Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Democrats Don’t Oppose Executive Abuse, They Oppose Donald Trump

Constitutional norms for thee but not for me.
Pointing out hypocrisy can be more than a political gotcha. In the case of President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on the southern border, it’s a useful way to highlight the fact that Democrats who are attempting to regain power have not only refused to live by the rules they’ve set for the opposition, they’re also threatening to break those rules in even more expansive ways in the future.
As soon as Trump declared a national emergency to fund the building of a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border—a clear attempt to circumvent the legislative branch and one that I hope leads to the Supreme Court overturning the abused National Emergencies Act (NEA)—the first thing Democrats did was promise to use the law for their own partisan ends, immediately exposing any supposed apprehensions about executive overreach as a fiction.
“Once we beat Donald Trump, we promise the word and spirit of the Constitution will be upheld, because the proper checks and balances are far more important than any fleeting political gain” said not a single Democrat ever. Instead, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Chris Murphy, and a slew of others senators threatened to use the same emergency powers for “real” crises like climate change and gun violence. Because it’s not the abuse of power they find problematic, but the objectives Trump wants to use that power for that bother them.
“If Trump gets away w this border emergency declaration,” Sen. Murphy tweeted, “then a Dem President can declare a gun violence emergency and institute universal background checks and an assault weapons ban by executive action.”
Can they? The emergency declaration allows reallocating funding earmarked for military projects, it doesn’t empower the president to “ban” (fictitious) categories of firearms any more than it empowers him to ban certain kinds of political speech. Outlawing “assault weapons,” the giddy dream of an authoritarian senator, would not only be another attack on on separation of powers, but also on the Second Amendment—an abuse Democrats have long embraced.
So while some of us may incidentally side with Democrats on the use of Trump’s emergency declaration, we don’t share a common philosophical aversion to the use of executive power. In fact, because of them, none of this is “unprecedented.” It was the Obama administration (with praise from virtually every nationally elected Democrat) that normalized this kind behavior.
Read the rest from David Harsanyi HERE.

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