This is what a Trump presidency would look like

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young - RTX1KTWT

Given the polls, it is perhaps time to try to conceive the inconceivable. And let’s start with this:

If Donald Trump manages to win the election, he would have a mandate. That mandate would not be specific or limited in nature; it would be expansive. Trump could legitimately claim authority from the voters to do just about anything that he damn well wants to do.

Now, that’s not what apologists and sophists in Washington would have you believe. To reassure nervous voters, his fellow Republicans talk soberly of the checks and balances that were carefully written into the Constitution, about the constraints imposed by the separation of powers. Yet the necessity of even saying such things tells you that something different is afoot — members of Congress don’t typically go around promising constraints on a potential president of their own party.

“What protects us in this country against big mistakes being made is the structure, the Constitution, the institutions,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it. “No matter how unusual a personality may be who gets elected to office, there are constraints in this country. You don’t get to do anything you want to.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan takes a similar tact, continuing to act as if the House, not a President Trump, would take the lead in setting policy through its “A Better Way” agenda, even though that agenda contradicts Trump in important ways. In addition, Ryan promises, “I would sue any president that exceeds his or her powers.”

But if we look at it honestly, such talk isn’t plausible. Ryan and McConnell do not seem to comprehend that Trump’s campaign is a revolt against the very idea of checks and balances. His voters are frustrated that Washington hasn’t been able to give them what they want, and if he wins in November, neither he nor they are going to be in a mood to be told no. What they want, they will demand, and what they demand they will get, at least initially.

It’s a painful exercise for some of us, but try to imagine the triumphalism of the right-wing entertainment/media complex in the wake of a Trump victory — imagine the passion and expectations driven by the talk shows and the web sites and Fox News. Imagine how ignited the GOP base would be by a Trump victory and the defeat of the hated Clintons. It would be the Tea Party at its 2010 peak multiplied a hundred times, a thousand times, and Trump would be its conquering hero.

It’s also important to note that Trump has never been a respecter of the rules in any part of his life. In business as in his personal relationships, he has always pushed things as far as they can go in his favor, and then has pushed them farther still until he meets resistance that he cannot overcome. And it’s hard to imagine where that resistance would come from.

In that post-election euphoria, the likes of McConnell and Ryan would no longer be leaders of the Republican Party, secure in their own base of power; they would be reduced to functionaries in Trump’s movement. If Ryan tried to block a major Trump initiative in the House, for example — if he dared to propose a lawsuit against a Trump overstep — he would be howled out of the speaker’s job and replaced by someone more obedient. That is not conjecture, that is fact.

Remember, the Republican establishment wasn’t able to stand up to Trump when he was merely one of 17 candidates for the nomination; they haven’t been able to stand up to him now that he’s their party’s standard bearer. They certainly won’t be capable of standing up to him should he win the presidency.  In fact, their reassurances to the contrary come off as quaint and naive, the bleating of stupid sheep about to be shorn of their delusions.

Look at what’s happened to Reince Priebus. The once-independent head of the Republican National Committee is now issuing dictates on Trump’s behalf, warning that former GOP presidential candidates — Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb Bush — had better fall in line behind Trump or be denied the right to run for president in the future.

“Those people need to get on board,” Priebus said over the weekend. “And if they’re thinking they’re going to run again someday, I think that we’re going to evaluate the process – of the nomination process and I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for them.”

The dangers are particularly apparent on issues of diplomacy and military policy, where there are few reins to be pulled in the first place. The Constitution already gives the executive branch enormous leeway in such fields, and what little control the Founders did provide to the legislative branch has atrophied over decades of congressional acquiescence to presidential initiative.

In addition, in a Trump administration we’re unlikely to see experienced, moderating voices at the State Department, at the Pentagon, in the National Security Council. The traditional Republican foreign policy and national security establishment has already made it quite clear that it wants nothing to do with their party’s nominee, and in fact is supporting Clinton.

As more than 120 GOP foreign-policy experts put it in an extraordinary letter released back in March:

“Mr. Trump’s own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world. Furthermore, his expansive view of how presidential power should be wielded against his detractors poses a distinct threat to civil liberty in the United States. Therefore, as committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head. We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.”

True to his nature, Trump has returned their disdain many times over.  He has made it quite clear, repeatedly, that he won’t be turning to “the Washington elite” to fill top national-security and foreign-policy positions, and will instead turn to figures who have long been considered fringe players in those fields. For example, as secretary of Defense he has already proposed former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whom Colin Powell described in leaked emails as “a jerk” — “unchained” and “right-wing nutty.”
These are not people likely to challenge Trump.

During a debate on Fox News back in the primaries, Trump was asked what he would do if the military refused to carry out what it considered to be an illegal presidential order, such as implementing torture or killing the families of terrorists:

“They won’t refuse. They’re not gonna refuse me. Believe me,” Trump said. “I’m a leader, I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it.”

Again, for many if not most Trump voters, this is not a problem. That attitude is precisely why they are voting for him, and it is precisely how they will demand that he act if elected. I’m not sure that the structures and constraints cited by McConnell are capable of standing up to that if the voters make it clear in November that they no longer support such niceties.

Reader Comments 0

2164 comments
Common Sense137
Common Sense137

wake up and smell the roses before it's too late. A Hillary Presidency would be a disaster. You folks make me laugh. Osama Obama has done anything he has wanted and all you and Congress do is roll over and ask for more. Pathetic.

Fundador Deleon
Fundador Deleon

DICTATORSHIP ; just like Saddam Hussein , Hugo Chavez , Fidel Castro and the horrific Adolf Hitler.

