Executive Power

Instead of Removing Trump From Power, Remove Power From the Presidency

After Watergate, Democrats rolled back executive power. Under Trump, they just want to be the ones who get to wield it.

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Now that Democrats have failed in their attempt to remove the president from power, it's worth asking why they haven't seriously considered the reverse: removing power from the president.

We have seen, over the 33 months since Donald Trump took the unusual step of firing FBI Director James B. Comey, any number of behavior-specific explanations for why the 45th president must go: For coordinating with the Kremlin, obstructing the Russia investigation, making "racist comments" about four congresswomen, saying he would accept "dirt" from foreign governments about his domestic political opponents and finally the House's two impeachment articles: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

But what we have not seen is anything like a structural critique of ever-accumulating executive branch power itself. Democrats don't like the way Trump uses his authority, but that doesn't mean they want any less of the stuff in the White House, particularly when they get back the keys. To the contrary.

In his response to Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night, leading presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) lamented that the tariff-happy president wasn't being punitive enough toward American companies. "The NAFTA 2.0 deal that he recently signed," Sanders said, "will not prevent a single corporation from shutting down factories in the United States and moving them to Mexico."

In her official Democratic Party response, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer focused not on Trump's monarchical gestures during the speech — granting a scholarship, promoting a veteran, presenting a Medal of Freedom on the spot, theatrically reuniting a military family — but rather, on all the things Democratic governors are accomplishing by executive fiat in defiance of their legislatures.

"Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers unilaterally increased school funding by $65 million last year," Whitmer bragged.

The Democratic presidential field, with the notable exception of faltering front-runner Joe Biden, has been engaging in a race to see who can make the most elaborate promises of immediate executive action. Forget 100 days; we're now talking 100 hours to see what that magical Oval Office pen and phone can do.

On Day One, President Elizabeth Warren would wipe out student loans for 42 million people, ban fracking "everywhere" and block any future fossil fuel leases on public lands and offshore. We are still awaiting the full Day One list from a future President Sanders, but we know it includes an executive order to "legalize marijuana in every state in this country."

Legalizing marijuana is a wonderful and long-overdue idea, but Sanders' way of getting there is not. Federal law, including the odious Controlled Substances Act, is constitutionally required to originate from or be struck down by either Congress or constitutional amendment. A presidency with enough power to legalize Activity X irrespective of Congress or the desires of states is a presidency with enough power to criminalize that same activity when the other team wins. It's a seesaw of authoritarianism, and we should all want to get off.

What's remarkable about the personal response to Trump's imperial actions is how completely different it is compared with the structural reaction against President Nixon's. Democrats (and some Republicans) in the wake of Watergate went on a spree of pruning back the runaway executive branch.

The 1973 War Powers Resolution reasserted the legislative branch's authority to declare war and approve emergency military actions. The 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act — which, fun fact, is the law Trump violated by withholding appropriated aid to Ukraine — sought to reestablish congressional power of the purse. The 1974 upgrade of the Freedom of Information Act was designed to prevent governments from hiding their activities. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was supposed to block warrantless snooping of U.S. citizens.

Even reciting the names of those reforms helps explain why anti-Trump animus has not translated into renewed skepticism of executive power. Presidents of both major parties, particularly during this century, have fought doggedly to break free from their institutional shackles. George W. Bush, with his high-ranking veterans from the Nixon administration, made rolling back the Watergate reforms a key philosophical aim. Barack Obama, after campaigning as a constitutionalist, made a mockery of war powers in Libya.

And the more tribal Congress has become, the more willing it has been to forfeit anything like the consistent application of constitutional prerogatives, particularly concerning the wielding of life-and-death military power.

For anyone who would like to once again see an independent legislature, the 99% partisan impeachment process in both chambers of Congress is cause for despair. As is the Democratic presidential field's will to executive power. If ever America is to get off the populist seesaw, we're going to need to root less for politicians, and more for the rules and mores than can restrain them.

This article originally appeared in the L.A. Times.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: February 8, 1941

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  1. Why stop there = remove power from the Presidency

    Restrict Congress over time to solely enumerated powers. That would be a huge help as well. While we are at it, could we repeal the 17th amendment?

    1. Reason seems to be in favor of legislative superiority as an ethos. There is a push on the left to go to a parliamentary system in this regard.

      I agree the power should be reduced entirely at the federal level. Some just want it shifted to congress.

      1. Reason seems to be in favor of legislative superiority as an ethos.

        AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        Not hardly. Whichever branch happens to be most rapidly advancing the goals of Marxism is the branch they’ll support on any given issue. Sometimes that means pleading for executive supremacy and decrying the legislature, sometimes it means pleading for legislative supremacy and decrying the executive, and most often it means pleading for judicial supremacy while decrying both the executive and the legislature. But make no mistake, they don’t give a flying fuck about anything except advancing Marxism.

        1. You could be right. I wasnt as active during the obama years here. Were they arguing executive supremacy then?

          1. No. They criticized him every step of the way. But that was different because God Emperor Trump wasn’t in the White House. Now any article criticizing Trump or advocating for reducing executive power is twisted by the right-wing trolls into an endorsement for liberalism or communism or something. It’s stupid and dishonest. The inmates have taken over the asylum.

