserted there is “enough there” to draft articles of impeachment.
If there are Constitutional grounds for impeachment, why is O’Rourke not willing to validate those serious allegations with solid evidence?
O’Rourke’s stance on Trump’s impeachment ultimately revealed a deeper, more concerning worldview. During the congressman’s discourse, he referred to the United States as a “democracy” no less than three times.
O’Rourke must have missed an important civics lesson in junior high and high school: The United States is not a democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic.
Our founding fathers warned us about the dangers of “democracy,” which in its purest form is simply majority rule, or “might makes right.” James Madison said, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”
If the United States is truly a democracy, then we are a society in which the rule of man (“might makes right”) reigns supreme. This “might” is manifested in the whims of the majority, whoever the majority happens to be, and who has the largest sword.
In reality, the United States is a Constitutional Republic—a civil structure based on the rule of law, which no person is above. By design, the people elect representatives to create laws through an arduous process that both enables the minority to have a voice and checks the transient agendas of the majority.
The constitutional separation of powers then charges the executive branch (President) with executing those laws, and the judiciary with interpreting them against the Constitution when the laws are challenged.
Though imperfect, our Constitutional Republic has outlasted all other civil structures by fulfilling its design to enable the transfer or retention of power through a ballot, rather than a bullet.
Recklessly calling for impeachment without specific constitutional grounds is a repudiation of that civil transfer. It sets the trajectory for anarchy and tyranny. Lest any reader think this is hyperbole, study the fate of several of our South American neighbors.
If, as O’Rourke asserts, the President has committed high misdemeanors, felonies, or acts of treason, and the United States is truly a democracy, then impeachment is pointless. The POTUS has the largest sword, and would be within his right (because of his might) to unleash those resources to retain his power.
O’Rourke cannot have both the rule of law and the rule of man. Either we are a nation respecting the rule of law and due process, including the Electoral College and bona fide articles of impeachment, or we are a nation devolving into the rule of man, a democracy eager to usurp civil procedures and absolutes with the trash heap of mob rule. His rhetoric is charting a course for the latter.
Perhaps there is still time for this generation to return to the roots of reason and the law, and to reject being whipsawed by emotionally charged rhetoric masquerading as truth. The results of this election and the reactions to the outcome will show whether that time has expired.
This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to the Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to email@example.com.