The Millenial, Gen X, and Gen Z generations believe constitutional reforms are necessary to protect America against future Trump-like leaders. These younger generations support;
- More qualifications are required for a presidential candidate; for example: prove competency in an understanding of the Constitution
- Prosecutions for crimes committed by a president would be initiated
- A president must make his tax returns public
- A president must tell the truth or suffer political consequences
- A president will not be the sole commander-in-chief of the armed forces
- A president found pressuring the Department of Justice to pursue investigations and prosecutions of his opponents would automatically be impeached
- A president would be required to disengage from their businesses while in office
In his post-presidency, Trump has continued to lie, cheat, milk donors out of money to pay for his mounting legal bills, and incite hatred in his base towards anyone who opposes him. These claims are provable with concrete evidence in abundance. His psychopathology has become more pronounced as he pathetically relies on the “big lie” to bolster his shame-based existence. His troubled psychological conditions have been apparent to mental health professionals since he was elected president. It is sad to watch his desperation at rallies where he proclaims he won the election by a landslide when 90% or more of the population KNOWS he lost.
Is it a pity that so many Americans cheer Trump on out of fear of a vengeful retaliation or are so disillusioned with politicians that they settle for someone unqualified to be president and who becomes dangerously reactionary when he feels angry, embarrassed, or rejected? The investigations indicate possible charges against Trump, and many of his surrogates are probable. So far, he has gotten away with criminal, immoral, and unpatriotic acts. However, we have learned that a disordered, unqualified authoritarian can get elected president and that democracy under those conditions is fragile.
ORIGINAL POST: 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 steer our government towards autocracy.
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, however, Donald Trump’s pathology has exposed loopholes in the document.
The deference given to the office of the presidency has proven to be a danger to democracy. The abuse of power Trump has demonstrated created a dangerous imbalance of power between the three 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 restrictions described in the emoluments clause in the Constitution, Trump has been allowed to keep making money while in office. 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 emoluments 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 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 of the values of our country or 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.