            1. You sound pretty pathetic how you launched into the god empire bs without prodding. Just a heads up. Nobody here was actually even stating anything about Trump.

              1. Nobody here was actually even stating anything about Trump.

                Only a moron would fail to see that it was heavily implied.

                1. Lol. God, this is just proof of your TDS. He actually just mentioned reason and left leaning. You turned this into talking about Trump. His implication was about Reason’s political leanings, not trump.

                  1. Reason was never accused of being left-leaning until the Trumpistas came in and shouted it from the hilltops whenever they were critical of Dear Leader.

                    If you admit to not being here before Trump, then you have no basis on which to make a comparison.

                    1. The sharp turn left has been in response to Trump. He has made center right seem like Nazism to those who are repulsed by his vulgarity. It’s a purity issue, and KMW et al don’t want to be seen as unclean.

                    2. Reason was never accused of being left-leaning until the Trumpistas came in and shouted it from the hilltops whenever they were critical of Dear Leader.

                      Untrue. Accusations began right around when members of the Reason staff announced their votes for Obama in 2008.

                      Remember The Libertarian Case for Obama?

              2. sarcasmic lies.

                While skimming through the “Barack Obama” reason articles from 2016, hardly one a week. They all seem to drag in Trump (HAHA, unreason knew TDS was a goldmine). Funny that unreason does at least a few Trump articles a day now.

                You will also note that every article criticizing Obama’s drug, foreign, and criminal justice policy has a much more family dog tone. “Well, Obama should stop the drug war but he’s our Chocolate Jesus, so oh well.” Of course, none of the demeaning language that unreason uses against Trump.

            2. Bullshit. We just decry the hypocrisy that suddenly executive power isn’t ok because TDS. I don’t know anyone here, save for the progtards, that wouldn’t like to see federal authority and overreach reduced.

              However, it is bullshit when it only applies to Trump.

          2. Also notice that when there is an article with something positive about Trump the usual suspects are conspicuously absent. But the next critical article will have a hundred comments calling Reason a left-wing rag that praises Democrats and never says anything positive about Trump. They are liars.

            1. Please do post an example. Because the last one positive on trump had many applauding Reason especially last week. You probably didnt notice because you are actually virulently anti trump and are projecting your own behaviors.

              1. I’m virulently anti-Trump? Really? When have I said that?

                Know what, never mind. I’ll just lump you in with the trolls.

                1. Yeah. You are. You wander into every fucking thread and start calling everyone trump dick suckers.

                  Even in threads that dont mention him all you do is talk about him.

                  It is even so bad that you follow sqrsly and ABC (same person I know) and claim everyone who disagrees with you is a trumpista.

                  You cant argue honestly anymore.

                  1. There is a difference between disagreement and being a Trumpista.

                    Trumpistas reflexively defend Trump on anything.

                    Trumpistas reflexively accuse anyone who disagrees with them of TDS.

                    Trumpistas reflexively accuse Reason of being a leftist rag whenever they are critical of Trump.

                    From what I can see, you’re a Trumpista.

                    So I’ll just lump you into the same bucket as lc, Nards, Shitlord and all the other right-wing trolls.

                    1. I accuse Reason of being a leftist rag because Reason is a leftist rag.
                      Criticism of Trump is part of that, but not the whole or cause.
                      Just look at articles from Soave, Bailey, ENB – they’re not about Trump, they’re about promoting leftist narratives.
                      SJWism is essentially correct, it just goes too far sometimes, and conservatives are just as bad! Global warming change is real and only opposed by deniers, but we can control the planet with mostly private industry! War on porn!
                      You’re in denial, sarc

                    2. And you lead off threads bitching about Trump supporters. And when I say lead off, I mean post the first comment on the article to say nothing except Trump supporters are going to bitch.
                      It’s weird and unhealthy.
                      Some people like Trump – get the fuck over it or stop whining that people don’t want to have “conversations”.

                    3. From the perspective of a half-educated, slack-jawed, bigoted, Republican incel, everything left of Stormfront is a commie abomination.

                    4. Is that you, Nancy?

                    5. Kirkland, mom just called. She said it’s time for your meds.

                    6. Oh fuck off. I’m not the troll Sarc, you are. I just call bullshit on progtards, and torture scum like Hihn, Pedo Jeffy, Orignal Buttplug, etc. as they are admitted kiddie rape enthusiasts and raving lunatics.

                      You’re the one whining how everyone who likes what Trump does is a ‘Trumpista’. Even though for the last three years he’s been more libertarian than most of the writers at Reason. And a Trump makes no claims to being libertarian.

                  2. Sarcasmic hates to have his Anarchist label brought up because it lumps into some basket and he’s too kewl to be in a group.

                    Then he lumps me as some devout Trump supporter when I didnt vote for Trump in 2016 and regularly discuss the few things that I think Trump was 100% wrong about (bumpstock ban).

                    It’s so easy to egg sarcasmic on. He’s got wet brain by now.

