Don’t Just Impeach Trump. End the Imperial Presidency.

Don’t Just Impeach Trump. End the Imperial Presidency.

Article makes some good points.

For decades now we've steadily granted the presidency more and more power. Every time the opposing party objects they seem to forget about it once THEIR guy is back in power.

"Richard Nixon reflected that, “I can go into my office and pick up the telephone, and in 25 minutes 70 million people will be dead.” Trump enjoys that same power."


And it leads to people only caring about the presidential election, since we and the media pretend they have the power of kings.

Tell me about it. My town just had a local election, didn't even hit 15% participation just sad

I've heard that political scientists have observed that every presidential system except America has collapsed into dictatorship at some point. Parliamentary democracies are more stable.

The US Congress is shitty, though, and consistently has approval ratings around 10 and 20 percent. Neither house has proportional representation, and the Senate isn't even proportional to population. The Constitution was designed before modern political science existed, and it shows.

Edit: For all you megageniuses who keep telling me that the Senate was designed that way, yes, I already know. I think it's a bad design.

Why isn't there a mental health evaluation for incoming presidents? Might sound strange but honestly, shouldn't it be certain that this person isn't vulnerable to a mental break or deterioration that could lead to a drastically disastrous decision.

Mine had an election a couple years ago to give our local fire department away to county after we bought them a brand new fire station and a couple trucks the year before. Only 300ish people showed up in a city of around 20k.

It seems like something went to plan there. Like the whole idea was proposed and spent specifically so that someone at the county level could say that they added a whole new fire station.

Must be really easy to corrupt a town like that. Out of a city of 20k all you need to do is show up with ~50 people who will vote how you tell them to and you can swing every decision.

If we were smart we really would transition to a Parliamentary/Prime Ministerial system with a President as mostly a unifying but mostly powerless figurehead.

What a shock, you didn't read the article. It was talking about the powers of the presidency regarding military matters and nuclear weapons.

These were specifically contrasted with his limited domestic powers.

Mindless drivel spouted off in response to headlines is exactly why we're in the state we're in.

There is, it's the media's ability to investigate and accurately portray issues, unfortunately it backfired and proved the whole country is insane.

Or maybe someone budgeted poorly and after building the new station they couldn't afford to fully staff it so they rolled it into county. It's still in the same place, it's still going to service the same area.

The turnout is pathetic, but the outcome isn't necessarily wrong just because this one guy sharing it is unhappy about it.

I paid for it and now fucking Bob Jones' rural house outside town isn't gonna burn down? This is fucking bullshit! I paid for that!

Because it's not in the Constitution. That's always the answer. The Constitution is supposed to be a living document adapted for changing times. But it's gotten stuck by people serving their selfish needs rather than working together for the general welfare working towards a more perfect union.

Trump is a threat to humanity. He must be removed from office before he makes a mistake that costs millions of lives.

Stupid article when we watched Congress steal the Supreme Court seat.

I think Americans are quite attached to the idea of voting in 'their guy', though. And having him for 4 years.

They might not like the fact that the guy who's actually wielding the power can be changed at the drop of the hat by, er... Who would it be in the US system? Majority party in the house of representatives?

Anyway, I think politics is vastly improved when parties can change the countries leader if they properly fuck up.

Trump would have been out months ago.

that is not a professional mental health professional

Punish the entire GOP for inflicting this debacle onto the country.

There's nothing wrong with one chamber (the Senate) not having proportional representation, as long as the other chamber (the House) does.

That, of course, is not the case. If we went to actual proportional representation, the House would need to expand to a couple thousand representatives.

That requires a parliamentary system with a parliamentary derived cabinet.

People need to push such constitutional change for individual states first.

This article is very much worth reading. It is a good historical examination of the historical evolution of the presidency. Perhaps it is time for us to take a real sobering look at our institutions of government, especially Congress. One could take a similar historical look at the evolution of our legislative branch (and our electoral process) and come to the conclusion that how we are being governed is no longer appropriate for the times nor in keeping with what our forefathers had hoped for. But who can you look to for change? Hard to imagine congress fixing itself.

Trump wants to become a dictator. The only thing preventing him from becoming one is the constitution, the courts, and his own stupidity.

When I say "proportional representation", I'm referring to voting systems where political parties get seats in proportion to the number of votes they get. Most modern democracies have it, but English-speaking countries tend to stick with the archaic "first past the post" system.

Donald certainly fell for that. He thought Obama had a king's power, and has had a very rude awakening about what he cannot now do.

