WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - On Wednesday night, political science and history professors at UNCW led a panel on the ins and outs of impeachment.
“This is an academic discussion about what impeachment is, as well as reminding and teaching folks about the process,” said Dr. Nadine Gibson, a political science professor at UNCW.
The panel gave an overview of the impeachment process with President Donald Trump, presented the public’s opinion of the impeachment, and explained how other countries deal with impeachment. A historian gave a presentation on past impeachment cases in the United States, and its role in American politics.
“This is less about our personal opinions. We are talking about what the facts are and what the reality is. We really understand the material and how it raises bigger broader questions about democracy,” Dr. Gibson said. “I hope people take a step back and think critically about the impeachment process.”
The House of Representatives have impeached 19 federal officers, including 15 judges and Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton; both were later acquitted by the Senate.
Dr. Gibson is almost certain President Donald Trump will be acquitted too, based on the Republican majority in the Senate.
“I think it’s pretty clear that Trump was impeached and he’s not going to be removed from office. I don’t think anyone’s minds were changed throughout the hearings."
Gibson does see long-term impacts from the impeachment, including voter turnout.
“There will likely be a mobilization of voters for the 2020 election. 2016 had low turnout, whereas 2020, if it’s anything like 2018, it’s going to be high turnout. People are going to be mobilized. The democrats have already shown they are mobilizing people from the 2018 election, so maybe this is going to actually mobilize Trump’s supporters. Winning elections are all about mobilizing people to vote,” Dr. Gibson said.
Gibson says impeachment is a vaguely written part of our constitution, and there aren’t many examples to go on since this is only the third time a president has been impeached in U.S history.