                    1. Then he lumps me as some devout Trump supporter when I didnt vote for Trump in 2016

                      Yeah, referring to Trump as the best President in US history will get you that label.

                    2. I think Trump is the best President in the last 100 years, but I didn’t vote for him and never will.
                      Because I’m a Canadian.

                  3. If you don’t want to be accused of sucking trumps wrinkly orange dick, stop sucking trumps wrinkly orange dick. Seems pretty easy to me

          3. Yes, there were plenty.

            1/28/13 – “Obama’s Unconstitutional Power Grab”
            11/9/12 – “Obama Poised To Stretch Executive Power in Battle With Congress”
            1/8/16 – “Obama’s Legacy is Executive Abuse”
            4/5/11 – “Obama and Executive Power: How’s that Hope and Change Working Out?”
            2/6/14 – “Obama’s Executive Order Tyranny”
            8/2/11 – “Obama’s Top Four Power Grabs”
            9/22/14 – “Barack Obama, Imperial President”

            And even if you think they weren’t critical of Obama (which is completely untrue), saying that Reason is a Marxist publication is retarded.

            1. Uh, that’s 7 articles over a three-year span; about what Trump gets in a week or so. I’m not seeing any indication of Marxism either, but the Trump-focus is obvious, and the articles never fail to claim corruption/broken laws, etc, where none are shown.
              Further, in spite of being the guy who has accomplished more toward libertarian ends, the best Reason can do is damn with faint praise in the rare positive article.
              He’s a blowhard and a loose cannon, and he’s still done better by libertarians than anyone since Silent Cal.

              1. “Uh, that’s 7 articles over a three-year span

                Five-year span, but yes, they’re the first articles I found after searching “Obama Executive Power”. Forgive me for not finding every Obama-critical article posted here, but I assure you there are more.

                I’m not saying that Reason doesn’t goes harder against Trump than they did against Obama. I think that’s true, and I do think that Trump’s lack of decorum or whatever you wanna call it is a big part of the cause. But people who say that Reason is a Marxist/Communist/Leftist publication are retarded, and people who say that Reason never took Obama to task for abusing executive power are simply lying.

                1. and I do think that Trump’s lack of decorum or whatever you wanna call it is a big part of the cause.

                  Agreed, but isn’t that what makes it all so obnoxious? If we don’t have any regard or respect for public institutions to begin with, who cares? Substantive complaints are one thing, but that requires consistency and self awareness to be taken seriously. This publication is somewhat consistent, but most certainly NOT self aware. In fact, it’s impossible to be an ala carte, left-leaning, Sarwark style libertarian and have any awareness at all.

        2. Reason is now in favor of advancing Marxism? Is that what the resident right-wing trolls have decided to screech throughout 2020?

          1. If you don’t suck Trump’s dick then you’re a Marxist or an anarchist. There is no other possible explanation.

            1. Just pathetic how you cant even get through an article or comment section without talking about sucking trumps dick.

              Maybe you’re the one with the issue. Just a thought.

            2. But you an authoritarian, goose-stepping, woke Marxist ally, sarcasmic.
              Why pretend otherwise? Aren’t you guys proud of your hate?

          2. Trolls? One person made the claim. Why the plural? Tds affects some of you oddly.

            1. Why the plural? Tds affects some of you oddly.

              Accusations of TDS are the mark of a right-wing troll.

              1. The first 3 people to talk about trump in this thread were you, eric and jeff. On a thread nobody was talking about him.

                Are you that fucking blind?

                1. sarasmic is like a lunatic. He doesn’t know he has TDS?

                2. What are you even talking about. This is my first post in this thread.

                  1. I’ll defend you here, as you have likely been focused on your kiddie porn.

            2. “TDS affects some of you oddly”

              Tds works both ways you know. Look at you “libertarians” tripping all over yourselves to figuratively fellate a big-govt asshat just because he’s now on the right team.

        3. “advancing Marxism”

          LOL

          Reason is funded by Charles Koch, whose net worth is $60,000,000,000. Literally every policy Reason promotes regarding immigration, regulation, tariffs, and the minimum wage is intended to make Mr. Koch even richer. This is the opposite of Marxism.

          1. It’s utterly impressive how envious the Anti-Koch crowd can be.

            “Heaven forbid Charles Koch donate a $1 of charity to a publication that spreads news in a way that he might believe in. I’m sure EVERY one of his charitable donations are just corruption used to boost his wealth and that developing fracking had absolutely NOTHING to do with it.”, screams the Wacko-Birds.

            “I’m sure ALL Koch Industrial members must be completely incompetent horrible-idea imbeciles that have to resort to criminal-like tactics to gain wealth and don’t have a pin-head of good-ideas to their name. They are obviously too stupid to bring us a new way to mine for oil that would boost energy resources 10-fold.”

            “No — They aren’t the brilliant assets of society; they must be the scum of the earth for ACTUALLY enhancing human life by making the resources humans use more accessible.”

            I’ve heard many times on here about how socialism creates the lowest common denominator. When I see this Anti-Koch mob mentality sometimes I wonder if destroying human progress and the American lifestyle out of pure envy isn’t the whole story of every left minded individual. They are quite a hateful and resentful crowd. They do represent 73% of the prison’s criminally minded population.