I haven't met a person yet who approved of Obamas handling of the surveillance state, and I have lots of liberal/centrist friends. Nobody liked that.

The GOP doesn't need to be punished, the people need to be educated and vote them out. The constitution soundly addresses this debacle, but too many people are uninformed and don't utilize their right to fix it. Conservatives especially, who put party first and fall right in line after primaries are over.

I'd love to see statistics of what percentage of americans can name

The President

Their Governor

One of their two senators

Their US House representative

Their state legislature representative

Their Mayor

One member on their city/town counsel/board of Alderman

One member on their local school board.

I have a good guess of what the results would be like but would like to confirm it. As much as we pride America on democracy... we really don't care about the representatives that make it a democracy and really only focus on the "leader" rolls like President and Governor. We talk a lot about democracy but treat it like a monarchy.

Privatize registration. No thanks. Bad conflict of interest pops up with that.

They had to make room in their budget for Ice Town.

Would it really matter if a psychiatrist said Trump is a senile narcissist who's incapable of retaining information for more than five minutes? His voters wouldn't have been swayed by that elitist's opinion, and there's no mechanism for excluding a candidate from an election for being mentally unfit. The voters are supposed to be rational and make decisions that best serve the country, but the electorate has lost its damn mind.

Yet Trump’s authoritarian tendencies would not get him very far without a mechanism for enacting his wishes, and his nuclear threats make clear what that mechanism is: the Imperial Presidency. The powers of the office are not just those enumerated in the Constitution, but the extra-constitutional powers the presidency has acquired over the decades—especially the ability to start wars at whim. It’s taken someone as frightening as Trump to make plain that Congress must act to restrain not just the sitting president, but the office itself.

As a libertarian/classical liberal, y'all have no idea how excited I am to see an article saying this on this sub. If there's ONE good thing that could out of this presidency, it's that we'll finally realize as a country that we should limit that office's power.

the people need to be educated

This can't be done as long as facts are equated with being "fake news."

I've been saying this for years, but got nothing but pushback from people because they all loved Obama, but now that their guy isnt in the office, suddenly, the Presidency holds too much power.

I love how the media is taking the side of North Korea in these stories. As if North Korea hasn't been threatening the entire region for decades. The media hates Trump so much that they're willing to turn the other cheek to North Korea. Keep up the "good" fight, media.

Well, he also lacks any semblance of knowledge of how our government works

Town Costs Ice Clown His Town Crown

Yeah, I guess kind of like that. We're not talking about one party or another here. I think, overall, Obama did a good job as President, but I was (and still am) concerned with many of his actions expanding the power of the executive branch. Among other things.

Just as I was concerned about the same issues during Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld.

People need to stop with this "political parties as sports teams" shit, it's going to be the downfall of this country.

That sounds too British for the average American to even consider... we're America and if it isn't an American idea or in the Constitution it's dumb!

Probably his parents moved not his fault and you obviously needed to be brought into compliance with the ADA. Not the same thing at all no particular order.

Because it benefits the 2 big parties too much to ever be changed. Here in the Netherlands we have about 20 parties every election. If things are not working out, next election a combination of different parties will try again rather than just 2 parties taking turns fucking up.

One of the downsides is that there are 6 parties still trying to figure out who they can work with and get a majority after the election... three five months ago. But hey, id pick it over first past the post anyday.

Exactly, because those kids won't be growing up and doing anything that might affect you and your family.

I was golden until school board. Given a long enough time, I might think of one, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Also true, it's often less expensive for the town citizens to have county to run these services.

But it's hard to imagine being so far off budget that the expenses for your brand new fire station and engines becomes immediately too much to handle in less than a year. Unless their entire accounting and finance team is still in high school.

Well once he decides to postpone the 2020 election, we'll be well on our way to a solution to that problem.

This is one of the worst things about his presidency . . . The legacy of his speech patterns. People "talk" like him to mock him.

Eventually, these terms will stop being ironic and just be a part of our lexicon. Just like "strategery" is.

I don't want Trump to have a legacy for anything. He's a narcissist (DSM V). He wants to be famous, to be remembered. The best thing we could ever do is wipe him from memory and history.

That's what people thought about "Grab her by the pussy". It doesn't matter. He tells them what they want to hear, or they interpolate what they want to hear, and nothing that anyone tells them could sway their opinion. It's a cult of personality, and logic doesn't factor into their voting choices.

Americans are quite attached to the idea of voting in 'their guy', though. And having him for 4 years.

This still happens in a parliamentary system... Canada, the UK, Germany, Italy... all very famous for focussing a lot in the PM during elections.

