Home | About | Donate

America's Rickety Constitution Is Proving No Match for The Mad King Donald


#1

America's Rickety Constitution Is Proving No Match for The Mad King Donald

Ryan Cooper

President Trump has officially embraced Richard Nixon's infamous view of presidential authority: "When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal." That is the clear implication of a letter Trump's lawyers sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which made sweeping claims about the president's legal immunity from prosecution.


#2

Hell, let’s just vote to make him King, then, once he’s King and there’s no laws to protect an American King, lop his head off and then move on to the business of abolishing Congress and the Presidency.


#3

Yes, Trump’s argument is quite literally that he is an absolute ruler with absolute power that cannot be checked by anyone or anything. It is ludicrous on its face. AND YET - he could very well get away with it, seeing as how he has packed the courts, including the SC, with far-right-wing authoritarians who are fervently supportive of a “strong executive/unitary executive branch.” (i.e. a Dictator). I don’t think most Americans understand just how very, very, very close the U.S. is to becoming a dictatorship. Sadly, about 40% of them would applaud such news wildly (until a Democrat got into power, then they would suddenly be screaming for representative government once more).


#4

Your comment here is the “perfect” argument for abolishing the Duopoly.


#5

The article is written to have the uninformed believe that there are no checks on the President’s power of pardon. There is. The Constitution specifically excludes impeachments. Congress is the check on the President. If they believe he has done wrong, they can bring articles of impeachment and try him in the Senate. He cannot pardon himself if the Senate convicts him.


#6

If the Senate convicts him, he will have to be convicted of treason, or a “high crime or misdemeanor,” for which the punishment specified by the Constitution is he is removed from office. That’s it.

If, before he leaves office, he pardons himself (or, as is more likely, his successor pardons him,) of the crime/s for which he was convicted, he will have gotten away with it. He keeps all the ill-gotten gains, he serves no time in prison, and the country moves one step closer to a banana republic dictatorship. The next president will simply pick up where Trump left off, and move the whole thing along, until Congress at some point is so entirely corrupt that they install a dictator of choice and simply find nothing to impeach him for.

All of this is the direct result of the corrupt two party system and “lesser evil” voting.


#7

I think that Dissent’s comment went over your head…


#8

Your comment is the non-sequitur of the year…

And wasn’t the election of Trump - in the left’s narrative, due to people deciding to NOT vote “lesser evil” as you say?

Everything you are pointing out is being done by only one of the parties of your supposed “duopoly”. This party has been the majority, and therefore rules, the US congress for all but six out of the past 23 years - including only 4 years out of 16 that a Democratic president was in office - most of those years being a veto-proof majority. Do you even know how a representative democracy even works? How can you expect the Democrats to accomplish anything when they were never in a position to accomplish anything short of an armed overthrow of the ruling party, or the Democratic President declaring himself a dictator?


#9

The constitution is not the problem. It is people in congress who refuse to do their duty to the people and the constitution. If they asserted themselves as a separate branch of government and carried out to the full extent their constitutional duties and powers, a person like Trump would not stand. Unfortunately partisan politics and self interest is what guides so many of these politicians and we see few of them take stands of integrity and righteousness. No matter how good a constitution or law, if the people are corrupt in themselves it will not make any difference.


#10

Hi Dissent,

Yunzer believes your comment went over my head.

Do you think so?


#11

Hitler became a fascist dictator by convincing enough members of the Reichstag to vote to pass an Enabling Act giving him absolute power. This won’t happen in the US because of separation of powers; i.e., Congress can ignore the president. Even if Congress were to vote to give The Donald absolute power, the Supreme Court can rule that the vote is unconstitutional because the Constitution is clear that Congress, not presidents, legislates.

Lincoln was called at tyrant for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation without congressional approval and he also suspended habeas corpus. But he did these things when the Union was at war with the Confederacy. We know that LBJ got Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution allowing him to bomb the hell out of North Vietnam and Bush II got Congress to approve the invasion of Iraq, but Congress has been severely criticized for doing these things.


#12

It is the Supreme Court that checks what both Congress and the president does. Congress legislates and presidents can veto legislation. Congress has the power to override vetos.


#13

Not at all. That’s why I gave it a “like.” My contempt for the Dim-Washington Generals/Rethug Harlem Globetrotters duopoly has been stated many, many times on this site (under my old ID “dissent”) so I didn’t feel the necessity of expounding on it again in response to your comment.


#14

Yunzer,

After receiving your comment, I asked Dissent if he thought his comment went over my head.

His response is on this thread.


#15

That is incorrect. Congress has oversight of all government. This Wikipedia blurb explains it:

"Congressional oversight is oversight by the United States Congress over the Executive Branch, including the numerous U.S. federal agencies. Congressional oversight includes the review, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation.[1] Congress exercises this power largely through its congressional committee system. Oversight also occurs in a wide variety of congressional activities and contexts. These include authorization, appropriations, investigative, and legislative hearings by standing committees; specialized investigations by select committees; and reviews and studies by congressional support agencies and staff.

Congress’s oversight authority derives from its “implied” powers in the Constitution, public laws, and House and Senate rules. It is an integral part of the American system of checks and balances."