[Ed. – Gee, what could have prompted this line of thinking?]
Scenario #1: A governor becomes embroiled in a scandal. So, amazingly enough, do the lieutenant governor and attorney general in the same state. They’re all from one political party.
But the speaker of the state house — who’s next in the line of succession to become governor — is from the other party. As a result, the state’s political system becomes paralyzed. Either a morally compromised governor will be in charge, or the legislature will execute a kind of partisan coup.
Scenario #2: The president of the United States becomes embroiled in a big scandal. So does the vice president. The speaker of the House of Representatives — who’s next in the line of succession to become president — is from the other political party. Congress faces a miserable choice: a scandalized leader or a partisan coup.
The first scenario describes Virginia right now, of course. The second scenario described the United States in 1973, when both Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were under investigation. (What, did you think I was casting aspersions on Mike Pence?)
Both highlight a problem in American government. There should always be a way to remove an unfit leader from office without flipping the partisan control of that office. …