The Bar for Impeaching a President Is Too High

It shouldn’t require worse than incoherence, incompetence or recklessness to remove an American president.

White House Washington
View of the White House in Washington DC from a helicopter, January 15, 2015 (White House/Pete Souza)

Americans should impeach presidents more often, argues Gene Healy in Reason:

It would be a pretty lousy constitutional architecture that only provided the means for ejecting the president if he’s a crook or a vegetable, but left us to muddle through anything in between.

Incoherence, incompetence and recklessness are all evidence of unfitness for office, writes Healy. It shouldn’t require worse to remove a president.


The American system doesn’t make it easy. In parliamentary democracies, a simple majority can remove the prime minister. In the United States, it takes a two-thirds majority in the Senate to remove a president.

But it’s not just the system. It’s Americans’ reverence for the presidency that makes it hard for lawmakers to move against the occupant of the White House.

Perhaps that will be Trump’s legacy: the demystification of the American presidency. Something good could come of his election after all.