Wow, this article is filled with delusion.

Getting Congress to "fix itself" would first require a majority of Americans to agree on 1) what's wrong with it, and 2) what we could do to fix it. Since 1 & 2 will never happen, it's not really worth mentioning the fact that Congress would likely balk at any proposed changes.

I've been saying it for years: if you want to change how government works, you have to start by changing the governed.

People often don't recognize the impact these local government votes can have. So this fight for the $15 minimum wage taking place in a number of large cities? The pilot program for that was SeaTac in 2012, where vote counts barely hit 4 digits. If that didn't pass it would have been dead before it even started. Some 1500 people were instrumental in moving forward the minimum wage debate on the national level.

As a non-American, the reverence for the founding fathers is mind-boggling. Their achievements were magnificent, certainly, but they were in the 18th century. The zeal with which some people hold fast to ideas which made sense 241 years ago borders on the religious.

Though now that I say it that way, perhaps it isn't so surprising.

Read this a few years ago on BBC news and thought it might be relevant here.

It is an interesting point of view!

I don't understand - why would private organizations have any interest in being able to directly influence the election via controlling who is on the registered voter rosters?


This is by design. I am not 100% certain of the assertions I am about to make, so please correct me if any of them are in error...

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration decided to force the concept of the unitary executive on our government, in order to circumvent the Democrat-controlled Congress, which they viewed as an enemy of the state. They believed that if Congress continued to stand in the way of Reagan doing pretty much whatever he wanted, the Cold War would be lost - or at least impossible to win.

They may have been right - after all the results speak for themselves: The Soviet Union collapsed and communism as it existed in the 1980s is basically extinct, in terms of national governments.

The concept of the unitary executive dates back to about five minutes after the signing of the Constitution, and it draws its justifications from the wording of Article II. The idea is that the wording can be read in such a way that makes it perfectly legal and right for the President to do anything that is not expressly forbidden in the Constitution.

Now, the argument that Reagan needed to use this kind of power to beat the commies is solid on its face, however; every president since Reagan has held onto the power he accumulated to the executive and expanded it where and when they could.

This is the justification for Gitmo. For warrantless wiretaps. For never-ending wars with no real goals that wind up distracting the population from pressing domestic issues, killing and crippling tens of thousands (if not more) Americans and millions of non-Americans around the world. For drone strike assassinations. For Trump's assertion that it is fundamentally impossible for the President to commit a crime because he is above the law, and if he is accused he can simply pardon himself. For all of the shit that our ancestors, if they could see us now, would flip their shit over.

The Republicans treat this concept like gospel, and in my opinion this is because they need the office of the Presidency in order to enact their agenda. They know the demographics are shifting to force them out of power in many places, but they know that if they can motivate enough people from their base to show up and vote in the right places they can squeak out a win in the electoral college even if they're significantly behind in the popular vote. This is all calculated - neither party is stupid, they're run by exceptionally intelligent, devious, ruthless, win-at-any-cost people who have one job: Win elections. As such, they have gotten pretty good at playing our system, our hearts, and our minds. This is why the presidential campaign for 2020 has already begun.

If I let myself, I'd end up writing a damned book here - but this article from The Atlantic explains things pretty well. If anyone is interested in reading further - and you should be if you're not familiar with this - just google it.

The imperial presidency is perhaps one of the greatest existential threats our nation has ever faced. It changes our system of government dramatically and basically gives us a kind-of-democratically-elected king. That is not American, it's the opposite of what this country stands for, and we should never tolerate it. All of the things I disliked about Barack Obama were related to the powers he utilized that had been gathered into the office by his recent predecessors, and I often heard people saying that he should go further, compromise less, put out executive orders, fuck the Republicans and their obstructionism. No. He shouldn't. Just because his policies and reforms are things I agree with does not mean we should undermine democracy in order to have them.

Forget party affiliations, this is for the nation, for the world, for democracy and freedom. End the unitary executive.

If you don't have kids, or go to a private school, who the school board is is kind of irrelevant.

Where were you guys during Obama's reign?

Trump destroyed our lexicon! SAD!

Except for school board that's ridiculously easy (and sad) for us in DC.

Donald Trump



N/A (Eleanor Holmes Norton if non voting delegates count)


Muriel Bowser

Vince Gray


We have a bunch of strict constructionist supreme court justices that believe the law is what was written by a bunch of slave owning owning white men. And if you think 3/4 of the states are going to agree on anything to ratify an amendment, you're just being naive.

