Sure enough, Democrats have switched in the final weeks from attacking Donald Trump to trying to tie the Republican Party to him. President Obama, who used to talk of Trump as a deviation from previous GOP presidential candidates for whom he had respect, has changed tack dramatically:
From Washington Examiner
“The problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does. The problem is, is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time … If your only agenda is either negative — negative is a euphemism, crazy — based on lies, based on hoaxes, this is the nominee you get. You make him possible.”
It makes sense. The Dems sense that they have the White House in the bag, so they’re using Trump as a stick with which to batter every Republican congressional candidate. Hence, for example, Nancy Pelosi’s claim last week that if the Republicans took Congress, they would seek to impeach Hillary Clinton. Their talk of “checks and balances,” she said, was really a “code word” for impeachment.
No, Nancy. Their talk of checks and balances shows that they understand their proper function. It’s precisely because of those checks and balances that America doesn’t need to panic about the next occupant of the White House.
There are plenty of panic-mongers, of course. Each presidential campaign thrives on fear of the other. Trump’s supporters tell us that Clinton’s judicial nominations will fundamentally transform America, tilting the balance toward authoritarianism. Clinton’s supporters retort that Trump is a quasi-fascist.
Both sides misunderstand, or affect to misunderstand, the Constitution. The United States was designed precisely to contain the ambitions of its rulers. Jefferson and Hamilton had seen arbitrary rule first-hand, and were determined to ensure that even the most Caligulan leader could not create an autocracy. We might almost say that they had Trump, or someone very like Trump, in mind when they drew up the rules.
Despite what Pelosi says, it is the Republican nominee who, in the unlikely event of his election, would be likely to face impeachment. There would be scant sympathy for President Trump in either House, and he seems to have as little concern for constitutional propriety as he has for telling the truth. Indeed, the only truly persuasive argument for electing him is the “Vote Trump, Get Pence” line.
What, though, of Clinton? She knows all about impeachment and would, we may assume, be careful to act within the rules. Is there not a danger that, by unbalancing the Supreme Court, she would transform the United States into an altogether more nannying and dirigiste nation?
Again, the Founders had her number. Barring some truly extraordinary electoral bouleversement, she will not have a free hand in her first two years; nor, given the usual pattern of mid-term elections, is that likely to change in the second two years.
American liberty is too deeply rooted to be wrecked by a couple of judges. Take the most commonly voiced concern among conservatives. Suppose that a Clinton-made Supreme Court overturned the Heller verdict — that is, the ruling that interprets the Second Amendment as meaning that an individual can own and carry weapons.
The day after such a reversal would look just like the day before it. No state constitution would be amended. No legislation would be mandated at either federal or state level.
That’s what checks and balances mean: No president, no Supreme Court, has absolute power. The system, you might say, works.
Or, at least, the system will work as long as a majority of congressmen take their oaths of office seriously and see themselves as representatives rather than rulers. That’s why the congressional elections matter so much this time.
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