Throughout history, political succession has been a bloody, chaotic business. The Romans and the Ottomans among others engaged in palace intrigue, assassination and civil war as a means of determining who would rule next when an emperor or sultan was replaced.

We have been, for over two hundred and fifty years, a rare example of the legal, peaceful transfer of power.

Until now. Until 2016.

The absurd Ukrainian impeachment attempt is dying. A final stake will be put through its heart within days. Three years of unprecedented extralegal efforts by members of the Democratic Party and rogue federal bureaucrats to overturn the results of a free and fair election are coming to an end.

If we are to keep our democracy, as Franklin implored us to do, we must ensure this never happens again. This is not a cause for Republicans. It is a mission for us all. When a self-appointed elite in Washington, D.C. selects our rulers and elections become irrelevant, we all lose. A coup that deposed a Democratic President would be no less an abomination.

What then must be done? Put simply there must be consequences, and they must be severe.

The investigation of U.S. Attorney Durham must be completed, and when it is every individual identified in it as having engaged in criminal conduct must be prosecuted and punished. The nation has seen far too many examples of senior officials and politicians who abuse their power and walk away untouched. Hillary Clinton circulates freely and continues to toy with the idea of once again running for the nation’s highest office years after her actions in regard to a “homebrew” server and the compromise of classified information would have landed any “lesser” person in prison.

The corrupt, double standard must end.

We should have no illusions regarding the scope of the undertaking that will entail. Anyone who seriously believes that the handful of individuals identified publicly so far as having been behind the Russiagate smear of the President constitutes the full list of conspirators has missed entirely what just happened. This attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election began well before Crossfire Hurricane; it involved senior officials well beyond the FBI, and many of the people who participated continue to hold key positions in this administration to this day.

They must all be identified. They must all be held accountable. The nation must see that the law means something, that palace coups and treason are not tolerated in this nation and that there is – again – accountability in Washington, D.C.

The investigations into what has just happened should not be limited to the scope of U.S. Attorney Durham’s investigation, however. The impeachment charade now collapsing before our eyes was the product of collusion and abuse of power involving serving Congressmen, members of the National Security Council and individuals in the Intelligence Community – all of whom appear to have believed that it was good sport to attack and attempt to destroy the man the American people elected President because he was not their choice. These individuals must be identified, and they too must face the consequences that go with sedition.

People must go to jail.

And, then we must remake the landscape and attack the root causes of this palace coup.

The bureaucratic edifice, which participated in this coup must be demolished. This is not an attack on the FBI special agents in field offices investigating crimes. It is not an attack on CIA case officers running sources in the field and saving American lives. It is a recognition that we have allowed the growth of a massive, incredibly powerful cast of mandarins in Washington, D.C., who go nowhere near the battlefield and make little or no impact on our enemies but devote massive energy to crafting policy, playing politics and ensuring the survival and expansion of their fiefdoms.

That cast of mandarins must cease to exist. Cull the herd.

Move bureaucracies out of D.C. and closer to their constituents. This will have the added benefit of ensuring that tax dollars from all over the country, which mostly serve to make the D.C. area rich now, will flow to communities all over this great nation. It will not hurt that the working level civil servants in our government will now be buying and renting homes, purchasing groceries and buying clothes in areas of the country where the cost of living is a fraction of what it is in Washington, D.C.

Reduce the overall size of the federal bureaucracy and, in particular, dramatically reduce the number of senior officials inhabiting the vast landscape of federal buildings spread across the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. There are in excess of 8000 members of the Senior Executive Service – the civilian equivalent of general rank officers in our civil service. This does not include agencies like the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency. All of these organizations maintain their own separate senior executive systems, and the numbers of individuals in those positions do not count against the total above.

Roughly 80% of the federal government’s SES positions are located in Washington, D.C. When Donald Trump took office over 7000 of the SES’s in the U.S. government had been appointed by President Obama. Increasingly, these officials regard themselves not as public servants but as some sort of self-appointed elite charged with ruling over the “great unwashed” and saving what CNN would call the “rubes” and Hillary would call the “deplorables” from themselves. This arrogance was on full display during the House impeachment proceedings when a whole procession of senior officials testified as to their disapproval of President Trump’s Ukraine policy.

Every one of those individuals was a member of the Executive Branch. Every one of them worked for the President and was subject to his orders regarding the direction of American foreign policy. To all appearances, not a single one of them believed that was the case. They believed they were in charge, and the nation’s Chief Executive – our President – was an interloper.

This unelected 4th branch of government – armed with massive resources and increasingly unresponsive to the people’s elected officials – has become a threat to our democracy and the rule of law. It must be brought back under control, trimmed to an appropriate size and reminded that it serves the people of the United States.

We have survived a great crisis. We are reaching the end of unprecedented and unconstitutional attacks on our democracy. We must now make sure this never happens again.