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Indiana academics join others around world in letter calling for Trump’s early exit

(WISH) — Among those calling for the impeachment or the use of the 25th Amendment against President Donald Trump is a group of more than 40 Hoosiers who study politics for a living.

They’re part of a group of more than 1,400 professors around the globe who have signed onto an open letter to the Congress, Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet.

Some have been threatened over the phone and email after putting their name on the list, leading one professor from Indiana University to decline a News 8 interview request.

Jeffrey Isaac and Kindred Winecoff, though, hope adding their names can lend credibility to the conversation.

The open letter from the political science community was organized by a professor from Dartmouth is just a couple paragraphs in a Google document. But the response has been large with more than 150 pages of names and counting.

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“It’s a bad, bad dangerous situation and I don’t think the danger is over yet,” said Isaac, James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science at Indiana University.

Winecoff, another professor of political science at IU, said, “We’re in a very dangerous moment. We’re not getting out of that simply.”

Both men said the chances either impeachment or the 25th Amendment happen are not good.

“Quite low,” Winecoff said.

“Very unlikely,” Isaac agrees.

But for those whose field is the study of civics and maintaining civil order, they hope their voices add credibility to others making the same plea, whether other Republicans or even groups like the National Association of Manufacturers.

They believe both options are the proper Constitutional remedy for the events of Wednesday for someone who still has access to the nuclear codes.

“Trump incited the violence and then did nothing to restore law and order. I think he poses a danger to democracy. I think there’s a real danger of what he might do,” Isaac said.

“Even though 13 days seems like not a very long time, when we get into Constitutional crises, we get into civil disorder, that’s actually quite a long time,” Winecoff said. “I think a message needs to be set for future presidents.”

Because Winecoff adds, the next time, there might be a lot longer time left on a term than 13 days. He would favor the 25th Amendment be used, giving Republicans the chance to take the first step.

“That’s something that could potentially unify the country and move us back onto a more stable trajectory,” he said.

Stability and careful thoughts being two things these political scientists are particularly interested in.

“I would really ask for anybody who has supported the president up until now, especially this week, to really reflect on what it would look like if the positions were reversed,” Winecoff said.

As for the importance of the letter itself, a perhaps surprising answer comes from Isaac. “I really don’t think the letter is that important. I think it’s important to stand for what you believe in,” he said. “I think we are responsible professionals. The point of the letter was not to advocate on behalf of any policies, it was to advocate on behalf of the Constitution. When that becomes a radical thing to do, we’re in trouble.”

Isaac adds the 25th Amendment option would be the quicker way to disable the president. But impeachment — even after Donald Trump has left office — would be the only way to prevent him from being able to run for reelection in the future.

President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office Jan. 20.

The letter contains more than 140 pages of names. Indiana-based political scientists who signed the letter include:

  • Christopher DeSante, associate professor at Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • Welling Hall, research professor of liberal arts, Earlham College.
  • Steven W. Webster, associate professor at Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • Marjorie Randon Hershey, professor emerita, Indiana University.
  • Robert L. Dion, Igleheart Chair in Political Science, University of Evansville.
  • Jeffrey C. Isaac, James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science, Indiana University.
  • Chera LaForge, associate professor of political science, Indiana University East.
  • Jennifer J. Hora, professor of political science and international relations, Valparaiso University.
  • James Paul Old, assistant professor of political science and international relations, Valparaiso University.
  • Amanda Friesen, associate professor of political science, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.
  • Lauren M. MacLean, professor of political science, Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • Kyle Haynes, assistant professor of political science, Purdue University.
  • Christina Wolbrecht, professor of political science, University of Notre Dame.
  • William Kindred Winecoff, associate professor of political science, Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • William Bianco, professor of political science, Indiana University.
  • Sumit Ganguly, distinguished professor of political science, Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • Logan Strother, assistant professor of political science, Purdue University.
  • Sarah Bauerle Danzman, assistant professor of international studies, Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • Jack Bielasiak, professor of political science, Indiana University.
  • Evelyn Behling, political science doctoral student, University of Notre Dame.
  • Jamie Levine Daniel, assistant professor at Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
  • Salil Benegal, assistant professor, DePauw University.
  • Rosalee A. Clawson, professor of political science, Purdue University.
  • Eric R. Schmidt, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • Thomas M. Rabovsky, associate professor, Indiana University-Bloomington.
  • Susanne Wengle, associate professor in political science, University of Notre Dame.
  • Matthew Wells, assistant professor of political science, Wabash College.
  • Amy L. Atchison, associate professor of political science, Valparaiso University.
  • Tara Grillos, assistant professor, Purdue University.
  • Robin L. Turner, associate professor of political science, Butler University.
  • Yu Ouyang, assistant professor of political science, Purdue University Northwest.
  • Mary A. Shiraef, Ph.D. dtudent, Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame.
  • Jason Wu, assistant professor of political science, Indiana University.
  • Shamira Gelbman, associate professor of political science, Wabash College.
  • Nadia E. Brown, associate professor in Department of Political Science and university faculty scholar in African American Studies and Research Center, Purdue University.
  • Christine Barbour, senior lecturer, Department of Political Science, Indiana University.
  • Patrick A. Pierce, professor emeritus, Department of Political Science, St. Mary’s College.
  • Abby Córdova, associate professor, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame.
  • Geoff Layman, professor of political science, University of Notre Dame.
  • Ernesto Verdeja, associate professor of political science and peace studies, University of Notre Dame.
  • Michael Sutton, lecturer, Department of History and Political Science, Trine University.
  • Amitava Krishna Dutt, professor of economics and political science, University of Notre Dame.
  • Dianne Pinderhughes, professor of political science, University of Notre Dame.
  • Guillermo Trejo, associate professor of political science, University of Notre Dame.
  • Mike Gruszczynski, assistant professor of communication science, Indiana University.
  • Maggie Shum, research and program associate, Global Policy Initiative, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame.
  • Debra Javeline, associate professor of political science, University of Notre Dame.
  • Scott Mainwaring, professor of political science, University of Notre Dame.

Complete letter

“We, the undersigned political scientists, call on the U.S. Congress, Vice President Mike Pence, and the Cabinet to immediately remove President Donald J. Trump from office through the impeachment process or by invoking the 25th Amendment.

“The President’s actions threaten American democracy. He has rejected the peaceful transfer of power, encouraged state legislators to overturn election results in their states, pressured a state official to change election results, and now incited a violent mob that shut down the counting of electoral votes and stormed the U.S. Capitol.”

“Our profession seeks to understand politics, not engage in it, but we share a commitment to democratic values. The President’s actions show he is unwilling or unable to fulfill his oath to protect and defend the Constitution. He should be removed from office immediately before further violence takes place or further damage is done to our democracy.”

Open letter from political scientists

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