        4. Never go full retard, bro.

          1. You should lead him by example Jeff.

          2. Pedo Jeffy knows that through extensive experience.

            1. It’s funny because it’s true.

      2. Well, a congress is more like a Central Committee.

      3. They didn’t seem that way regarding Ron Paul’s earmarks. They seemed to prefer executive agencies to decide where the money would go. Because, you know, scientific.

    2. Repealing the 17th would be pointless. It didn’t pass the Senate until after 2/3rds of states had already adopted state constitutional rules requiring the state legislature to name the winner of a state election as Senator.

      1. No, I disagree with you there, DRM. The 17th amendment disrupted the balance between the states and the federal government. It prioritized the interest of political parties, instead of the interests of the states.

        1. No, it didn’t. The balance was already disrupted because two-thirds of the states had already implemented direct elections that bound the legislature. The 17th simply was the capstone on a new order already established.

          If the 17th had never passed, every Senator would, by now, already be popularly elected, just as without any amendment to the original procedure all Presidential electors are elected rather than (as was originally done) selected by the state legislatures.

          Repeal would only have any value at all if it went further, adding an utter prohibition on the states consulting their populations on the question, and that’s even more of a pipe dream than repealing the 17th.

          1. DRM…not disputing what you said, but could you please name those states which had a direct election of Senators prior to 1913? I cannot find a cite for that.

            I don’t think you have any evidence to back the blanket statement: If the 17th had never passed, every Senator would, by now, already be popularly elected, just as without any amendment to the original procedure all Presidential electors are elected rather than (as was originally done) selected by the state legislatures.

            How did you make that leap?

            I don’t think we can prohibit the states from determining how they carry out their functions. SCOTUS ruled on that when they heard the ‘Jungle Primary’ case for CA.

            1. That’s no leap. It’s the obvious step even a blind person would’ve made after walking that far in that direction.

            2. “By 1912 . . . 33 states had introduced the use of direct primaries.”

              Now, calculate the percentage that is 33/48, that being the number of states in 1912.

              1. Just to put some color on your earlier statement “rules requiring the state legislature to name the winner of a state election as Senator”: your cite is actually to the use of direct primaries, and under the direct primary system, the nominee for a party’s US Senate candidate was determined by a primary election, but who became Senator was still determined by the state legislature. Thus the composition of the state legislature mattered, as well as the loyalty of a state legislator to vote for the nominee of his party.

                Also, you said “2/3rds of states had already adopted state constitutional rules requiring”, but in three of the 33 states, the primary election result was considered advisory (and without having done all the research, I wonder if all of those states put those rules in their state constitutions).

      2. It would not be pointless. States choosing to determine Senators by popular vote is not the same as being required to do so.It would not be pointless. States choosing to

    3. The idea that repealing the 17th amendment will get us back to a smaller more originalist government is wishful thinking. I don’t want the legislatures of New York, Illinois, or California picking our Senators. Their sole mandate would be looting out national treasury for their public employees and bloated pensions.

      The same era that gave the federal government access to almost unlimited funds with an income tax also removed the state legislatures control over federal spending. That was probably a good idea.

      1. I disagree, Kaz. You state that three states with uber-lib senators will somehow dominate the chamber? Total nonsense. I am not buying that one.

        The problem we have is too much power concentrated in the Federal government, and the national political parties. That power and control needs to be diffused. The most efficient way I see is to repeal the 17th amendment, and start paring back federal functions to enumerated powers only.

        1. He didn’t say they’d dominate the chamber, just that, if anything, their motivations would be worse than those we have elected as is. And he’s right.

      2. I don’t want the legislatures of New York, Illinois, or California picking our Senators. Their sole mandate would be looting out national treasury for their public employees and bloated pensions.

        Those three states already have two Democrat Senators each.

    4. The problem with reducing executive power is that in the current political climate what will get reduced is the power of the Chief Executive, not the power of the executive branch and its agencies. That must be reduced FIRST.

  2. Finally, a rational, reasonable libertarian response to Trump, despite the initial TDS in the article.

    1. Slightly. The article just asks to put the powers back to Congress, not reduce the power of the fed.

    2. Indeed, was encouraged by the headline, refreshed by the authorship, and then, sure enough, the equivocating TDS nonsense. Americans’ cultural obsession with celebrity is a problem, compounded by an ignorance and/or misunderstanding of the framing of our country.

  3. Great info. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance (reason). I’ve bookmarked it for later!
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  4. The problem here is Congress. Congress has ceded powers to the Presidency because they do not wish to do their job and legislate. Unless Congress can get its act together and addresses iteme like budgeting, immigration reform, infrastructure, etc, it will be left to the President to do by executive action.

    1. Well shit, being in congress looks fun. They get to have campouts on the house floor, super secret meetings, squeeze women’s boobies while they sleep. Hell, they even use to beat each other up right on the floor. Combine that with a ludicrous salary and great benefits, why would you actually want to work. You can just stay in congress for years making money without having to do anything, and then get a pension.

