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Utopia Talk / Politics / Trump presidency shows Constitution flaw
yankeessuck123
Member
Tue Jan 02 04:20:57
I'd be terribly naive to think anyone on this forum is going to change their mind on anything, but this article makes a couple interesting points.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/30/trump-us-constitution-weakness-founding-fathers

There’s a million things to love about Hamilton, the musical that has opened in London to reviews as glowing as those that greeted its debut on Broadway. The lyrics are so ingenious, so intricate and dexterous, that the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, has a claim to be among the most exciting writers, in any medium, in the world today. Rarely have I seen an audience delight in the tricks and rhyming pyrotechnics of language the way I saw a preview audience react to Hamilton a fortnight ago.

As I say, there are countless other pleasures. The staging is inventive, the melodies memorable and, by having black and minority ethnic actors play Alexander Hamilton and his fellow founding fathers, the musical instantly offers a powerful new take on America’s tragic, enduring flaw: race. But it was the idealism of the show – which venerates Hamilton and George Washington and unabashedly romanticises the revolution that birthed the United States of America – that struck a particular chord for me.

In 2018, it will be 20 years since I published a book called Bring Home the Revolution. Begun when I was still in my 20s, it too was an essay in idealism, arguing that the American uprising of 1776 and the constitution that followed in 1787 were a rebellion against a system of government under which we Britons still laboured two centuries later – albeit with an overmighty, overcentralised government in place of the bewigged King George.

The American revolution, I argued, was our inheritance, a part of our patrimony mislaid across the Atlantic. From a written constitution to a system of radically devolved power to the replacement of monarchy with an elected head of state, it was time for us to bring home the revolution that we had made in America.

With impeccable timing, my hymn of praise for the US constitution appeared a matter of months before what looked a lot like a US constitutional crisis, with the impeachment of Bill Clinton over perjury charges arising from his denials of a relationship with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. “So you want us to live the American dream?” one interviewer asked. “All a bit of nightmare now, isn’t it?”

That, or something like it, has happened at intervals ever since. If it wasn’t a hideous, only-in-America mass shooting, it would be an election in which a man with fewer votes defeated an infinitely more qualified opponent who had won more.

Usually, I have managed to deflect these challenges, arguing that my book was a homage to a founding ideal, not to the necessarily flawed reality. But it’s time for me to admit my doubts about its core idea – its admiration for the US constitution and system of government. For this first year of the Donald Trump presidency has exposed two flaws in the model that I cannot brush aside so easily.

The first is that Trump has vividly demonstrated that much of what keeps a democracy intact is not enshrined in the written letter of a constitution, but resides instead in customs and conventions – norms – that are essential to civic wellbeing. Trump trampled all over those as a candidate – refusing to disclose his tax returns, for example – and has trampled over even more as president.

Convention dictated that he had to divest himself of private business concerns on taking office, to prevent a conflict of interest – but in the absence of a law explicitly forcing him to do so, he did no such thing. The same goes for appointing unqualified relatives to senior jobs, sacking the director of the FBI with no legitimate cause, or endorsing an accused child molester for the US Senate. No law told him he couldn’t, so he did.

I once thought the US constitution – a document crafted with almost mathematical precision, constructing a near-perfect equilibrium of checks and balances – offered protection against such perils. And there’s no denying that that text, as interpreted by the courts, has indeed acted as a partial roadblock in Trump’s path, delaying and diluting his Muslim-focused “travel ban”, for example.

But this year of Trump has also shown the extent to which the US has an unwritten constitution that – just like ours – relies on the self-restraint of the key political players, a self-restraint usually insisted upon by a free press. Yet when confronted with a leader unbound by any sense of shame – and shamelessness might just be Trump’s defining quality – America is left unexpectedly vulnerable.

Of course, there is a remedy, and its name is impeachment. Scholars are clear that Trump has already provided sufficient legal grounds for such a move – the case against him is far more compelling than the one against Bill Clinton. But impeachment proceedings are triggered by the House of Representatives, followed by a trial in the Senate, and nothing will happen so long as Republicans control both houses of Congress.

In 2017 we saw with new clarity that the strength of the US constitution depends entirely on the willingness of those charged with enforcing it to do their duty. And today’s Republicans refuse to fulfil that obligation. They, like Trump, are without shame. This was a fatal oversight by Hamilton, James Madison and their fellow framers of the constitution. They did not reckon on a partisanship so intense it would blind elected representatives to the national interest – so that they would, repeatedly, put party ahead of country. The founders did not conceive of a force like today’s Republican party, willing to indulge a president nakedly hostile to ideals Americans once held sacred.

My 1998 self asks me whether, say, the Westminster parliament would really be so different if confronted by a Trump-like would-be autocrat. Would individual MPs suppress their own revulsion and back him, fearing deselection by party activists if they did not – much as congressional Republicans won’t move against Trump lest they face the wrath of his base? It’s conceivable. And yet a parliamentary vote of no confidence is a lower hurdle than impeachment. Put simply, it would be easier to get rid of a British Trump.

And these weaknesses in the US model have prompted me to see others. The second amendment does not compel Americans to allow an unrestricted flow of guns into the hands of the violent and dangerous, but the fact that the argument hinges on interpretations of a text written more than two centuries ago is itself a problem. It means America, in the words of that great revolutionary Thomas Paine, is too often “like dead and living bodies chained together”, today’s generation shackled to the words of their ancestors.

