Thursday, January 10, 2019
Will Donald Trump Take The Authoritarian Way Out Of His Self-Imposed Dilemma?
Today marks the 20th day of Donald Trump's shutdown of the government. In only two more days, the shutdown will be the longest government shutdown in United States history -- and it looks like that will happen.
Trump has badly miscalculated this action, and shown he knows nothing about how our government works (and is a terrible negotiator). A real negotiation is one where each side is willing to discuss a solution. The Democrats have said they are willing to discuss ways to increase border security. Trump has refused to discuss any solution that does not include giving him money to start building a border wall.
Trump is not going to get his wall. A majority of Americans don't want the wall, and the House of Representatives (controlled by Democrats) is not going to approve money for a wall. Those are just facts. But Trump has doubled down on his demand for a wall, saying he would keep the government shutdown until he gets it -- even if the shutdown continues for months (or years).
The shutdown will not continue for months. Even Trump's Republican supporters in Congress will not allow that. That means Trump has now painted himself in a corner and has a self-imposed dilemma. If he caves in and opens the government, he will look foolish (and his rabid narcissism will not allow that). If he continues to hold out, Congress will eventually override him and open the government anyway -- making him look not only foolish, but weak.
That leaves him only one other option -- the tyrant's option. He could declare a fake national emergency to bypass Congress and use military funds to build his wall. This would precipitate a governmental crisis, and the fate of our democracy would be left to the court system to decide if he had overreached his powers. If the courts backed Trump, it would be devastating for our democracy -- because it would give Trump a blueprint for imposing other things he wants to do while ignoring the wishes of the public or Congress.
Instead of a system of checks and balances composed of three branches of government, we would then be well on the way to having a tyrannical presidency wielding power over Congress and the courts.
These are dangerous days for our country and system of government. It's up to Congress (and the elected members of both parties) to prevent this.
NOTE -- I apologize for the bad grammar in the chart. It should read "have lasted".