Steyer's impeachment solution is dead wrong
© Greg Nash

After spending more than two years leading the fight to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE, Tom SteyerTom SteyerTop 12 political donors accounted for almost 1 of every 13 dollars raised since 2009: study California Democrats weigh their recall options Why we should be leery of companies entering political fray MORE is trying to remove him the old fashioned way - by beating him in an election.

Many across the nation agreed with Steyer that the American people have rejected Trump and he poses such a threat to our Republic that he should be removed from office. However, many other Americans take the opposite position that Steyer and the Trump resistance are the true threat to our Republic because they have tried to delegitimize and even remove from office a duly elected President.

The former argue that Trump’s “historically low” approval ratings, and the huge drop in his net approval from the day he took office shows that even though he was elected he has since been rejected. For example, Gallup polling up until July 4 showed Trump’s net approval rating dropped 11 points from Gallup’s first poll when he took office.


However, starting with John F. Kennedy, the net approval rating of the 10 previous presidents all dropped dramatically. A simple look at Nate Silver’s graphs shows that eight of the 10 presidents experienced large drops in their approval by this point in their presidency, while temporary support for war in Iraq kept both Bush’s approval high until it plummeted late in their presidency.

The worst drop by far was Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden raised key concerns with Putin, but may have overlooked others Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax Obama on Supreme Court ruling: 'The Affordable Care Act is here to stay' MORE’s Gallup net approval ratings, which dropped not 11 points like Trump, but an incredible 58 points in the same period as Trump’s Gallup polling. Shortly thereafter - in August 2011 - Obama dropped even further to 40 percent approval and 53 percent disapprove for a net approval of 13. This was far worse than the newly released Washington Post/ABC News poll (which Silver rates as the gold standard) which shows among registered voters Trump now enjoys a 47 percent approve, 50 percent disapprove (-4 net approval or 9 points better than Obama’s Gallup rating almost eight years ago).

In fact, early in Obama’s term the net approval rating for Congress was a -20 - which was not great, but much better than the current -60. If you are starting to see a trend here, consider that Trump net favorable the day he was elected was much worse than today - a negative 21 (37 percent favorable and 58 percent favorable), while Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Monica Lewinsky responds to viral HBO intern's mistake: 'It gets better' Virginia governor's race poses crucial test for GOP MORE was the second most unpopular election day candidate and lost the race.

If Steyer’s chosen method of impeachment should be used to remove elected officials in whom Americans have lost faith, then not only should Trump have been impeached, but Obama as well, and Hillary if she had won. In fact, Congress should all be impeached and we should simply start over with new elections and no incumbents.

The flaw with this argument is that if a whole class fails a test, then the problem is likely the teacher and teaching methods rather than every student.


Likewise, even if we started over today we would end up with new candidates being elected who were also disliked, because that is what the system is set up to produce.

This is a new phenomena of the past decade. While people have always been cynical about politicians, the past 10 years have transformed into hatred of the candidates and the people who support them - making even family gatherings difficult for many.

Steyer’s focus on his “Need to Impeach” organization the past two years has been misguided and fed the actual problem of nasty ads polluting our system. Whether you agree with Steyer that Trump is the problem, or agree with Trump that the problem is the Swamp trying to take him out for threatening their cozy system in D.C., there are actually ways to turn the clock back at least a decade to create an atmosphere that produces elected officials in which most Americans can have confidence.

The solutions include money in politics laws that allow more money to be given directly to candidates and not to anonymous outside groups. Ads become nasty and irresponsible when they are run by secret organizations like LLCs that disappear - not when they are run by candidates who must take ownership. We also must close the doors to foreign money.

There are reasonable gerrymandering solutions like the one both state parties signed onto in Ohio last year to make congressional districts more compact so you might once again run into your representative having lunch in your district as they stay in touch with their actual constituents.

Finally, we need rational innovations such as instant runoffs - already being used for military ballots in the South and in Maine and certain localities. Yes, you can point to one Maine race that went to a Democrat who had more 2nd ballots than their opponent, and you can point to a number of Democratic U.S. senators going back to Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBiden fails to break GOP 'fever' Nevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms MORE (Nev.) who would have lost under the system because it eliminates the libertarian spoiler candidate. The important thing is that both sides scale down their attacks when they need to ultimately get to 50 percent plus one as the second choice of voters who first vote for a third party candidate - and this allows that to happen while saving money for states who currently pay for expensive runoffs.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and Americans will continue to be represented by candidates that nearly half the country hates if we refuse to take steps to address nasty third party and foreign money influencing our campaigns, Americans frustration with living in computer drawn districts that ignore communities of interest and compactness, and instant runoffs to take away the scorched earth policy in campaigns.

John Pudner is president of Take Back Action.