    2. The SCOTUS may help you here. The stars seem to be aligning toward overturning Chevron and agency deference. If/When that happens, Congress will be forced to legislate. The practical effect is far fewer laws and a lot more omnibus bills, IMO.

      1. I personally hope they replace Chevron with a new theory where every vague law gets struck down completely and not amended by either the courts or the judiciary.

        1. Agencies or judiciary*

        2. Justice Gorsuch has led the charge on Chevron and agency deference. I’d like to see that end, and the Congress step into that breach.

    3. I frequently disagree with you m4e but, this.

      One branch has effectively abdicated its responsibilities, seeking to keep only power and privilege.

      Unfortunately, that won’t change until we stop returning 98% of them to office. And *that* won’t change until… well, suggestions welcome. Personally, I vote against incumbents probably 90% of the time.

      1. I would suggest that part of the problem is the drawing of congressional districts. Allowing partisan redistricting has made far too many districts noncompetitive. Hence once your in your probably in for life. If more districts were competitive swing districts candidates would have to work for the district not just their base in the district.

        1. No. The problem was direct election of senators.

          1. Bingo. The Senate was there to do their state’s business. They were answerable to someone other than the moneybags in two national parties.
            Congress ceded their authority to the executive, to the bureaucracy and to the courts.
            They’re too busy raising money to do much else except making bribe taking legal.
            40 years ago Abscam was a major scandal of congress and others selling influence for cash. Now the major scandal is trying to look into it, It’s an impeachable offense.

          2. That’s the problem in the Senate.

            The problem in the House is the substantial hierarchy (due to sheer numbers), and the geographic representation structure. Voters have a clear incentive to send their rep back, because that rep gains power with seniority, and can bring home more bacon.

            If voters had an option to cast their House vote at-large– in another district– the more poisonous reps (you know who I’m looking at) could be dislodged.

            1. Good God what a terrible idea.

              It’s the house districts in metropolitan districts with 80-20 majorities that have the votes to remove all the comes from the rural districts.

              “If voters had an option to cast their House vote at-large– in another district” then Devin Nunes would be toast, and Maxine Waters would still get elected every 2 years with solid majorities.

            2. One way to address the hierarchy problem in the House. Expand the size of the House. Minimally, I would triple the size of the House to ~1,300 members. It would also usher in third and fourth and fifth parties along with ideological diversity.

        2. partisan redistricting?

          What is non-partisan redistricting?

          We just need to find the RIGHT top men for that, amirite?

          1. Yeah, whenever a liberal complains about gerrymandering and “partisan redistricting,” that’s code for, “we don’t have the authority right now and we want it.” Creating “balanced districts” inevitably results in creating a district that favors Democrats just enough to not lose subsequent elections.

          2. It’s just code words for “we want to use our urban vote surplus to elect radicalism the suburbs and rural areas.”

  5. “Legalizing marijuana is a wonderful and long-overdue idea”
    Should read “legalizing all drugs is a wonderful and long overdue idea”. Right Welch?

    1. He just wants his.

      1. Reason has literally not once in their entire history suggested legalizing anything other than pot and club drugs. Poor nigras and latinax are getting hassled by The Man for pot and speed, you see. The white trash appalachian hill folk rotting in prison for meth and oxycodone can go fuck themselves. It’s literally nothing but identity politics shit here.

        1. Yeah, they NEVER speak out about the evils in the war against pills.

          Y’all are fucking nuts. Reason is certainly left leaning, but this idea that they’re some Marxist identity politics rag only shows how much people read only what they want.

          1. They’ve only been accused of being left leaning since trump took office and a bunch trolls moved in. They were anti everything obama. They’re anti trump now, but certainly not left wing. It’s such a ridiculous and baseless criticism. Almost like trump trolls are supremely ignorant or delusional.

            1. Almost like trump trolls are supremely ignorant or delusional.

              Almost?

              1. It is amazing how this thread the entire morning was free of left vs right except for one comment before the TDS brigade showed up.

                1. Upthread you said you weren’t here during the O’Bummer years. So you have no basis for comparison. Admittedly. Then when you ask if things were different, and get an answer lamenting how comments have gone to shit thanks to right-wing trolls, you launch into accusations of TDS and such. Maybe it’s because you’re one of the trolls who turned the comments section into a bucket of piss.

                  1. Jesus fucking christ. Learn to fucking read.

                    “I wasnt as active during the obama years ”

                    Doesnt mean I wasnt here.

                    You really are turning pathetic.

                    The only mention of trump was you, jeff and eric dummy.

                    Can you get over your issues and go back to trying to have honest arguments?

                  2. Sarc, just admit you’re wrong, and beg us for forgiveness. It’s the only honorable path for you.

            2. Well that isnt true at all. But please continue with bald assertions.

              Reasons main problem is they situate their writers and editors in blue urban areas like D.C. and NY. That is why they get the leftist slants. They rarely hit on issues that non urban areas actually care about like land rights and federal land grabs against wester states. They will make occasional mention, but only casually.

              Reason has always been left leaning. Heritage has leaned a bit more right.

