by Ryan McMaken
In the wake of the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the international left has been calling her impeachment “undemocratic.”
A typical example comes from the left-wing think tank called the Council on Hemispheric Affairs:
Rousseff’s impeachment is a devastating blow to Brazil’s democracy, constituting a “soft coup”–an undemocratic process of regime change tainted by political malfeasance, selective justice, and a non-electoral transfer of power cloaked in the guise of the rule of law.
In this way of thinking, the actions of elected executives constitute democratically-approved actions, but — for some strange reason — the actions of elected representative legislative bodies do not. Thus, by this logic, when Richard Nixon was impeached and forced from office, this constituted a “soft coup” in which the an “undemocratic process of regime change” was a devastating blow to American democracy.