LETTER: America passed the Trump Stress Test
To the editor:
Donald Trump's presidency has been a four-year stress test of America's constitutional system. Trump's belligerent governance has weakened the bipartisan fabric – rooted in prudence, decency and comity – that ties our multi-branch system of government together.
At the same time, however, the fundamental pillars of our constitutional order have survived intact – revealing their enduring strength.
Take judicial review, the principle that the judicial branch, as opposed to the executive or legislative branches, makes the final determination regarding constitutional disputes. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall articulated this principle in 1805 in Marbury v. Madison, stating that it “is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”
Judicial review has been an essential rule of American government ever since. And despite Trump's numerous Twitter attacks on the judiciary – not to mention his interfering in cases involving his friends and demanding indictments of his foes – he has not violated a single court order.
Since his inauguration, Trump has lost in court endlessly. Lower courts invalidated the first two versions of his travel ban and struck down his executive order denying funding to sanctuary cities. The Supreme Court rejected his attempts to rescind DACA and to deprive the LGBT community basic civil rights. And the Court authorized a local prosecutor in New York to seek Trump's personal financial information.
Despite these and other thundering losses, Trump has obeyed the courts' rulings. Trump’s uniform compliance with court orders will be on display again, soon enough, when the courts conclusively reject Trump's inept attempt to overturn the presidential election.
And this highlights another fundamental principle of American government that will pass the Trump stress test: The peaceful transfer of power after an election.
Trump would surely violate this principle, seize power and stay in office if he could. But our constitutional system will not let him. While Republicans in his administration and Congress have largely acquiesced to Trump for the last four years, they will not cross this line and recognize a Trump presidency after Joe Biden's inauguration.
The Senate, which holds the express constitutional power to remove the president, made this clear before the election. It unanimously declared that “there should be no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States."
There is, quite simply, nothing Trump can do to circumvent the foundational American principle that the peaceful transfer of power follows an election. Trump's public acceptance of the GSA authorizing formal transition processes indicates that he understands this fact.
Trump has, to be sure, damaged our country in myriad ways and our body politic remains wounded, polarized and dysfunctional. There is, moreover, still time between now and Biden's inauguration for Trump to cause trouble.
But there's only so much additional damage he can inflict. The bedrock principles of American government – such as judicial review and the peaceful transfer of power – are, still, enduring safeguards that fundamentally restrain all American presidents. Even Donald Trump.
I'm sorry but your comments are just like the haters of the last four years who lost big time in 2016..and yes there was massive fraud in 2020..Trump is a LEADER, pro-American and has traditional values, none of which apply to Joe Biden, Kamala Harris or most of the Democratic Party circa 2020. Biden et al are in bed with the LGBQT/Transgender community, anti-right to work, anti-Christian values and anti-Israel, pro-Muslim, and you are a racist if you don't support them or one of the many other "phobes" most of us are probably guilty of.".climate justice"..do you lose sleep over the changing weather patterns worldwide ?..I sure don't..do you want the hordes from around the world to assault the southern border ?? and all their sad stories..?? I don't think so..Harris has decided that not only everyone should have equal opportunities, but equal outcomes..quite communistic...and cancelling student debt..solve your own problems students and pick careers that are worth more than the paper your diploma is written on..and go to a college that doesn't have a "diversity VP" that makes over $100K a year and parents watch what your urchins are learning in public school and certainly college..Thank God that the DNC has Joe Manchin in their midst to slam the utter stupidity of AOC and her camp followers..I am an American, not a citizen of the world and don't get me started on the "experts" who are telling us to wear masks at home and close our businesses so government can "help" us out..Trump 2024
Typical of many Trump supporters, the commenter is anonymous. But the hyperbole is familiar too. The name calling, broad brush labels all meant to color an argument are simply the product of an argument too weak to be presented any other way. Most of what support for a man like Trump boils down to is personal politics. "He won't take away my guns," or "He won't kill unborn children," or "He got tough on China"... but what gets overlooked is that fundamentally he himself is a bad human being and an incompetent leader. So really it's about ratios. How bad does a man (or woman) have to be to lose your support? Apparently incredibly bad. If you learned that your taxes were lower, and that more hispanic people were employed than ever, and that NATO members were finally paying their fair share.. BUT Trump had insisted that your Dad must be arrested, then he was, and you knew he was innocent.. With your Dad on Death Row.. Trump then calls for accelerated executions. (yes this an extreme example but used here as an ethical quandry).. would you STILL fill out your ballot for him? What if what you BELIEVE he has done that you like is not really due to his actions at all? The wave of higher employment for example was already happening when he took office. The lower taxes were actually far more beneficial for the wealthy (this is inarguable.. it's true) and further hollowed out the "Middle Class".. His actions regarding China who is absolutely a 'bad actor' in the world are not having the desired effect.. sorry but they are not. The list of Trump's failures and wrong doing is not fully known yet. But it will be.. and fairly soon. Why would he need a "pardon" which he will most certainly engineer if he's done nothing wrong? It won't save him from the state investigations however. So.. the 2024 fantasy is just that. For those that support this bad human being, ask yourself, how much bad is too much?