            3. Oh, yes, I must have just imagined all the attacks on Reason for being left-leaning when, for example, they ran a series in ’08 with a whole bunch of people announcing they were voting for Obama. The whole exodus of the frustrated Glibertarians, who were the core of the Reason commentariat for years, was just my imagination, too.

              Seriously, is there someone holding a fucking gun to your head demanding you blatantly lie?

          2. The Trumpsters are convinced that they are the real victims and nothing will change that.

            1. We’re not victims Pedo Jeffy, we’re heroes. And you’re the Gilliam’s, or in your case, the villain’s assistant subasshoke henchman. But you’re too cowardly to take me on.

              So go kill yourself.

              1. ‘Villains’.

  6. Good grief. If you want to reduce governmental power, start with the commerce clause. It’s the camel’s nose on steroids. Rein it in.

    1. Sorry, accidentally hit the flag button. Reason, fuck this bullshit, go back to the way it was.

  7. “Trump’s monarchical gestures during the speech — granting a scholarship,”

    Granting scholarships from your own pocket book (reports day DeVos is paying this scholarship) is monarchial?

    1. Yes, yes it is. A grand and meaningless public gesture is exactly monarchical.

      If he wants to be generous, he could start by not billing secret service 650 a night per agent when he golfs (which has been 1/3 of his presidency).

      1. Please jeff, tell us how meaningless it was to the recipient. Glad you think black children should suffer in shit schools.

        Why did you suddenly start caring about SS costs dummy? You didnt give a shit when obama flew af1 to transport his stupid dog.

        1. Not shocking: Trump’s State of the Union claim to take a girl from a failing school was a total lie

          https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1917718

          1. Cool story bro.

          2. Thought you said you weren’t sticking around, OG/Pod. Been a tough week for you, hasn’t it?

          3. Not a lie, just poor investigation by the staff.

            You think Trump found this kid? Haha!

      2. You’re still paying the Secret Service to guard Obama’s empty house in Chicago 24 hours a day.

      3. I would be OK if he spent a lot more time playing golf.

    2. Sure it’s monarchial, nothing wrong with that. Most of the Presidency’s powers, pardons, commander in chief, appointment power devolved from the powers of the King of England to the President in the constitution. Europe also had a few countries that had elected monarchies, with Electors. The real innovation was the 4 year term with re-election, and the popular vote for selecting Electors.

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  10. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Now that your pathetic coup attempt failed a 2nd time and your best shot at the presidency is Elizabeth Warren suddenly you’ve discovered the virtues of a restrained executive again.

    1. Warren is terrific, but don’t forget Mayor Pete. He has plenty of billionaire supporters so Koch / Reason libertarians need to give him strong consideration.

      #BillionairesKnowBest

    2. Who are you taking to? Or is it too cold today on your street corner?

      1. It’s Tulpa.

        1. So he is on his street corner then.

          1. Don’t know, but you’re likely manning your gloryhole.

            1. I love it when you get sexual with me on these threads Shitty. So hot.

        2. No it isn’t.

  11. Less insane than the usual anti-Trump nonsense. Congrats to Reason for baby steps away from deranged storytelling about the bogeyman Trump and back toward a focus on liberty.

    1. Amen, brother.

    2. Dont worry, the TDS threesome decided to skip in and try to pull reason back to the cliff.

  12. “After Watergate, Democrats rolled back executive power. Under Trump, they just want to be the ones who get to wield it.”

    There are a number of differences between Watergate and the Trump impeachment. In the case of President Trump’s impeachment, not even Collins or Murkowski would vote to remove him from office–and that may be the only time those two haven’t voted against him in a significant vote. They didn’t vote in Trump’s favor because they like him. They were presumably avoiding political suicide–like that time Amash fell on his sword for no good reason.

    In the case of President Nixon, the American people were so opposed to him in the wake of Watergate, Representatives and Senators in Nixon’s own party were afraid to face the wrath of the voters if they didn’t impeach him.

    You see the difference there?

    If you want to limit the power of the president, short of impeachment, you need to public opinion in to do it. The American public wanted to limit the power of the president in the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate. In the aftermath of Trump’s impeachment, his opinion ratings among the American people have gone up. According to Gallup’s last survey, President Trump’s approval ratings were higher than they’ve ever been at any time in his presidency, and that poll was taken before the debacle in Iowa, before President Trump’s state of the union address, and before President Trump was acquitted by the Senate.

    If there’s public support to limit the president’s power in the wake of Trump’s impeachment, it’s only apparent in the people of Iowa’s desire to limit the power of Joe Biden to win the nomination and become president. If public opinion is a danger to anybody else’s power in the wake of the Trump impeachment, it’s a danger to the power of the press in the wake of their disgusting, biased, and pathetic coverage. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but people are fed up with the press already.

    Just as one example . . .

    When you want to limit the power of the president in the wake of the Trump impeachment, what power do you want to limit–the power to ask a foreign government for information about an American politician who’s bragging about his corruption on national television? Are you saying that there should be a law to prevent presidents from going after politicians who brag about being corrupt on television? Have you completely lost your mind?

