<p>My response:</p><p>The point of democracy is to give us good government. To be sure, it's a virtue in itself because it gives people a stake in their government and when it's responsive enhances social trust. But one of its chief virtues is that it is also likelier to give us better results than, say, dictatorships, given that democracies are self-correcting. Though I don't believe that voters are rational actors, when leaders make serious mistakes they are usually thrown out of office. But democracies can be well-designed or badly designed and as a result may not give us good government despite the tendency toward self-correction. </p><p>Ours is a case in point. As a result of the undemocratic Senate and the undemocratic Electoral College our system now rewards the GOP. This bias in favor of the GOP inhibits the self-correcting mechanisms. The GOP can fail and still be rewarded with power. Trump came remarkably close to winning re-election despite an unprecedented string of failures because of the 选举学院固有的共和党偏见. As Andrew Prokop <a href="//twitter.com/awprokop/status/1326667865622241281" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">notes</a>, "a shift of just 48,000 votes in AZ, GA, and WI would have resulted in a 269-269 tie." And a tie would have thrown the election into the House of Representatives, which, voting by state, would have given Trump the election.</p><p>Given the weaknesses of our system it behooves the Democrats to take steps to remove the threat of a second Trump administration. On this ground alone I'd favor an impeachment trial.</p><p>But there are multiple reasons to favor impeachment and conviction.</p><p>Impeachment carries two penalties. 1. Removal from office. 2. A ban on holding office in the future. The first is evidently the more serious penalty. That's why it takes a 2/3rds vote in the Senate to convict. The second penalty only takes a simple majority vote in the Senate. But both are included in the Constitution. You have discounted the value of the second feature for some reason, unexplained.</p><p>The founders did not say a president is subject to impeachment and conviction except for anything they can get away with during the final months of their term. Yet your approach would in effect amend the Constitution to limit impeachment and conviction in just this manner. </p><p>And those final months in a president's term are likely to be the most fraught wherein he is likeliest, if he is so inclined, to break the law and our democracy. For it is just then that he will be fighting for his political life. To let Trump off because he broke faith with his office in the final months of his tenure would set an unfortunate precedent an unscrupulous successor would be sure to take advantage of. Since the GOP is likely to give us another Trump-like figure in the near-future we have to be careful about the precedents we are setting.</p><p>The founders fully recognized the usefulness of the impeachment of former officials. As Princeton Professor Keith E. Whittington explained in the <a href="//www.wsj.com/articles/yes-the-senate-can-try-trump-11611356881" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><em>Wall Street Journal</em> </a>recently:</p><p>"For the Founders, it would have been obvious that the 'power to impeach' included the ability to hold former officials to account. The impeachment power was imported to America from England, where Parliament impeached only two men during the 18th century, both former officers. No U.S. state constitution limited impeachments to sitting officers, and some allowed impeachment only of former officers."</p><p>Finally, should the people vote for a second Trump administration in 2024 and get it as a result of the GOP bias in the Electoral College you would likely see a civil war ensue or at least raise the possibility of one. Certainly, the chances of a civil war would not be zero. Why would you take the risk?</p><p><em>Rick Shenkman is the founder of George Washington University's History News Network, and the author of <a href="//www.amazon.com/Political-Animals-Stone-Age-Brain-Politics/dp/0465033008/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Political Animals: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics</a> (Basic Books).</em></p>
<p>But before that moment, a team of the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO said that they hatched a plan to keep the peace. </p><p>Political director Mike Podhorzer, who wrote "Five Steps to Victory," fearing that there was a high likelihood that the election could go awry. But unlike most politicos hatching their plans for behind-the-scenes efforts, Podhorzer's plan began with winning the election. After that came: "winning the count, winning the certification, winning the Electoral College and winning the transition–steps that are normally formalities but that he knew Trump would see as opportunities for disruption."</p><p>Podhorzer knew Trump's game, and he knew what a win would bring. He along with his coalition worked to prepare to defend the vote against the Trump campaign's efforts. </p><p><a href="//time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/" target="_blank">Read the fascinating story at TIME Magazine. </a></p>
