The Failure of the Senate to Check the President
“[Donald Trump] is a race-baiting xenophobic religious bigot.” — Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
“[I]f we don’t reject Donald Trump, we’ve lost the moral authority … to govern this great nation.” — Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
“We need a commander in chief, not a Twitterer-in-chief. … I don’t know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way having his finger on the button. I mean, we’re liable to wake up one morning, and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark.” — Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
“Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag.” — Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
At some point, most Republican senators held their own beliefs and opinions on Donald Trump, and they were often negative ones. This means that you would expect these senators to meticulously check Trump and his actions whenever possible, but as we all know that’s not even close to what has happened.
It’s impossible to talk about how the Senate has failed to check the powers of the president without basing an argument around the impeachment trials. Credible evidence was found that Trump was attempting to leverage relationships with foreign countries to get them to influence the election (who could have guessed that Trump would attempt to bring up Hunter Biden again two weeks before the election). The problem is not that the Republicans defended Trump after a thoroughly conducted investigation, the problem is that there never was an investigation to begin with. Not a single witness was heard in the Senate, Trump was never once put under oath, and Trump’s lawyers vigorously litigated to make sure that his documents were stuck in appeals purgatory.
So, why would a Republican Senator go along with this? Well, look at Mitt Romney, the first Senator to ever cast a vote to convict a president of his own party. He was brutally attacked by Trump. Romney’s approval in his own state was enough to handle it, but for many elected officials, being attacked — and having your primary opponent endorsed by Trump — is a sure fire way to lose your seat. With all of this process going on, is it really possible to trust the Senate to handle these cases?
Sources and References
The Failure of the Supreme Court to Check the President
As of recently, there are now three out of 7 Justices on the Supreme Court that have been appointed by Donald Trump. Between the three of them, they have received three votes confirming their nomination by a Democratic Senator (all three votes went to Gorsuch). This doesn’t quite seem like the impartial body that was intended to preside over the other branches.
Supreme Court confirmations used to function differently. Until 2017, it was possible to filibuster a confirmation hearing, requiring 60 votes to surpass. This meant that any nominee would require some votes from an opposing party in order to pass through the Senate. However, met with a filibuster attempt on Neil Gorsuch, Mitch Mcconnel changed the rules to no longer allow a filibuster. This allowed the first justice to be appointed, paving the way for two more.
Why is this a problem? There are now three Justices on the Supreme Court who worked on Bush’s legal team in the landmark Bush v. Gore case. More than just the annoying fact that these three people who helped Bush win an election were all promoted to the Supreme Court, this raises questions about the coming election, especially with its unique handling. It is easy to be worried that members on the supreme court seek to enrich themselves and others like them, instead of seeking to defend the rights of the people. It is doubly so when you realize that Amy Coney Barrett recused herself from cases involving four Shell entities because her father worked at Shell Oil Company as a lawyer, and yet she refuses to for any future cases.
On the election, Trump stated “I think this will end up at the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices.” He is thinking ahead towards the situation that I’m most worried about, and that does not do much to lower my suspicions..
The Last Check
“The right to vote is precious, almost sacred. People fought for it, bled for it, died for it. Honor their sacrifice. Vote.” — John Lewis
We won’t bury the lede: Your vote matters. If you have not voted by the time November 3, 2020 comes, be sure you have a plan for a long day. Pack food and water. Bring a folding chair. Wear a mask. Keep socially distant. Bring a portable phone charger. Bring a book. Check the weather, wear appropriate clothes, and expect to be outside for several hours. And if there are people standing outside who seem to be engaging in voter intimidation, call your county board of elections and call the police. Voter intimidation is illegal. Once inside your polling place, read the directional signs, listen to the staff, and read your ballot materials. Choose a paper ballot — they are always available even if officials are advocating you cast your vote at a computer. Paper ballots leave a better paper trail than computer-based voting stations. If you make a mistake on your ballot, or you see a problem with your ballot, alert an election official immediately. Above all else: STAY IN LINE. You are entitled to cast your vote even if the poll closing time (often at 7 or 8pm) occurs while you are still in line. You will not be turned away.
Donald Trump and his political allies, operatives, and followers pose a significant threat to our democracy. Since September, this writing team of concerned citizens from very different parts of the country have come together to lay out that argument and we have provided fine details about how facism and authoritarianism have been seeping quickly into our government. You do not have to read every piece of every detail, but the common threads are there: This president and this administration are dangerous, they are changing the institutions that govern our society, though not (and never) perfectly, in dangerous ways that could take years, if not generations to repair. The fundamental question before every citizen is this: Are you willing to stay on this destructive path that will eventually lead to a country with fewer freedoms, restrictions on our liberties, allowing the destruction of our environment to go unchecked, the muzzling of a free press, allowing the creation and enforcement of laws to be applied to certain groups of people, and a national leadership that cozies up to foreign dictators and shrinks away from our duties as a leader of the world?
We are in a fight for the future — not just our futures, but for generations who have yet to be born. Decisions made in the last four years by this government, and the decision you make in this election, will affect your children’s children’s children. This is not hyperbole. Freedoms taken away are rarely given back so easily. If our standing in the world as a leader, as the example of democracy, continues to diminish, we will not have allies. If climate change goes unchecked, Earth will be uninhabitable and there will be no future generations. The United States stands at a precipice, one that we have been approaching for decades, and now we are at the culmination of decisions and mistakes made by both sides of the aisle. We are divided more than ever. We need a leader with a clear vision, and we need leaders in all branches and levels of government that will pull us back from this precipice. This writing team has presented the arguments in favor of voting for Democrats not just in the highest office of the land, but down your ballot. We have presented clear arguments about the Republican party, from local to federal, standing for authoritarianism. They are complicit in their inaction to stop this president, and they have taken advantage by waging disinformation campaigns at every level of elected office.
Keep in mind that this is all in addition to the pandemic, which has opened up all the wounds of our society and has contributed to the divisions that are sown deep into our country. The response to Covid-19 has been deplorable and the state we are in now was entirely preventable. We can’t afford another four years of this madness. Without a re-election in front of him, Trump will unleash his worst — as if that could be possible — on the American people, our institutions and our values. He is not for any of us, Democrat, Republican or anyone in between. He is for himself. He is for the enrichment of his family. We can stop this, but it requires your vote. Vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Vote for Democrats to represent you in Congress. Vote for Democrats in your state and local elections. The future is on the line. So if you are voting in person, STAY IN LINE and make your voice heard.