Over 300 demonstrators filled the intersection of Water Street and Pacific Avenue in front of the Santa Cruz Town Clock on Dec. 17, the eve of the House of Representatives vote on impeachment. A cacophony of encouraging horns and supporters yelling from their car windows joined the ralliers’ chants. Wielding bullhorns, flashlights and handmade signs, ralliers marched around the intersection for hours.
“I came out because I feel like democracy is slipping through our fingers,” said Santa Cruz resident Cathy Cress. “I am a grandmother, I protested in the ’60s and here I am again […] We are going to lose democracy if we don’t get out in the streets again.”
The House of Representatives will vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Dec. 18. The impeachable offenses cited by the House are Trump’s abuse of power in pressuring Ukraine to assist in his re-election campaign and obstructing Congress by refusing to participate in the impeachment inquiry.
About 600 Impeachment Eve rallies broke out across the country on Dec. 17. Common Cause, a nonpartisan grassroots organization founded in 1970, organized them. The organization’s slogan is “nobody is above the law,” a reminder that despite his high office, Trump is not exempt from adhering to laws or maintaining the integrity of his administration.
“Even if [the impeachment] doesn’t go through, it shows the nation and the world that a sector of the public does not support him,” said Santa Cruz resident Sheila Baptist. “We are resistant and apprehensive to putting his policies forward. His way does not represent what we want to see for our society in any way, shape or form.”
Demonstrators at the Santa Cruz rally voiced support for impeachment and Trump’s removal from office. But the House cannot remove a president without Senate approval. In impeachment inquiries, the Senate serves as a court, leading a trial in which it considers evidence and hears from witnesses before holding a vote.
In order for a president to be removed from office, articles of impeachment must garner a two-thirds majority in the Senate. There are currently 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two Independents in the Senate, and 67 votes are necessary to remove Trump from office.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News on Tuesday there is “no chance” President Trump will be removed from office.
“I’m not an impartial juror,” McConnell told Fox. “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it.”
If Trump is impeached and the Senate doesn’t vote to remove Trump from office, the impeachment process will come to an end and Trump will be acquitted. If Trump is impeached in the House and the articles of impeachment reach the two-thirds threshold in the Senate, Trump will be removed from office and Mike Pence will become the president of the United States.
This is an alternative that’s troubling to many people who support impeachment, but Common Cause reminds them not to forget the point of impeachment — justice.
“The primary question isn’t whether Pence is better or worse than Trump; it’s whether Trump has committed impeachable offenses,” Common Cause said on their website. “He has, and he should therefore be impeached.”