Democrats and prominent liberals have engaged in alarmist fear-mongering for months in response to the agenda of President Donald Trump. Whether it is his targeting of illegal immigrants here in America or his using the presidency to interfere with other processes, Democrats have sounded the alarm about what they claim is unprecedented tyranny in the Oval Office.
The problem is we have seen all of this before, and we have seen even worse. Is President Trump hurting people’s feelings worse than Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deciding that race and heritage alone was reason enough to force Japanese Americans into concentration camps during World War II? Is President Trump deporting criminals currently in America illegally any different than his Democratic predecessor using executive power for immigration policy?
Democrats were frequently warned that unchecked executive power, even for your own team, eventually comes back to haunt you.
Republicans entered a similar crisis during the early days of former President Barack Obama’s first term. All of the mounting rhetoric about a socialist takeover of America was met with increasing executive action that rendered other branches essentially obsolete. Who needs Congress when the President can just unilaterally act?
Even Obama himself warned that if Congress failed to act on his own immigration policies, he would simply bypass them and use executive orders. By his own logic, Congress existed as a formality rather than a check on other branches of government, such as his own.
Was this unprecedented?
The idea that the President can act unilaterally is hardly unprecedented. Even in the numerous cases of Obama’s executive overreach, he was acting on precedent. Republicans had a difficult time grasping this concept back during the Obama years, just as Democrats failed to understand it when their team was enjoying the power trip.
The simple fact is that a nation of laws runs off precedent. Legal precedents will become justification for later actions. Unchecked claims of power will become a tradition that will not rollback, as power does not relieve itself. This is why the founding fathers did not create a king or any structure resembling a monarchy.
In fact, the law initially under the Articles of Confederation was known for being so weak that the government could barely function. Issues of effectiveness aside, this shows the hesitation of those who lived under tyranny to embrace a government consolidated into the hands of the few. When the law of the land was reset with the Constitution, a balance was created between power and liberty. The government would be structured, but limited with strict laws over what the government could and could not do.
The failure to uphold these limitations means that the runaway powers will become worse. Like Republicans under Bush, Democrats under Obama were warned about the dangers of executive overreach. If these interests failed to keep even their own powers under control, the precedent set would hurt them in the long run when the other party takes control.
When Democrats failed to heed these warnings, they only set themselves up for failure under a future Republican president.