As the presidential race grinds on, more blue-leaning voters are expressing worry that Trump will “cancel the election.”
I don’t doubt that there are moments when Trump likes the idea of being a dictator or some kind of “president for life.” After all, he’s joked about it multiple times. But then, he has a history of both bluster and contradiction, so it’s hard to know how seriously to take him at any given moment. He could very well be fine with walking away after a single term to pursue other narcissistic projects that don’t demand as much of his time. For what it’s worth, Melania would mostly likely be thrilled if she didn’t have to put up with four more years.
Concerns about an “imperial presidency” are real, of course. The office began accruing more staff and power under FDR, and the burgeoning accelerated as time went on, especially after 9/11. This trend has plowed forward regardless of which party holds the White House, and no branch of government has attempted to check it in any meaningful way. Roll-backs have not been even lightly entertained, let alone undertaken. For this reason, Trump is the most powerful president in US history simply for being the current one.
This week, the subject of presidential power flared up in the media because Trump remarked at a press conference: “When somebody’s the president of the United States,” he claimed, “the authority is total.”
Constitutionally, that’s total bunk. Well-known attorney Floyd Abrams stated that: “President Trump’s assertion… is not just a breezy overstatement of his powers; it is a prime example of constitutional illiteracy.”
Trump is not alone in his illiteracy. I grew up in Nebraska, and it seemed like a lot of people there believed that kind of thing. But how different are the blue voters now when they assert that Trump will just “cancel” the election? Isn’t that just as blithe?