And yet, despite everything, I still see so much to admire in the founding achievement of America. The society remains innovative, restless and creative: it’s still capable of producing a work of genius like Hamilton. But its next act of renewal might be to update or amend the text that gave it birth, to declare that no human invention, no matter how great, can remain stuck. Were he around, I suspect that “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman” would agree.
Seb
Member
Tue Jan 02 05:56:02
This has always been my argument against a written constitution.

Culture, norms and principles matter, and codified legal documents shift the argument to one of narrow rules and whether they have been technically breached, rather than whether the outcome and impact of behaviour is in accordance with principles.

A legalistic approach gives so much long grass for those responsible for holding public offices to account to fumble around in.
Dukhat
Member
Tue Jan 02 11:30:53
Trump was supposed to be stopped by the electoral college but over time it was made as nothing more than a token organization of partisans.

Part of it was because the electoral college had stopped Andrew Jackson who came back even stronger the next election.

Trump is old and barely cogent anymore. He probably wouldn't be up to run again in 2020 had the electoral college stopped him.
Forwyn
Member
Tue Jan 02 12:04:33
After decades of deliberately misinterpreting Constitutional law, leftists now want a redo.

We'll undoubtedly get the same whining from the right when a Democrat gets back in power.

Nothing will change, until it gets bad enough for both sides to agree to a Constitutional Convention - and what a dangerous event that will be.
Turtle Crawler
Admin
Tue Jan 02 14:40:39
Market is inches from a new record.

If you want to pick on an error then how about how a document written for the social norms and intellect of English settlers didn't have a provision to restrain immigration.
Renzo Marquez
Member
Tue Jan 02 17:07:59
yankeessuck123
Member Tue Jan 02 04:20:57
"I'd be terribly naive to think anyone on this forum is going to change their mind on anything, but this article makes a couple interesting points.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/30/trump-us-constitution-weakness-founding-fathers

There’s a million things to love about Hamilton, the musical that has opened in London to reviews as glowing as those that greeted its debut on Broadway. The lyrics are so ingenious, so intricate and dexterous, that the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, has a claim to be among the most exciting writers, in any medium, in the world today."

Lulz. Jonathan Freedland is a retard.
Hot Rod
Revved Up
Tue Jan 02 20:29:21

Have any of you liberals ever wondered how Obama was able to push the envelop to the breaking point so often, and on some occasions he even crossed the line with The Constitution?


Especially when his major was Constitutional Law?

jergul
large member
Tue Jan 02 20:32:31
"he even crossed the line with The Constitution?"

Which executive orders in particular were you thinking had been overturned as unconstitutional by the USSC?
Hot Rod
Revved Up
Tue Jan 02 20:50:35

I'm not going back and research it. I don't have the time right now.

If I'm wrong i'm wrong.


One thing does come to mind though. It was when he used an EO to keep about five million illegals her legally.

jergul
large member
Tue Jan 02 21:46:53
Because immigration is regulated by the constitution?

Its not, but you would still need a USSC ruling voiding the EO.

You know, like what happens when Trump oversteps the bounds of the Constitution.
Hot Rod
Revved Up
Wed Jan 03 00:13:08

When did he do that?


jergul, not sure if it was the USSC or not, but something put a stop to it.

American Democrat
Member
Wed Jan 03 04:48:59
"I'm not going back and research it. I don't have the time right now.

If I'm wrong i'm wrong."

Then it would be best practice to stop making ignorant claims or flat out wrong statements?


"One thing does come to mind though. It was when he used an EO to keep about five million illegals her legally. "

Were you as critical when Reagan and G. H. W. Bush did the same thing as in giving legal statuses?
Wrath of Orion
Member
Wed Jan 03 12:21:06
"I'm not going back and research it."

We know you don't believe in evidence or facts, Retard Rod. There's really no reason to state it again.
Memory Lane
Member
Wed Jan 03 12:29:37
I remember hot rod saying he wouldn't research any subject he talks about

I drink and remember things.
werewolf dictator
Member
Wed Jan 03 12:58:53
liberals get their political ideas from broadway musicals

dumb
hood
Member
Wed Jan 03 14:01:23
^ nobody is surprised by the inability to read of the above poster
Trolly
Member
Wed Jan 03 14:19:50
Oh werewolf dicktaster.
Turtle Crawler
Admin
Wed Jan 03 23:08:48
Obama lost the insurance subsidy case, I don't think it ever made it to the supreme Court.
jergul
large member
Thu Jan 04 02:09:57
TC
A federal appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that could help preserve a key subsidy that benefits health insurers and millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act. The ruling could make it more difficult for the White House to carry out recent threats by President Trump to cut off the payments, giving legal standing to a new set of the payments’ ­defenders.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that a coalition of 16 state attorneys general, all of whom want to preserve the subsidies, may intervene in the appeal of a lawsuit over the fate of cost-sharing subsidies — payments the government makes to insurers on behalf of about 7 million low-income Americans who receive breaks on their health plans’ deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

Led by the Democratic attorneys general of New York and California, the motion that the court granted is the most recent twist in the gnarled legal and political history of the subsidies. In practical terms, the ruling could make it more difficult for the Trump administration and House Republicans to abandon the payments without a court fight.

"In the days since Senate Republicans failed to pass legislation that would have overturned much of the ACA, the future of the cost-sharing payment has emerged as a major issue, with insurers saying that they would markedly raise their prices for next year in the ACA’s marketplaces — or stop selling such health plans altogether — unless the subsidies continue.

Republicans have long protested the payments, and in late 2014 the GOP-led House filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration, contending that the subsidies were unconstitutional because Congress had not made a specific appropriation for them. Last year a federal district court ruled in the House’s favor, and the Obama administration appealed the case to the D.C. Circuit."

So, no. The case was in appeal.
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