As the Democratic establishment and liberal activists across the country march in the streets and flood airports in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration and national security policies, many fail to realize their complacency in what has taken place over the course of the last eight years.
While in office, President Obama drastically expanded his executive authority in a variety of ways, finalizing over 560 major regulations, or regulations with significant economic or social impacts. He worked to restructure our national healthcare and banking industries, for better or for worse. He continued the tradition of warring with other countries without congressional authorization. He became the most prolific user of drones in American history, killing hundreds of civilians in the process. And through all of this, Democrats enabled him and allowed it to happen.
For many of the reasons I just listed, Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States of America. Being particularly critical of President Obama’s regulatory overreach was a central tenant of the Trump campaign. But as Trump takes his seat in the oval office, will he stay true to his promise of giving power “back to the people”, as he said in his inaugural address? As of now, all signs point to no.
Undoubtedly, both sides of the aisle are at least partially to blame for this issue. During the Obama Presidency, the Republican Party did all that it could to prevent him from accomplishing much of what was considered to be his initial agenda. According to former Ohio Senator George Voinovich, it was easy to oppose the President: “if he [President Obama] was for it … we had to be against it.”
Feeling pressure from liberal interest groups, unions, and much of his voting base, Obama likely felt as though he had to act around the obstruction. This is what likely drove him to consider so many “alternative options” in securing his legacy. The result was predictable, with GOP politicians referring to Obama as a “dictator” or “king” rather than the President.
As we have now seen time and time again after the election of Donald Trump, the actions of the Democratic Party under President Obama (or rather their lack of action) has continued to stab them in the back. The confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after a 51-50 vote in the Senate would be the most recent example of this. Had then-Democratic majority leader Harry Reid not engaged in what he referred to as “filibuster reform” in 2013, DeVos would almost certainly not be the U.S. Secretary of Education.
Even further, President Obama was enabled by his Democratic cohorts in the U.S. Senate throughout both of his terms. In 2013, every single Democrat in a vulnerable seat up for reelection voted with the President at least 90 percent of the time. Before Republicans won back the U.S. Senate, President Obama was on the winning side in an astounding 85% of Senate votes where he took a position. Now, elected officials are crying out as the GOP Senate “rubber stamps” President Trump’s cabinet nominees in a similar way.
Republicans were furious throughout much of Obama’s presidency regarding his massive amounts of executive overreach and his bypassing of the U.S. Congress. Now that the table has turned, Democrats are enraged at the prospect of a powerful President Trump. What they must understand, however, is that they are at least partially responsible for the power he wields. Regardless of your approval or disapproval of the person sitting behind the desk in the oval office, one thing is certain: our country’s Founding Fathers – who started this great nation in large part to escape a tyrannical king – could never have envisioned the office of the Presidency becoming so incredibly powerful.