<p>"Unbelievable," Sanders <a href="//twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1358204082427674625" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">tweeted</a> Saturday. "There are some Dems who want to lower the income eligibility for direct payments from $75,000 to $50,000 for individuals, and $150,000 to $100,000 for couples. In other words, working-class people who got checks from Trump would not get them from Biden. Brilliant!"</p><p>Sanders <a href="//twitter.com/SenSanders/status/1358211022423789569" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">followed up</a> with a post reiterating his position: "I strongly oppose lowering income eligibility for direct payments from $75,000 to $50,000 for individuals and $150,000 to $100,000 for couples. In these difficult times, ALL working-class people deserve the full $1,400. Last I heard, someone making $55,000 a year is not 'rich.'"</p><p>Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) concurred, declaring that "it would be outrageous if we ran on giving more relief and ended up doing the opposite."</p> <p>"In conclusion," Ocasio-Cortez added, "$50k is wack and we shouldn't do wack things."</p><p>Other lawmakers have also <a href="//www.commondreams.org/news/2021/02/04/politically-its-suicidal-frustration-grows-biden-entertains-narrower-eligibility" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">slammed</a> lowering the income eligibility this week.</p><p>Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee, <a href="//twitter.com/JStein_WaPo/status/1357079925153542151" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">told</a> the <em>Washington Post</em>'s Jeff Stein, "I understand the desire to ensure those most in need receive checks, but families who received the first two checks will be counting on a third check to pay the bills."</p><p>Stein had <a href="//www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/02/02/biden-stimulus-checks/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">reported</a> Tuesday that "the White House is open to narrowing eligibility for the next round of stimulus payments but not lowering those payments below $1,400 per person."</p><p>In a preview of an interview with <em>CBS</em>'s Norah O'Donnell set to air Sunday night, Biden said that he is set on $1,400 checks but "prepared to negotiate" on who receives them.</p><p>"But here's the deal: middle-class folks need help," the president added. "It's somewhere between an individual making up to $75,000 and phasing out, and a couple making up to $150,000 and then phasing out, but again, I'm wide open on what that is."</p> <p><em>CBS News</em> <a href="//www.cbsnews.com/news/stimulus-check-1400-dollars-covid-relief-2021-02-07/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">reported</a> Sunday on how economic conditions are fueling demands for relief:</p> <blockquote>Many Democrats are arguing for a large stimulus package, pointing to renewed economic distress in recent months as the pandemic worsens. The January jobs report indicated subdued hiring, with employers adding a modest 49,000 jobs. White-collar services [led] the gains as lower-paid service jobs continued to suffer.<br/>"It may look good, but it ain't," wrote Oxford Economics economist Lydia Boussour in a February 5 research note. "The labor market recovery remained stuck in a rut in January as the pandemic's winter surge weighed on hiring."<br/>The labor market isn't likely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, <a href="//www.cbo.gov/publication/56965" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">according</a> to a February 1 report from the Congressional Budget Office. The U.S. economy shrank 3.5% last year, its largest annual decline in 74 years, government data <a href="//markets.cbsnews.com/US-economy-shrank-35-in-2020-after-growing-4-last-quarter/6c7ee8874e825c47/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">shows</a>.<br/> </blockquote> Both chambers of Congress—which are controlled by Democrats—have now passed a budget resolution laying the groundwork for enacting a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. Vice President Kamala Harris <a href="//www.commondreams.org/news/2021/02/05/giant-first-step-after-14-hours-votes-senate-approves-covid-relief-resolution-zero" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">cast</a> the tie-breaking vote in the Senate early Friday, after an overnight "vote-a-rama" on amendments. The House, which<a href="//www.cnn.com/2021/02/05/politics/senate-budget-resolution-covid-19-relief/index.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> had passed</a> a previous resolution, approved the amended version later Friday.