That's how most dictators prefer to operate

Obama was a professor of constitutional law. Trump literally assembled people to look into changing the bill of rights.

Outright revolt by the states in response.

Most of the states may be red, but almost all the important ones are blue. They're not going to tolerate Dictator for Life Donald Trump. He lacks the popular support necessary to become a genuine dictator in the US system.

Don't forget to praise the founding fathers in this kind of conversation.

As soon as the author gets to Obama he softens his word choice. The entire article is biased and garbage. Save yourself the time and don't read it. #MAGA

There are way too many issues in society today for only two parties to address them all so everyone is represented. The two party system has failed and at this point I believe only having two parties is a threat to the nation and democracy.

Well, an amendment then. Obviously if something along these lines were to happen it would be an unbelievably stringent process and would be a big deal. But if we can't adapt and improve the democratic process and the process by which the most powerful leader in the world is elected, then we're just going backwards.

Most were still in grade school. Now it's HS and first year Uni

I no longer think Trump wants to be a dictator. He doesn't particularly want to be president. If it were up to him he would golf all the time and just funnel public money to himself and his family.

Am progressive - can confirm. There was a lot I didn't like about Obama, and I never believed that the President should have absolute authority over nuclear weapons regarding first strike. If we are going to kill a lot of people, then a lot of people should be making that decision, and it should be a clear and unquestionable majority vote.

We have a winner.

I don't think that's necessarily the case. The Congress, through its "advice and consent" power can already control who is seated on the judicial bench and in the cabinet. It's merely customary to allow the president to place who he wishes in those positions (and that custom has largely devolved into standard partisanship as of the last few presidencies). Same with the War Powers Act - Congress relinquished their authority to the president, but could always take it back - or treaties, or any other form of executive power. Congress has given it to the president, but it was never mandated that they do so.

Imagine if, instead, the tradition was for the Senate to hand the president a list of picks they found suitable for the bench or the cabinet. Or that the Speaker of the House, and not the President, was the focus of the party at the conventions and in the media. It would be quite a different dynamic, with the president more of a manager and administrator than a true executive and driver of policy.

Obviously breaking from those traditions may be extremely difficult and unpopular, but not a constitutional impossibility. Certainly the framers imagined Congress to be much more powerful than it is today, I think.

America would benefit massively if it converted to a parliamentary system. I'm sure of it.

It doesn't matter. In a parliamentary system they could easily replace Trump (if her were PM) by voting someone else to be their leader.

People say this is impossible but don't explain how it's different from online banking, which works fine.

This is not just a problem within the GOP. This is a systemic problem. The executive branch was never meant to have enough power to threaten the republic single-handedly.

All his information comes from Fox News, so he thought he was actually going to be able to run the government like a business.

Yes, despite what some would have you believe, we trust a number of government orgs with very important tasks and they do a reasonably good job. There is little objective evidence they private orgs do it better. They may do it more efficiently, but they tend to cover up mistakes they make, because it's in their best interest not to admit fault for issues. Think about the voting machine issues. How long did they say that their machines were flawless when any reasonably experienced person could tell you that no electronics system is immune to hacking? Then it turned out that one could hack some of them in less than 20 minutes.

Like when obama authorized increased surveillance power a few weeks prior to trump taking office? Lol

The president has too much power... Are liberals actually adopting conservative values?

Another " I'm a triggered liberal" opinion piece upvoted to the top. LOL!!!!

Why can't there ever be a fucking "both" option? It's all either or therefore making us choose a side and that's crap, you can weigh people's pros and cons without pushing your chips all in on one side or the other.

However with that being said Trump is a wart on this country's ass, meanwhile Obama was a President by every definition of the word, the closest Trump comes is spelling unprecedented "unpresidented" Trump is a buffoon and comparing him to Obama is like comparing a dried up senile orange to a well polished apple.

I can understand the appeal of not having to leave your house to vote, and how that would lead to greater "participation", but the whole point of ballot-box based voting is an inherent distrust of the system. Anyone can sign up to observe and count votes. You are shown the ballot box as being empty before voting begins, you can watch all day to make sure no one slips in a bunch of votes, you can watch the count afterward to make sure if the same and if you doubt the legitimacy of the count you can demand a recount.

How do you ensure the same level of transparency to someone who doesn't understand how a block chain works? To them, and there's a lot of them, it means that a bunch of people that Joe Bloggs can't verify as real people, have cast votes supposedly for candidate X, and thus candidate X has won. There's no opportunity for a recount because that is instantaneous, because the amount of votes counted by the computer are IN the computer.

