Over the past three years and especially during the Trump impeachment trial we have been asked about fairness. The Democrats have said to be fair to the President, the Senate, and the American people they needed to have additional witnesses and evidence during the Senate’s deliberation. That sounds like a fair request but, is it entirely truthful?
If you spent any time watching the impeachment trial in the House you can understand the reluctance of the Senate to entertain the Democrat’s request for new evidence and witness testimony. So much so, the Republican-controlled Senate voted against the motion on a near party-line vote of 51-49 with two Republicans siding with the Democrats. Had that motion passed the fact-finding mission which was promoted as being overwhelmingly conclusive and would prove the President’s guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt would have extended into the Senate. Is that fair?
The concept of having new witnesses and evidence introduced in the Senate is nothing new. After all, witnesses and evidence can both prove a person’s guilt or find them innocent. It all depends on which witnesses are called and what the evidence shows. Also, leaks happen! I can think of no other president in modern-day history who has been subjected to the constant barrage of unlawful leaks that violate the office holder’s executive privilege than Trump. What are supposed to be private calls between heads of state are leaked to the media via second and third-hand knowledge. Case in point, the conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s president. That call and the subsequent voluntary release of its transcripts was the genesis that led to Trump’s impeachment. Is that fair?
Trump was impeached for the impression of withholding military aid to gain intelligence on a political rival, Joe Biden. He denies these allegations whole-heartedly. The released transcript does not specifically show him being found guilty of it. The only actual witness who had a conversation with Trump about the cause of the delay testified Trump did not request a quid pro quo for “dirt against Biden” but felt he inferred as much. The other witnesses who testified never spoke with Trump directly and based their testimony on their gut feelings and second-hand information. They all felt Trump withheld foreign aid for personal political motives, but had no facts to support their beliefs: merely hearsay and conjecture. Is that fair?
The Senate did review witness testimony given in the House. The Democratic-controlled House was very selective of the witnesses they permitted to testify and refused to allow witnesses that the Republicans requested. Witness testimony was taken during open and closed-door meetings. Democrats prevented any House member not assigned to the presiding committee from attending the closed-door meetings, which is a clear violation of the House rules book. Over 28,000 pages of evidence were submitted to the Senate for review. While Democrats can accurately claim that new evidence and witnesses were not allowed in the Senate they falsely assert that the Senate permitted no witnesses, testimony, or evidence. By promoting that narrative they give the impression that the Republican-controlled Senate has conducted a biased, rigged trial in favor of their party leader. Seeing as how all impeachments are inherently political one can sense a great deal of irony in their claim. Is that fair?
When four Constitutional scholars were asked to testify about whether or not Trump was guilty of the charges brought against him, all four were registered Democrats. Three of the four were selected by the Democratic majority, which left only one to be picked by the minority. The Republican selected scholar was given minimal airtime and had his responses shortened to yes or no answers when being questioned by Democrats. The three pro-impeachment scholars were allowed and even encouraged to expand upon their opinions and feelings which dominated the majority of the time allowed for all four. When asked why the ratio of scholars was three to one pro-impeachment instead of split evenly, Democrats claimed it was because they held the majority. Is that fair?
I can continue by listing the events of this impeachment trial and show how majority rule has shaped how it began and fast-forward to where we are today. The key take away and overall theory up for debate is the word fairness. What is fair?
If you just take a look at the word fairness, when used as a noun, it is defined as having impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination. If we are being honest with each other the only fair actor in this process is the Chief Justice who is presiding over the Senate trial. He has no vested interest in proving Trump’s innocence or guilt.
Is all fair in love and war? The House impeached the President by a simple majority. Those are the rules. Was it fair to have 60 members of the majority vote in favor of impeachment before the findings of the Mueller Report being released to the public? This is the same report that showed no evidence of the administration’s collusion with Russia. Knowing that to be so, is it fair for House manager’s to falsely assert those claims against the President during the entire impeachment trial? If a nearly two-year investigation could not prove the President’s guilt how can Democrats willfully disregard the Special Counsel’s findings and continue with the phrase that Trump rigged the 2016 elections and was looking to do the same in 2020? Is that fair?