Mary Ann Gardner
Mary Ann Gardner

What are you worried about Bookman you said he'd never be elected - so no worry

Lynda Lyttle Parks
Lynda Lyttle Parks

That is why we have three branches of government. (Four if you count the press.)

Nala L Doowtrop
Nala L Doowtrop

#TRUMPCOUNTRY #MAKEAMERICAGREATAGAIN #DISHONESTMEDIA #CROOKEDHILLARY

Dona Elaine Hubbs
Dona Elaine Hubbs

Bookman needs to start wearing Depends..he's now leaking over the realization that Trump will be the next POTUS. Poor little girly-man. Grow up.

Lori Burroughs
Lori Burroughs

kind of like Obama does now and Hillary will do too.

Stephenmooremd
Stephenmooremd

Please get rid of Bookman. I am sick of his total crap.

becca1
becca1

I have never read such a contemptible piece of absolute claptrap. We have just endured almost 8 years of precisely the same behavior now complained of, by Barack Obama.  Sir, look to your own party and it's nominee as a prime example of a candidate who cannot even keep her own panderings straight. She frantically switches back and forth on issues such as  military policy, the role of the executive branch and the role of the judiciary in a free society. Simply put, she has no allegiance to anyone,  any thing or any ideal not named, or held by, Clinton. Just what these ideals and values are, no one knows. They remain a closely held secret, to be unveiled only in January, 2017 after being sworn in. I tremble at the thought of a Clinton presidency coming after the wreckage left by the Obama presidency. 

Matt Woodard
Matt Woodard

Obama did it for two terms. Hence so many of his "executive orders" being over turned for being un-Constitutional.

dhowardporter
dhowardporter

The truly scary thing is that the one single most important thing a President can do does not require checks and balances...that is, the access to and the authority to use the launch codes.  This is a 5-7 minute decision process and is the President's alone. As Commander-in-Chief, the President can unleash a nuclear holocaust at a whim when somebody somewhere has the hubris to annoy him. Let's think this through.....

JDinMarietta2
JDinMarietta2

Another day, another Trump piece by Bookman. Wonder how much he gets paid by the DNC?

Fl0ydLiberal
Fl0ydLiberal

@JDinMarietta2 Trump insists on press. Doesn't matter what kind. Seeing his face on the screen, tv and computer, is deeply satisfying to him. He doesn't tend to read any print, though .Or so say people who have tried to interview him - instead he kept watching his face on the screen, ignoring the questions.

Norman Crandell
Norman Crandell

Matt Woodard - No, but if you had asked if I were a god, I would have said yes

Kevin Wiseman
Kevin Wiseman

Polls going to Trump in a big way, fasten your seat belts. Only HRC could lose to him.

Kevin Wiseman
Kevin Wiseman

Sonja Carlson Dunbar believe me it's no dream of mine.

Eric Varnado
Eric Varnado

Only trump could lose to Hillary. Only Hillary could lose to trump. Despite this unless the low info population wakes up to other choices one of those two dumpster fires will be president.

JayBook
JayBook moderator

Also ..l sheets

JamVet
JamVet

The demographics of our citizenry would be affected by a flood of immigrants from both South America and Europe bringing in more lower educated workers and Muslims.

Are Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians OK?

Provided they met your education standards, of course...


JayBook
JayBook moderator

Jam, suggestions of violence in any form against any candidate are not acceptable.


Period.

JamVet
JamVet

I always find it fascination that the people who write this stuff, when challenged to provide detailed, comprehensive examples and evidence to support this claim, know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THE TOPIC.

Just parrots for the now fashionable anti-establishment (LOF) far right wing...

JamVet
JamVet

I still can't believe that some former American POW has not sucker-punched pigboy into retirement...

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@JamVet "sucker-punched"  Wow, we got us a manly-man, here this morning I see.  I always assumed you to be a bad@ss want to be.

JamVet
JamVet

@DownInAlbany @JamVet

I really don't care if the POW announced it first. Either way it would be apropos for it to happen. The sucker-punch reference just seems appropriate after pigboy's fan sucker punched that 69 year old woman with an oxygen tank, doncha think?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@JamVet @DownInAlbany I fail to see how a sucker punch is appropriate under ANY circumstance. But, I'm not prone to violence to begin with.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

I'm convinced that 'bill' doesn't exist.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Donnie_Pinko  The demographics of our citizenry would be affected by a flood of immigrants from both South America and Europe bringing in lower educated.."  Dang - looks like "bill" found me out.

bill
bill

Mr. Bookman would like to scare you with his left leaning assessment of what a trump presidency would look like. However he does not follow with what a Hillery Presidency would look like. Lets take a look into the crystal ball and using what we know about her. We will have continued controversy and deceitfulness from her and her administration on almost everything, as her past performance exhibits.  We would have more strangling regulatory environment for business than even the current environment, which has produced anemic GDP. The military would continue to be reduced and degraded so the domestic spending could be increased. The demographics of our citizenry would be affected by a flood of immigrants from both South America and Europe bringing in more lower educated workers and Muslims with no corresponding efforts for assimilation, which will further Balkanize  our country. Taxes on everyone will rise and deficits will be ignored. And Clinton will continue a global vision that will overshadow the interests of the United States. There is no choice in this election but to choose the devil we don't know over the devil we do know. Another Clinton reign is not acceptable. 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@bill 

Mr. Bookman would like to scare you with his left leaning assessment of what a trump presidency would look like.

-

Bookman 'left leaning'? Huh? 

You're obviously VERY new here. 

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@honested Now that Skittles has responded by saying they cannot say anything further so as not to become political, I wonder if they will sue Jr. if sales decline in the next few weeks, or if they will give him a bonus if sales take off upwardly?

rimsky
rimsky

@bill I am soooo mad that I can poop out skittles.