Ballots are all about not trusting anyone or anything but your own eyes, which is why they work.

EDIT: this distrust extends to the government. Sure, everything goes great and you get an actually trustworthy agency and a proper popular vote that's completely decentralised. What happens when a not-so-trustworthy party gets in and doesn't feel like stepping down? Fire the trustworthy ones and instate their own agents.

There is no mechanism for educating the people. Any mechanism we tried to come up with would not go over well - even people who haven't been brainwashed would find the concept of an adult citizen reeducation program too Big Brother.

No, when you have this many adults whose brains are poisoned, it's pretty intractable. Last time this happened we had a Civil War. We might again. Lots of people would rather die than change their minds in a fundamental way. Much larger numbers of people would rather kill than change their minds in a fundamental way. They will not be reeducated.

The President of the US has too much power. It might also be healthier if people choose more between parties, their platforms and their people in the broad sense, rather than between 2 individuals.

This issue goes much further back than Trump, but removing the fake news meme is one step in the process.

Tell me about it. My town just had a local election, didn't even hit 15% participation. SAD!


Yes, let's put that kind of power in the hands of some doctors who could never be corrupted, right?

Well I'm not sure about the others, but here in the UK we often change our PM's mid way through a parliament.

Cameron quit last year, and we got May.

Blair quit, and we got Brown.

Thatcher got ousted by her party, and replaced with Major.

It's looking like May isn't going to last much longer either.

So yeah, we do focus on PM's a bit. But it's not the be all and end all like it seems to be in the USA. And there's a lot less personality politics in general, although it's creeping in.

You'll never hear a leader of a party say 'vote for me', it'll always be 'Vote for <party>'.

Because most countries with presidential systems were setup in politically unstable countries with rogue militaries and a weak constitution.

Did you know, Trump was probably the first person to unironically say "Thanks Obama!"?

When he became president and saw all the numerous ways that his executive power had been increased under the Obama administration, he sat back, grinned, and said, "Thanks, Obama!"

When I was a kid we raised thousands of dollars to get an elevator built for a kid with CP in my school. Year after he moved to a different school

If we're entering a period of electing crazy-ass presidents, the powers should definitely be rolled back.

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 88%. (I'm a bot)

Whatever limits there might have been on presidential power ended with 9/11. After President George W. Bush delivered a stirring speech in the weeks after the attack, presidential historian Michael Beschloss cheered on television that "The imperial presidency is back. We just saw it." Under the auspices of the unitary executive theory promulgated by Vice President Dick Cheney, the U.S. entered the era of warrantless wireless searches, the kidnapping and torture of terrorist suspects held indefinitely in secret prisons, and an undefined and undeclared global war on terror.

At the heart of the Imperial Presidency is the "Thermonuclear monarchy" enjoyed by the president, who has the ability to launch a nuclear war at will.

Trump's erratic actions show how dangerous the Imperial Presidency can be when the president is a madman.

Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: President#1 Presidency#2 Imperial#3 power#4 nuclear#5

You won't even impeach him.

the executive branch, D or R, has been steadily given too much authority starting with the War Powers Act. This isn't delusion. You just think that because your guy is the worst example.

Many countries have government organizations responsible for voting.

They generally report to the courts and cannot be affected by leadership change.

If he postpones the election, that's when we need to start a nationwide general strike and occupy every street, government office building, and city square. The whole country will need to grind to a crippling halt in order to prevent Trump from seizing full control of the government.

That's a great idea. Punish dissidents just like they do in communist and totalitarian regimes.

Can't find much reason to disagree. In fact we were warned of this issue by our first President..too bad we didn't listen. George Washington's parting address cautioned us against adopting the party structure we have today...he turned out to be 100% correct all those years ago.

While a bit off-topic to US politics, I always feel like the contrast with the UK being a de facto republic since arguably as far back as 1689 doesn't get enough attention either.

Congress could literally end the authorization of force and patriot act tommorow if they wanted.

There are more than 2 sides to most issues, actually... I can call Trump an idiot without being in support of NK.

Well yeah they only need 50%+1 in one legislature to pass things.

US needs 50%+1 in one, then 60% in another, then the executive to sign off.

It's supposed to be slow and deliberative by design.

They're not bringing it up apropos of nothing. There was a poll this week showing a slim majority of GOP voters would be OK with it, even given what you noted they thought about Obama.

It won't happen. Trump might suggest it, but I don't think Congress would get on board, and the courts would never allow it. It's just a crazy sign of how dangerously unmoored rightwing messaging has made their base.