Donald Trump, our wannabe dictator and demagogue, took another dangerous step to dishonor democracy Friday when he said he could declare a national emergency and build his wall by executive fiat. Trump said “I could do it if I wanted.” Hello banana republic! Goodbye democracy! If I was a member of the Federalist Society (which I’m not), I would worry a lot about Trump’s disposition to abuse our constitution tradition of checks and balances.
Trump’s position is reminiscent of French King Louis XIV’s famous dictum “L’Etat, c’est moi,” which freely translates into English as “I’m the king, so it’s my way or the highway or in this case, the wall.” Since Donald Trump thinks he’s the state, he figures as long as he’s working it doesn’t matter if the United States government is shut down for months or even years.
Well he can declare a national emergency and raid money from the Pentagon for fake national security to build the wall. That’s one way to end the Trump Shutdown. Or he can throw another terrible two tantrum like he did the other day when it became clear to him that he couldn’t get what he wanted when he wanted it.
Or he could act like an adult instead of a spoiled child and try is to reach a compromise agreement with congressional leadership along the lines of comprehensive immigration reform plans proposed by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. These presidential compromise proposals would have increased border security spending by $68 billion (Obama proposal), provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and crack down on businesses for illegal hiring.
There’s no evidence the wall would halt immigration but facts don’t matter to the president. During the 2008 GOP presidential campaign, Governor Rick Perry of Texas criticized Mitt Romney’s border wall proposal by pointing out that anybody with a 11 foot ladder can get over a 10 foot tall fence.
Rather than compromise, Trump would rather demagogue the issue which he tried to do during the midterm election campaign with disastrous results. The national exit poll indicated that twice as many midterm voters picked health care over immigration as the reason for their decision. The health care voters supported Democrats by a three to one margin. The immigration voters went GOP but there weren’t nearly enough of them to help Republicans preserve their majority in the House.
Now that electoral democracy 2018 style failed Trump, he wants to resort to executive fiat which is not exactly what the founders of our great nation intended. I’m a part-time college professor, and I emphasize the study of the U.S. Constitution when I teach Introduction to American Government and Politics. I’m always thought Donald Trump would benefit greatly if he took POS 101. But I guess he can’t since he bankrupted Trump University before starting his quest to bankrupt the nation morally and financially.
The founders were scared to death of a tin horn dictator rising to power. To ward off the danger of a power hungry demagogue usurping power in the young democracy, they developed a system where that plays one branch of government against another so one person ever gets to do what he or she wants without regard to the other players.
There’s good news and bad news after 239 years of constitutional trial and error. The good news is that a dictator has never ruled over the United States. No dictators like Hitler, Mao or Stalin have risen on our shores. Not yet anyway! Score one for the founders!
The bad news in our democracy is that things change slowly. It would be better if the nation improved quickly but that’s better than losing our democratic and free form of government.
We have a very complicated and messy system of checks and balances that makes it difficult to solve the big problems facing the nation. The downside is that gridlock prevents the United States from attacking climate change, adapting to a post industrial economy or paving the way for a social change. If the president really wants to satisfy his edifice complex and build something, he should get serious about rebuilding our obsolete economic, electronic and educational infrastructure which would be a real memorial to his tattered presidency.
America might change quickly if the president ruled by executive fiat but that kind of change would drive our nation to hell in a hand basket faster than you can say Mussolini. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often said “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. If Donald Trump had his way, the arc would break not bend. Then there would be no justice or democracy at all. Maybe that’s what the he really wants.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.