    1. Agree, popular sentiment doesn’t want to hear this right now, but it’s still TRTTD.

      When you want to limit the power of the president in the wake of the Trump impeachment, what power do you want to limit

      I’ve got one acronym for you: AUMF.

      1. I’m all with that.

        I’m not sure that’s tied to the impeachment.

    2. You gloss right over the violation of law involved in withholding ukraine aid.

      1. Biggest. Scandal. In. World. History.

        #TrumpUkraine

      2. Lol. Jeff still thinks GAO is a judicial agency.

      3. You seem to be glossing over the fact that the aid was granted, the president was acquitted, and that if you don’t want the president to inquire with foreign government about your corrupt activity in other countries, then that sort of thing can be avoided by not bragging about your corrupt activities in foreign countries on television.

      4. The same one Biden bragged about violating? Or was it the late library book return?

      5. The House chose to gloss over any statutory crimes that may have existed by refusing to bring any charges on such grounds, not Ken. If you believe Trump committed statutory crimes, why the fuck haven’t you been spending the last few months denouncing Pelosi for deliberately choosing not charge Trump with them?

      6. There was no violation of law. You’re an idiot. Kill yourself.

    3. Again it is Congress that must act to retake power. The public can not take back power directly. They can do it by insisting that Congress take back power. One suggestion to start with, make your Congress people answer the question “Will you repeal or significantly restrict the President’s authority to use force”. Elect only candidates who answer yes.

      1. Congress doesn’t want to do anything because they don’t want to be held responsible for anything. It’s easier to let the President make all of the decisions and fight it out in the courts. Then they can rally for or against the action after the fact, depending on how the decision works out and how their home district feels about it. They don’t want to risk their ride on the gravy train.

      2. “Again it is Congress that must act to retake power. The public can not take back power directly.”

        The reason Congress isn’t acting in the wake of the Trump impeachment is because–in their judgement–the American people don’t want that.

        That wasn’t the case with Nixon. Congress acted in aftermath of the Nixon impeachment because the American public–in both parties–were screaming for change.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWkw5NB3-ZI

      3. What incentive is there for congress to do anything differently?

      4. “Again it is Congress that must act to retake power. The public can not take back power directly. “

        All that’s needed to recapture power is to call an an Article V state convention; 2/3-3/4 states needed, draft/ratify, respectively.

        Any amendment is possible, and congress couldn’t do a damn thing about it. Not easy, but perfectly constitutional.

        1. Reshufflex….That is a spectacularly bad idea = to call an an Article V state convention

          It is fraught with all kinds of mischief.

          1. Bring a bottle of whiskey, and keep your zipper up.

        2. +10000

  13. A lot of distance has been made from our founders ideals and Constitution. Every bill in Congress involves the two parties quid pro quo. And diminishing federal power is crucial to maintaining our republic.

  14. Wouldn’t Queen Elizabeth’s first day actions make her vulnerable to the “Abuse of Power” impeachment articles tossed at the current President? Oh wait, QEW has a D after her name.

    1. A “get out of jail D” card

    2. I think every president from now on will be impeached. It’s sour grapes all around.

      1. If they want to spend all of their time impeaching each other, I’m fine with that.

      2. And you applauded it the last year and a half.

        1. sarcasmic is too scared to move away from the USA and buy some land with his other Anarchist comrades to start Anarchy-Land.

          They need the USA to implode and then from the ashes, Anarchy-land will take shape!

          1. So did you ever figure out the difference between anarchy and minarchy? Just curious, I remember you were having a really hard time with that a while back.

          2. Poor sock troll bignose. He thinks people are going to reply to his coders demands.

      3. Bah, “from now on”? Nothing in the Constitution bans impeachment of people who used to hold office. The next Republican House can go ahead and impeach every single Democratic President back to Buchanan (except Andrew Johnson), with the same article of impeachment in every single case:

        “For committing the same high misdemeanor as President Donald J. Trump, viz., defeating a politician of the same party as the current House majority in a Presidential election.”

      4. There is one way to avoid that, punish the Democrats soundly at the polls. If you like routine impeachments then reward them, if you don’t it, then punish them.

        1. Yes!!!! = There is one way to avoid that, punish the Democrats soundly at the polls. If you like routine impeachments then reward them, if you don’t it, then punish them.

          Exactly this. The ultimate check against impeachment is the ballot box.

  15. We need to remove power and money from all levels of government.

    1. You cant remove money but you can reduce power that money buys

      1. You reduce spending and taxes, you reduce money, which reduces power because there is less to give away.

  16. While we’re discussing things that will never happen, how about multi-party?

    1. Because Americans cannot wrap their heads around that. They just won’t. Israel has that and a whole different way of democracy. Not saying it is better or worse. Both actually.

      Ask most Americans even supposed libertarian types here and they will tell you that voting for anyone other than R or D is “throwing your vote away” that is the mindset here. They will vote for the one they hate least.

      I don’t know how that happened in our history.

    2. Ranked-choice voting.

      1. Actual enumeration of votes works just fine, thank you very much.

  17. A thoughtful returns to Reason, after his quarter-century absence.

    His question was both proven and illustrated by Trumpistas AGAIN showing their raging contempt for one of our core founding principles: three equal branches. More power to their Orange Fuhrer

    1. Fuck off, Hihn.

    2. Speaking of people who should commit suicide…….

      On a side note, according to the enemies list on his website, I’m the greatest enemy of all.

