I thank those who have recently contributed to the discussion about how we can hold Gov. Tim Walz accountable for actions he has taken amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While nearby efforts to diminish law enforcement amid a surge in violent crime rightfully are receiving more attention recently, valid concerns regarding the governor also continue to be expressed. People are looking to hold him accountable for his policies on everything from patients in long-term care facilities to a perceived abuse of executive powers and the crippling, inconsistent mandates he placed on our treasured local businesses.
I fought for months to end his emergency powers and restore the Legislature as the co-equal branch of government that it is. House Republicans voted around 20 times to end the emergency powers and they finally ended, thanks to Republican efforts, as part of a deal struck last session. We also are working to reform the emergency powers statute to ensure no governor can ever again close businesses and schools or restrict the rights of Minnesotans.
Some people say this is not enough and want articles of impeachment brought against our governor. While, to some, that move may look good at first glance, let’s walk through this scenario:
First, Democrats who control the House defend their Democrat governor at every turn and will not let articles of impeachment against him advance or even become subject of debate. These are the same House Democrats who continued voting to protect Walz’s emergency powers month after month. While it would be good to conduct a robust floor session to discuss, debate and vote on the merits of a resolution to impeach the governor, it is a moot point until Democrats in the majority flip against a governor from their own party. To suggest otherwise is misguided and falsely raises expectations.
Even if articles of impeachment did somehow pass the House, the Senate is unlikely to convict the governor. Our Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to convict, and Republicans currently have a mere one-vote majority in the Senate. Once again, suggesting Republicans can make this happen on their own is a false narrative that should not be perpetuated.
IF Democrats in both the House and the Senate took down a Democrat governor by adopting articles of impeachment, the unintended consequences could be incredibly serious – if not flat-out disastrous. The Minnesota Constitution requires that if a governor is impeached, he or she must step down immediately pending the trial in Minnesota Senate. This would put Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan in the governor’s office, and she may impose an even more radical agenda than our current governor.
In addition, this move would result in the current Republican President of the Senate being elevated to lieutenant governor in place of Flanagan, causing Republicans to lose their one-vote majority in the Senate pending a special election. Democrats already control the governor’s office and the House. By taking the Senate, they would have complete and total power to advance even more extreme legislation, including social mandates and tax increases that the Senate has so far been able to stop.
Thanks again to everyone who has shown interest on this subject; it’s a valuable talk to have. That said, until legislative Democrats decide to run a Democrat governor out of office, about the only real action we can be sure of is some groups sadly will continue lining their pockets by preying on emotion to sell hope of impeachment.
We may be better served by channeling our efforts toward subjects where positive outcomes more realistically can be delivered. Again, let’s start by strengthening our law enforcement agencies instead of reducing them as violent crime soars in our state.