When attorneys and legal scholars talk about the Constitution, they proclaim its brilliance and thoroughness in defining our Democracy—establishing a government consisting of three co-equal branches of government safeguarded against America ever becoming a monarchy. Having achieved independence from England, the founders were committed to securing a democracy that would indefinitely survive the challenges a republic would encounter. Yet, the powers bestowed on the presidency have proven to presently steer our government towards autocracy with the election of a highly selfish, power-obsessed president.
Giving certain unique powers to the executive, judicial, and congressional branches satisfied the founder’s concern about protecting the individual rights of the people and the rule of law. Although the Constitution is an essential document with protections against autocracy and corruption, Donald Trump’s pathology has exposed loopholes in the paper, which allows for sin and a dangerous imbalance of power between the branches of the government.
For example, Trump has maintained involvement and ownership in his private businesses, and he, his family, and companies have financially profited from his presidency. Despite the emoluments clause in the Constitution, Trump has been allowed to disregard it. Cases brought against him by Democrats regarding conflict of interests in accepting payments have been lost in the courts. The wording by the founders regarding costs allows this president to promote patronage to his hotels and restaurants by foreign leaders who have political agendas with the United States.
Trump, as president, has used his power to gut essential departments related to the environment and public health. He has rolled back protections and funding in those areas because they are not agendas that interest or enrich him personally or politically. The Constitution gives the president the power to change policy and redistribute funding at their discretion, a privilege based on the assumption they possess the qualifications to make competent decisions. It is well-documented by the misstatement of facts that Trump often understands little about the essential topics concerning our country.
Another flaw in the founder’s thinking was to limit the requirements to be president to be 35 years old and American-born. Believing that voters would never elect someone abnormal or grossly unqualified was an over-optimistic assumption by the founders. People are losing their lives, dignity, and hope over Trump’s disregard for the intended balance of power in the Constitution.
Trump took action during the impeachment inquiry to impede investigations and pronounce the process as invalid. He took those actions despite the process being a constitutionally mandated right of the House of Representatives. It would have been helpful in the era of Trumpism for the Constitution to have declared a presidency to be terminated if it violated any component of the values and intentions of the rule of law. Such behaviors appear traitorous, yet there are no remedies in the Constitution for immoral attacks on the foundational aspects of our Democracy. In other words, you can be mean, dishonest, criminal, and disrespect all elements of Democracy and stay in office.
I am sure constitutional scholars’ heads will spin at the naivete of my opinions on the flaws that exist in the U.S. Constitution related to the power of the president. This post isn’t written by a lawyer, judge, or politician. It is the voice of an American who is fearful of where the corruption and disordered thinking of Donald Trump have taken this country. This message embodies the fear of how much more damage he will do to the foundation of our democracy if he is re-elected and is no longer dependent on the support of a base. The authoritarian, racist ideology he has normalized is a threat to democracy and America’s integrity.