The exuberance for executive edicts shows the problem with both political parties.
Eight years ago, a movement was coalescing in response to Obama’s 2008 election. The goal was limiting the power of the federal executive branch as well as government power in general. The Tea Party movement has since dissipated in its fervor, but the issue of executive power still remains.
It is rather ironic that conservatives and “liberals” have switched positions overnight on this matter because of President Donald Trump. Republicans and conservatives no longer seem to be concerned about the power of the executive now that their team controls the government. Conversely, “Liberal” Democrats and progressives, are protesting in the street and sharing incessantly online about the dangerous executive orders that have been issued by Trump and the potential ones to occur, but they weren’t concerned about this power of executive orders when their team resided in the Oval Office.
Everyone should be concerned not only of President Trump’s power, but the power concentrated in the office of president itself. In the past few days, a single man has issued executive orders that abandoned international steel competition, claimed private property through eminent domain for the XL Pipeline, and has allocated money wherever he believes as important.
The current protests and campaigns against President Trump are similar to the Tea Party’s responses to President Obama if only in this manner – the people understand and fear the amount of power that has accumulated in the executive branch. The blame lies not with one political party, but with the power that tends to accumulate if left unchecked. The President can only be a threat if the office is capable of enforcing the whims of his pen and phone.
If Trump didn’t have the power to enforce executive orders, was restrained by congress in regards to tax money allocation, or couldn’t encroach on the private property of individuals (bodily or private) the question must be asked – would it matter if he was in office?
A constitutional republic like the United States came with specific ideas on limiting the presidency for a reason, the founders knew that humans are fallible and giving one of them nearly unrestrained power leads to authoritarian impulses. The legislative branch has acquiesced their power in foreign and domestic matters continuously, and the result is a loss of the checks and balances spoken of in American civics. This anger in the ability of one person to dictate terms to over 330 Million individuals, whether they be from the Tea Party or whatever this new movement of protesters will be called, both are recognizing the inherent authority and power held by the Imperial President that is par for the course in 21st century politics, and how it can be used to affect the entire population of the United States, and arguably the world.