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Other Voices: Dems cheapen impeachment and usurp the Constitution

Merry Impeachmas!

Democrats have long wanted to impeach President Donald Trump. And now they've gotten their wish.

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So how does it feel?

A little anti-climactic, right? I know.

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Oh, there was plenty of celebrating. The same people who marched against Trump's inauguration took their victory lap on Wednesday night, when the House voted to impeach the president.

And we saw video of a practically giddy Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on her way to the House floor to cast her pro-impeachment vote.

So much for the gravity of impeachment. But let's cut Tlaib some slack. She's pleased. They impeached the motherf--er. Just like they vowed to do.

But has anything really changed?

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The Democrats have treated Trump like a usurper literally from the minute that he was elected. The media has duly amplified that message, casting aspersions on Trump's legitimacy (they did the same thing to George W. Bush).

They despised Trump then, they despise him now. And the polls show that the House process hasn't won any converts to the pro-impeachment side. So we're right back where we've always been.

They said Trump colluded with the Kremlin in order to win the 2016 election. They launched a huge investigation, headed up by Robert Mueller. Nothing indictable or impeachable came out of any of it.

So a phone call to the Ukraine president has been pumped full of so much hot air that it rivals a Macy's parade float. The Dems showed no high crime or misdemeanor, as the Constitution demands, but they got what they wanted: Trump is now the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

It's a scary thought that a duly elected president can be impeached on such flimsy grounds. The Dems have made impeachment into political theatre when it was meant to be the gravest sanction that Congress could impose on the president. They've cheapened it into meaninglessness in the interest of short-term political gain.

What we witnessed on Wednesday was more like the votes of no-confidence seen in countries with parliamentary systems. And it will likely be just as bogus when the GOP carries out its revenge impeachment the next time they're in a position to do so.

And think of what could happen the next time there's a president of one party, but both houses of Congress are controlled by the other party. The power to impeach, convict and remove will rest solely with the president's political opponents. It'll be a wonder if any president serves a full term. The separation of powers will be no more. That's the world that the Dems are marching us to.

The other two presidents to be impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, both beat the rap in the Senate. As Trump is likely to do. Clinton left office with sky-high approval ratings, and remained the most popular Democrat in the country until Barack Obama.

Impeachment didn't hurt Clinton any. And impeachment is only going to embolden Trump voters. The Dems might help Trump become the first impeached president to be re-elected. Talk about making history!

But here's the true farce: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is so sure that impeachment is a slam dunk that she's hesitant to send the case to the GOP-controlled Senate for trial.

Unfortunately for Pelosi, that's the next step in the process. The House indicts, the Senate holds the trial. And just as the Dems controlled the impeachment process in the House, Republicans get to make the rules in their chamber.

The Dems want more witnesses for the Senate trial. They want to throw privileged Mueller grand jury testimony in there. And maybe Trump's taxes too.

Because they know their case is weak. And they know that the American people aren't sold on the necessity to remove Trump from office now.

That’s what elections are for.

Tom Wrobleski is a columnist for the Staten Island Advance.

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