April 10, 2017


Democracy Has Stood Up to Trump (Yascha Mounk, 4/10/17, Slate)

[C]hecks and balances are, for now, holding up reasonably well. The judiciary has done a great job at reining Trump in. Though they have repeatedly drawn the president's ire, the country's judges show no sign of being cowed by him. Federal courts have halted two executive orders on immigration and seem likely to take an active role in curtailing executive overreach in the coming years.

The executive branch, whose functioning could most easily be sabotaged by decrees from the White House, has so far preserved its independence as well: The intelligence community has resisted pressures to alter its findings to protect the president from allegations of collusion with Russia. The FBI is investigating Trump. For now, the neutrality of key state institutions remains on full display.

Finally, though Republicans control both houses of Congress, even the legislature has frustrated Trump at multiple turns. Democrats in the House stood united against the GOP health care plan. Democrats in the Senate stood united against confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. While those parts of the far left who seem to hate moderate Democrats more than they hate extremist Republicans like to accuse Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer of being cynical corporate shills who never find the courage to stand up for anything, their determination has, over the last months, been clear to anybody who cared to take a look.

The story is, unsurprisingly, a lot more bleak when you look at congressional Republicans. Some, like Devin Nunes, have demonstrated that they are willing to stoop to any low, and to break any democratic norm, to support their president. Many, like Paul Ryan, have made occasional noises of displeasure before falling into lockstep whenever it comes down to an actual vote. Only a few, like John McCain and Ben Sasse, have criticized Trump in clear terms, and indicated that they might--at some as yet unknown point in the ever-receding future--be willing to walk their talk. But while courage mostly continues to be missing in action among GOP officeholders, the incongruence of their ideological coalition has so far been just as effective in frustrating Trump's most ambitious plans.

Republicans control Washington and he's not one.
Posted by at April 10, 2017 6:57 AM