Speaking of rigging elections let’s look at the current front-runner in several polls, Bernie Sanders, and a recent late entry, Billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Bernie was not the DNC’s favorite candidate in 2016 and he’s finding himself in the same position this go around. President Obama and Hillary Clinton have been on record in no uncertain terms saying they do not believe Bernie should be the face of the party and will do everything they can to prevent him from winning. History will repeat itself for the Independent Socialist Senator from Vermont if he’s not careful.
Next, you have Michael Bloomberg. According to a recent report on Politco.com, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is drastically revising its criteria to participate in primary debates after New Hampshire, doubling the polling threshold and eliminating the individual donor requirement, which could pave the way for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to make the stage beginning in mid-February.
Candidates will need to earn at least 10 percent in four polls released from Jan. 15 to Feb. 18, or 12 percent in two polls conducted in Nevada or South Carolina, to participate in the Feb. 19 debate in Las Vegas. Any candidate who earns at least one delegate to the national convention in either the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary will also qualify for the Nevada debate.
The new criteria eliminate the individual-donor threshold, which was used for the first eight debates, including next week’s debate in New Hampshire. Bloomberg, the self-funding billionaire, has refused to take donations from other individuals, which has thus far precluded his participation in any of the debates since he joined the race late last year.
The response to this new change in polling and donor requirements has been mixed. According to NPR, some Democrats had been encouraging the Democratic National Committee to allow Bloomberg to participate. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told MSNBC this week that she’d be fine with Bloomberg participating in debates “because I think that instead of just putting your money out there, he’s actually got to be on the stage and be able to go back and forth so voters can evaluate him in that way.”
The campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had a different reaction. “To now change the rules in the middle of the game to accommodate Mike Bloomberg, who is trying to buy his way into the Democratic nomination, is wrong. That’s the definition of a rigged system,” said senior adviser Jeff Weaver in a statement. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Tulsi Gabbard echoed that same sentiment. Is that fair?
Should a TV network like CNN preclude 2020 Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard from appearing at one of their nationally televised climate change debates? CNN announced last Friday that it would host a series of nationally televised town halls in New Hampshire on Feb. 5 and 6, just a few days ahead of the state’s Feb. 11 presidential primary.
“We have reached out, I think, more than once, and we received no explanation. I don’t even think we’ve gotten a response to date about why they’re excluding the first female combat veteran ever to run for president, the only woman of color in the race,” the four-term congresswoman and Iraq War veteran said Tuesday in an interview with Fox News.
Gabbard’s numbers in national polls and Iowa, which holds the first contest in the presidential nomination calendar, are in the low single digits. But in New Hampshire — where the candidate is spending almost all of her time on the campaign trail — she’s at 5 percent in the latest RealClearPolitics average of the latest surveys in the Granite State. That’s ahead of Steyer and Patrick, who were both invited to the town halls. Is that fair?
History is filled with perceived unfairness. For millions who voted in favor of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, giving her the majority in the popular vote, the Electoral College is highly unfair. They claim it does not represent the true will of the people. Citizens and their representatives who live in early primary fly-over states would most likely disagree. Candidates who are not independently wealthy believe millionaires and billionaires should not be allowed to buy their way onto election stages. Those same candidates have no problem asking the wealthiest among us for donations. Money talks and running for President requires a lot of it. Democrats have pursued Trump’s impeachment since he won the election and before him being sworn in. They finally achieved their goal but will most likely fall short of their main objective of removing him from office. A final vote in the Senate this week will confirm that. In what could be a look into the future and the ultimate in fairness, we may see history repeat itself. Trump may become the first sitting impeached president to win re-election. He may also lose in a landslide. The only certain thing is that politicians will do and say anything they can to win elections. What they can’t do is take away our free will. The ability to speak your mind and vote with your conscience is the only thing that is fair in a democratically run society. Everything else is neither here nor there. And that’s what’s fair!