Trumpophobia is the liberal hysteria du jour. From bien-pensant Beltway salons to the sewers of Hollywood, a miasma of demented hate rises like swamp gas to asphyxiate American public life. The establishment has become unhinged – in the style of British Remainers – by the impudent rebellion of They the People in electing Donald Trump to the presidency. Pat Buchanan put it succinctly, in reply to Vladimir Putin’s rhetorical question “Have you all lost your senses over there?” – “Yes, Vlad, we have.”

“Over there” means over here as well. In Britain and Europe loudly expressed contempt for Trump is the litmus test of PC orthodoxy. It is a valid test, however, since it efficiently demarcates those with an informed perception of the realities of government from ideological groupthink morons.

The Democrats, or at least the more cerebrally challenged among them, believe they have the antidote to Trumpism, the catch-all solution to the nightmare that has overtaken them: impeach Trump. What for? Oh, don’t be so precious, let’s get the movement for impeachment going, we can decide on the charges later. His opponents wanted to impeach Trump even before he was inaugurated, on wholly hearsay charges that also antedate his presidency. The only reason they did not canvass his impeachment on the day he announced his candidature was that they thought he was a joke contender with no chance of winning.

The Democrats are treating a procedure the US constitution regards as exceptional as a weapon of first resort. The American public has a keen sense of constitutional propriety; it notices when politicians attempt to divert solemn processes of law to petty party advantage. The Democrats are undermining their own credibility with this infantile rush to judgement. They are crying wolf. So far have they lost a proper sense of political perspective that they are crying for impeachment as a child cries for its favourite toy.

A glance at the facts, historical and contemporary, should restore that perspective. Of the 45 presidents of the United States only two have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Johnson was charged with breaching the Tenure of Office Act by sacking his secretary of war, his intention being to protect the defeated Confederate states from extreme Republican revanchism, but survived when the vote in the Senate fell one short of the necessary two-thirds majority; the Supreme Court later struck down the Tenure of Office Act as invalid.

Clinton survived his notorious perjury “I want to say one thing to the American people: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” because not a single Democrat voted to convict him. Impeachment proceedings were begun against Richard Nixon as a result of the Watergate scandal, in 1974, but before they even came before the House of Representatives he resigned the presidency and the process lapsed.

That is hardly a record of promiscuous impeachment: two cases over 241 years. Such politico-constitutional reticence highlights the extravagant conduct of Democrats, incontinently canvassing impeachment of Trump before he had even been inaugurated. In their incandescent rage they are devaluing the constitution and due process, a fact of which the American electorate is increasingly cognizant. On 12 July, Brad Sherman, a congressman from Los Angeles (where else?), with fellow Democrat Al Green, of Texas, as co-sponsor, filed impeachment charges against Donald Trump for obstructing investigations into Russian intervention in last year’s presidential election.

Even many of their Democratic colleagues are unwilling to back this forlorn hope. They are conscious, too, that every time a hopeless, unsubstantiated impeachment charge is filed and fails it will discredit Trump’s opponents and betray the fact that the whole impeachment pantomime is nothing more than a political vendetta.

If the anti-Trump obsessives ever succeed in getting the impeachment process under way the procedure consists of successive stages in the House and then the Senate. One or more articles of impeachment would have to be passed by the House of Representatives on a straight majority. These would then form the indictment for trial before the Senate, where a two-thirds majority would be required to convict and remove the President from office.

The procedure, presumably because of its rarity, is far from well defined. A member of Bill Clinton’s impeachment defence team later said: “When the Senate decided what the rules were going to be for our trial, they really made them up as they went along.” The chief justice of the Supreme Court would preside, a team of congressmen known as “managers” would conduct the prosecution, the President’s interests would be represented by a team of defence lawyers and the Senate would constitute the jury.

With both houses of Congress in the hands of the Republicans and the bar set so high, Trump would have to be totally at war with his party for such a measure to succeed. The mere fact of Trump being subjected to such a process would have an explosive effect on American public opinion. It would present the spectacle of an anti-establishment president, elected on a “Drain the swamp” ticket, being pilloried by the elites he sought to curb.

In the unlikely event of the process being invoked and succeeding, it would be the first time ever that an American president had been removed from office by impeachment. The consequences for America’s morale, civil order and international standing in an unstable world would be unpredictable.

You have to be seriously deranged to believe that Russia secured the outcome of last year’s US presidential election. Yet the kind of conspiracy theory that is normally sneered at by liberal elitists is now eagerly being promoted by them. Pat Buchanan has also commented forcefully on the motivation behind the pursuit of Trump, the routine reaction of the elites when they are repudiated at an election, displaying indifference to the public interest: “With Reagan in Iran-Contra, they almost succeeded in destroying that great president as he was ending the Cold War in a bloodless victory for the West.”

Using all the commanding heights they occupy in the deep state, the judiciary, the media and politics, the liberal elites will direct this formidable entrenched power to the overthrow of any elected president who is not in their pocket. On this occasion their crude and overt determination to unseat Trump – declaring the objective before finding the pretext – puts them on a collision course with the American public. Impeachment of Trump is a kamikaze ambition that could further subvert the credibility of the Democrats.