  18. Re executive-branch “legalization” of MJ – strictly it was never *illegalized* since the federal MJ laws are unconstitutional.

    The Pres can, in my humble opinion, simply say so – “the Supreme Court is wrong, these laws are unconstitutional, if you want me to enforce them, sue me.” (Pull out of the UN controlled substances treaty, of course.)

    Which is the worse violation of the “rule of law” – an unconstitutional statute, or a Pres who refuses to enforce it?

    1. Of course, I don’t think Bernie will suddenly convert to a narrow interpretation of the Commerce Clause, not even to save the sacred MJ.

  19. Fixing government is simple, apply the NAP i.e. prohibit it from initiating force.

  20. The same concept applies to crony capitalism and money in politics. You cannot really blame the corpoations and rich people from trying to buy favoritism from government, they’re just being scorpions and it’s in their nature. If the government didn’t have any favoritism to sell…

    1. OK, but some kinds of favoritism are worse than others.

      Paying protection money to avoid arbitrary rules is one thing, bribing a politician to regulate your competitors is worse.

  21. Both parties wield power like a club when they have it, and cry about it’s abuse when out of power. Neither side is far sighted enough to do anything to limit power when in power, figuring they will never be out of power again. Don’t expect much to change.

  22. Our problem isn’t an “imperial presidency”, it’s an imperial, centralized government. And Congress and the Supreme Court are far bigger offenders in that regard than Congress.

    But, then, we already knew that Reason wants a majoritarian, powerful centralized nation state, with a sprinkling of free sex, free drugs, no-tariff-imports, and open borders. Because that’s “libertarianism” Washington style.

    1. Edit: And Congress and the Supreme Court are far bigger offenders in that regard than the presient.

  23. Good headline but it should be removing power from the federal government. This should be done by the states.

  24. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Reason manage to condemn Trump for an executive order outside a proper understanding of Article III, without saying it was ‘just as bad’ when Obama did it (nonsense), or that Democrats will be worse when [if] Trump is out of power. For a publication that purports to be concerned with principles over partisanship, it seems strange that they cannot (even one time) just focus on what the bad guy is doing right now. This partisanship just reminds me that you are the same hacks that mocked critics of Trump’s obvious authoritarianism as having “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

    Why do you tiptoe around criticism of an openly authoritarian monster? Are you cowards, or on the take?

    1. New here, aren’t you?

  25. Under Trump, they just want to be the ones who get to wield it. Good Article.
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  26. I wonder why all the comments are about Trump, and not about the unaccountable power of the federal drones.
    After, the stupid legislature passes guidelines posing as law, and defers to the executive branch to create “regulations” that get enforced as laws. There is the real abuse of power. The supremes should start striking down anything pretending to be a law that was not debated and passed by both houses of the legislature.

    1. I wonder why all the comments are about Trump, and not about the unaccountable power of the federal drones.

      Because Trump keeps thwarting them.

      Because Trump has revealed the Deep State. The Interagency. The mountain of unelected bureaucrats that wield power without responsibility.

      And he must be destroyed.

  27. “A presidency with enough power to legalize Activity X irrespective of Congress or the desires of states is a presidency with enough power to criminalize that same activity when the other team wins.“

    I don’t like excessive executive power, but this doesn’t seem true. There’s a huge, categorical difference between choosing not to enforce a law, and “enforcing” a non-existent law.

    1. And, yes, they could “re-criminalize” the same law. But that’s just a return to the status quo.

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  34. “[E]ver-accumulating executive branch power?”

    How about the ever-accumulating legislative branch power???
    Have you ever read Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution, along with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments?

    So long as Congress is un-moored from its constitutional restraints, I want a strong executive to confound it. Especially with a socialist party intent on fundamentally transforming America further away from its constitutional promise of liberty and justice for all. Especially when that socialist party is managed by the likes of Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Chuck Schumer, and official record-ripper Nancy Pelosi.

    And President Trump is doing a fantastic job of confounding and reversing the Marxist menace known as the Democratic Party.

    1. +1

      “Remove Power From the Presidency” is a nice sentiment, but hopeless until the States themselves step up and constrain the entire federal government.

  35. Trump is not the cause, and he is not the cure. He is the fever. And big government progressivism is the disease.

  36. The only major party candidate who was a constitutionalist and would push back on Congress to man up and be the legislative branch they were supposed to be was Ron Paul who never got much love by the cosmo fake libertarians at Reason. Again Matt likes to get invited to the woke cosmo dinner parties as the eccentric but woke uncle…when will libertarians understand he leftist wokes are the true enemy of liberty…Trump is an important ally in the final battle between liberty and the neolibs/neocons statists…

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  40. > the 99% partisan impeachment process in both chambers of Congress

    Don’t be silly. It was 50% partisan. In my party it was 0%: completely governed by concerns about the country, fairness, and rule of law. In contrast, the opposing party was 100% partisan, concerned only with a political win.

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