Off the bat, let me define what I mean by being against due process. I certainly do not mean being against due process of law. I support that one-hundred-percent. By being against due process, I mean I am against a cop-out argument meant to avoid tarnishing a certain side politician. Whenever someone invokes “innocent until proven guilty” as a defense of a politician, it comes with two flaws.
- This is a legal standard. We are not arguing in a legal context. Furthermore, what defines someone as innocent or guilty in a court is different than what actually defines them as innocent or guilty. For example, take someone running for President but being accused of committing rape. Let us also assume a significant amount of the evidence presented is against them. They can be innocent in a court of law because the legal system uses a reasonable doubt standard, not a preponderance of the evidence standard. Political offices are offices that require character and morality. Punting to the legal systems is a cop-out for citizens who do not want to engage in difficult questions
- This standard is inconsistent, vague and subjective. It allows pure partisans to punt on difficult questions, choose their burden, and, choose which political figures they want to apply it to.
Instead of this standard, I suggest another standard. My alternative is simple; we should rely on a preponderance of the evidence. This standard comes with multiple advantages.
- It lowers the standard of evidence. The legal system requires a high standard of evidence because the government should not be able to ruin someone’s life without proving they deserve it. We are not dealing with the government here. Individuals running for office need a high level of character. If it is more likely than not that they are a person of poor character that should be enough to disqualify them.
- It makes consistent the standard of evidence. A fifty-one percent standard if not perfectly objective because different people can weigh the same evidence in different ways, but it does set the same bar for everyone.
The preponderance of the evidence standard shifts the duty from non-voters to voters to make decisions on who is of moral character. While voters may not always be up to the challenge, it is important to raise the bar as much as possible for our politicians. And even when voters fail, there are other options like expulsion or impeachment.