Wissot: Impeachment isn’t the answer, a strong candidate might be (column)

Jay Wissot
Valley Voices

Winter is on our doorstep but there is heat in the air. It is coming from the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Impeachment heat. Fresh off their historic victory in the mid-term elections where the Dems regained control of the House, they are primed to investigate the current occupant in the White House.

Impeaching and convicting a sitting president is no easy task. In our illustrious history only two presidents have ever been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Neither man was convicted in the Senate.

I tell you this because I don’t believe attempting to impeach a sitting president is the answer. Since there is little hope that two thirds of the Senate would vote to convict and remove him from office, why even bother?

Far better to get rid of President Donald Trump the same way we got stuck with him two years ago: in the voting booth.

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We know that Trump’s supporters will hang with him until Judgement Day.

So what should the Dems do? Take the same energy that would be wasted in pursuing impeachment and put it into finding a candidate formidable enough to win the suburban women and independent voters that Hillary Clinton failed to woo in 2016.

Easier said than done ? Absolutely. If we learned anything from 2016 it is that we underestimate Trump at our own peril. Despite his bizarre behavior, he remains an uncannily skilled politician. He thrives in creating chaos. He is a master of distraction.

His has sowed seeds of doubt in the legitimacy of the very institutions that have been created to protect the public from abuses of presidential power. By convincing his base that the intelligence services, the courts, the media, are all corrupt and can’t be trusted, he leads them to one conclusion: The only person you can count on and who you should give your allegiance to is him. That’s what dictators do. It’s right out of the handbook for autocrats.

You are probably wondering who among the potential candidates the Democrats might run against him could possibly win? Great question. I wish I had a great answer to give you. I don’t. I have no idea who that person might be.

But spending the better part of the next two years trying to find that person might be in the national interest. I said I don’t know who that person is now. And I don’t. But I do know what characteristics he or she needs to have. A 77-year-old woman in a wheelchair breathing oxygen through a tube told me.

I was watching the coverage of the Texas Senate race prior to the election. A television reporter stopped to ask this woman wearing a Beto T-shirt why she felt O’Rourke would make a good senator. Her reply was “because he’s everything that Trump isn’t.”

I think that’s what the Dems need to do for 2020: find a candidate who is everything Trump isn’t.

Surely, there must be one person in this land who is intelligent, informed, humble, compassionate, empathic, ethical, kind spirited, truthful, decent, honest, willing to represent the people who didn’t vote for him or her and patriotic enough to drive 50 miles in rainy weather to honor fallen American soldiers buried in a cemetery in France who died fighting for this country during World War I.

How about someone to match Trump’s charisma? Not necessary. Just make sure the candidate isn’t as uniquely unlikable as Hillary Clinton was in 2016.

I read somewhere that charismatic buffoonery has a shelf life of four years. If that is true, then in the immortal words of Oprah Winfrey, we may be ready to say “Time’s Up” on the Trump presidency.

Jay Wissot is a resident of Denver and Vail. Email him at

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