George Washington once said, “I do not expect the Constitution to last for more than 20 years.” Thankfully, he was wrong.
The Constitution survived assaults to its various amendments and assassinated presidents. Throw in political turmoil, generational divide, gender inequality, racial intolerance, a couple of world wars and the Civil War — which is still being fought today in many ways — and one wonders how it was ever held together. Overall, it was one hell of a run that lasted more than 200 years.
Alas, no more.
We long comforted ourselves on the notion of checks and balances between the three co-equal branches of government to protect us against an abuse of power and give us faith there was an actual democracy at play. When Abraham Lincoln said, that this “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” we truly wanted to cherish and believe it. However, when one party wins the popular vote in the presidency in just one of the last seven general elections yet has complete control of the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Congress and the executive branch of our country, the principle of popular sovereignty is dead.
When Republican senators abrogated their responsibility to chasten their president for attempting to bribe another country to interfere in our “free open elections," the Constitution was sabotaged. We just became just another of the world’s anarchist territories under autocratic control.
We now have a president who is truly above the law. He thinks he did nothing wrong (“After 4 prosecutors quit Roger Stone case, Trump tweets congratulations to Attorney General William Barr,” Feb. 12). The Ukraine call was “perfect,” so he will do it again. He will double down. And no one, not even his supporters, have any doubt.
Remember, we cannot indict this president. We will never know what foreign entities finance his empire. Obstruction of justice is no longer an impeachable crime. Congressional subpoenas will go unanswered. Executive privilege extends to anyone and everyone the president desires. We cannot even investigate the president anymore per his personal attorney, William Barr, the U.S. attorney general.
If you question any of this: Do you believe the Republican Supreme Court that supported Citizens United giving us unlimited spending by corporations in elections and refusing to address voter inequality with gerrymandering would ever interfere with their political-operative-in-chief?
Donald Trump’s supporters think he is the chosen one. Alan Dershowitz has argued, “The president is far more powerful than a king. The president has the power kings have never had."
Does anyone think this president will ever abdicate? In a close election where he will again lose the popular vote (making seven losses out of the last eight presidential elections), he will seize on some election fraud (after all, he claimed that millions of people voted illegally in 2016), have Mr. Barr pursue it in the courts, with the Supreme Court ultimately appointing its second president in 20 years.
When that happened in 2000, Vladimir Putin reportedly said, “We don’t even do that in Russia." And in 2024, the Puppet Master will do everything in his unbridled power to insure Don Junior is the next in line to succeed him.
Long live King Donald.
Thomas J. Snyder, Baltimore
Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.