Former vice president Joe Biden, speaking in New Hampshire on Wednesday, delivered a searing denunciation of President Trump. “The ballot box is sacred ground in America. That’s where we make our voices heard. That’s where we decide who leads us. … It’s not complicated. It’s called democracy. We believe Americans should decide American elections. Period,” he said. “But Donald Trump will do anything to get reelected, including violating the most basic forms of democracy. That’s stunning — and that’s dangerous — because it directly threatens our democracy.” He argued, “No president in American history has ever dared to engage in such unimaginable behavior. With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself.”

As for the obstruction of Congress, expressed in an amateurish, angry letter from the White House counsel refusing to cooperate with congressional oversight and inquiry into impeachment, Biden said, “By obstructing justice and refusing to comply with the congressional inquiry, he’s already convicted himself. In full view of the world and the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts. To preserve our Constitution, our democracy and our basic integrity, he should be impeached.”

Biden made a key point, rebutting the nonsensical argument that we should just leave him in office for more than a year to commit more constitutional mayhem. “He believes the entire United States government can be corrupted into furthering his personal political needs,” Biden explained. “He is even willing to hold Congress and congressionally appropriated aid to a foreign nation hostage to his personal political demands. He believes if he does something, it’s legal.” Biden argued that Trump “believes there is nothing we can do about it. He believes he can and will get away with anything he does. We all laughed when he said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it. It’s no joke. He is shooting holes in the Constitution. We cannot let him get away with it.”

A growing percentage of Americans agree, and certainly all the Democratic contenders who will participate in next week’s presidential primary debate have weighed in to support impeachment. With all of the Democrats on stage, this should be the time for them to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to both educate the American people and condemn Trump and the Republicans who continue to defend him.

Each and every candidate should refuse to entertain questions accusing Biden or his son of wrongdoing. The only acceptable answer is something along these lines: “The allegations are false and have been repeatedly debunked. Raising the issue gives into Trump’s false equivalence and abuse of objective reality.”

Asked if they would allow their own children to engage in business, they should direct the moderators and audience back to the regrettably underexamined corruption stemming from Trump’s daughter and son-in-law working in the White House while making millions. For that, the appropriate response is that “Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should be subject to scrutiny for any violations of U.S. law, including the foreign bribery statutes, and held accountable to the full extent of the law.”

Should the candidates be asked if they would prosecute Trump after he leaves office, the best answer should go like this: “President Trump, any Cabinet secretary and any U.S. official who participated in illegal and/or unethical conduct should be held accountable. If appropriate, a special counsel to examine all wrongdoing should be engaged. Under no circumstances will I pardon Trump or any member of his administration.

Additionally, all Democrats should denounce House and Senate Republicans for their spineless conduct. Primary voters should repudiate any candidate seeking to make hay out of Trump’s abominable conduct. Republicans who passively accept Trump’s defiance of congressional requests for evidence and propagate ludicrous excuses for Trump (e.g., Just joking!) have violated their oaths of office.

When I say the candidates must stand together, I mean that when any candidate answers along the lines I have described, the others should say no more and no less than “I agree.” Primary voters should make clear they will not support candidates who imitate Republicans who would use Trump’s assault on the Constitution for personal or partisan ends.

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