Those who denounce Trump’s constitutional depredations and anti-democratic pronouncements are clueless about the real threat.
Americans nowadays have a bad attitude towards presidents. Many people are denouncing Donald Trump as a dictator. But the real problem in this nation is the dictatorial illiteracy that has allowed modern presidents to commandeer far too much power.
Trump’s saber rattling, rude outbursts and rancorous tweets have spooked folks far and wide. But most Americans are not sufficiently informed on recent history to recognize where Trump poses dire threats beyond the usual Washington machinations. Most citizens are unaware that both political parties have perennially championed bureaucratic aggrandizement over civil liberties.
Many of the experts who have condemned Trump are also clueless about how far federal control has stretched. Yale professor Samuel Moyn and Oxford professor David Priestland recently declared in a New York Times op-ed that “there is no real evidence that Mr. Trump wants to seize power unconstitutionally, and there is no reason to think he could succeed.”
But violating the Constitution is practically the job description for modern presidents. It was George W. Bush’s White House, not Trump, that asserted a “commander-in-chief override” entitling presidents to ignore the law and the Bill of Rights. Congress utterly failed to thwart that outrageous claim.
Presidents have amassed vast authority because they are judged on their rhetoric and purported goals, not on their constitutional fidelity. Former president Barack Obama’s drone assassinations of U.S. citizens were non-issues because observers think he “meant well.”
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