Tag: Incumbency

TurleyVision 1999: Impeachment as a Madisonian Device


My dear spouse occasionally forwards me the legal theories of Jonathan Turley, who currently argues Trump’s impeachment trial is unconstitutional now that Trump is a former official. Curious as to what Turley had to say about impeachment before Trump, I did some digging and struck a mother lode: Turley’s 146-page 1999 Duke Law Journal article, Senate Trials and Factional Disputes: Impeachment As A Madisonian Device. Turley’s reasons for publishing such a masterwork in 1999 may not have been dispassionate, since he had recently testified at Bill Clinton’s impeachment, but since Trump’s presidency wasn’t even a gleam in the old GOP elephant’s eye back then, Turley’s thoughts on impeachment in 1999 should at least be free of any bias for or against Trump. Those with the patience to read — or at least skim — Impeachment As A Madisonian Device will be rewarded with plenty of information on impeachment’s constitutional function and history that’s interesting in its own right, and a perspective in which the non-juridical, political nature of impeachment transcends mere raw exercise of power.

Impeachment As A Madisonian Device extensively surveys the constitutional history of impeachment. Its thesis is that the impeachment process, declared first in the House, then passed to the Senate for trial, culminates in

Any Republican Would Have Won in 2016? It Ain’t Necessarily So.


Don’t bet your house on the roulette pattern — or your country on the election pattern. Correlation is not causation and past performance does not necessarily predict future results. We all know this, yet it is great fun to prognosticate and to chew the fat over past sports and presidential election seasons. Moving beyond such speculation towards serious analysis requires us to turn to the theory and practice of political science.

In Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba laid out the case for research that is scientific even without large data sets — situations like the small set of presidential elections. Arguing against ad hoc explanations, they laid out the basics of research design: “the research question, the theory, the data, and the use of the data.” (p.13)

Incumbency More Important than the Senate Majority


imageUnless the polls are systematically biased, Republicans will hold the Senate with a healthy cushion once all the runoffs are through. For the first time in his career, Barack Obama will be forced to use his veto pen to protect his interests. Republicans can vote down his judicial nominees, forcing him into stealth candidates. I have hope that Republicans will force devastating votes and joyous capitulations with regularity over the next two years.

This is good news, but it is less important than people make it out to be. There is still the filibuster to contend with. Republicans will be an easier target for Obama to demonize. They run the risk of damaging the Republican brand before the vastly important 2016 election. But the most important part of this — and I argue any — election is the power of incumbency.

Incumbency — or, more specifically, the ability to gain it with a candidate who’s more than a flash in a pan — matters because it predicts one’s ability to outperform in future races. Nate Silver quantifies it as such: