* Erik’s Editorial: The Guilty Parties Who Put American Democracy At Risk In The Name Of Donald Trump

US White House upside down (public domain).

I do not fault stupid people for making the stupid decision to elect Donald Trump in 2016.

I do fault smart people for making stupid decisions. These include:

1. Senators who voted to acquit Donald Trump in his no-witnesses-allowed impeachment trial, including primarily Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell:

* Impeachment of Donald Trump (2020-02-05)

* Mitch McConnell (2020-02-05)

2. Members of the GOP who voted to disenfranchise voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – before, during, and AFTER the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol – including Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jody Hice (R–GA-10), Mo Brooks (R–AL-05), Scott Perry (R–PA-10), Josh Hawley (R–MO), and Louie Gohmert (R–TX-01).

* 2021 Storming Of The United States Capitol (2021-01-06)

* 2020 United States Presidential Election Electoral College Count (2021-01-06 – 2021-01-07)

3. Donald Trump’s cabinet, who could have invoked the 25th Amendment to remove POTUS at any time:

* Cabinet Of Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

4. Social media, including especially Facebook and Twitter, for allowing their social networks to be used as platforms for hate speech.

* Donald Trump On Social Media (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

5. Mainstream media, including especially CNN (on the left) and Fox News (on the right) for not doing their jobs – asking questions until they get answers – and allowing POTUS to lie unchecked.

* Veracity Of Statements By Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

6. Lawmakers at all levels, for failing to fix bad laws and for failing to enact good laws. Changes that must be made going forward include:

Limiting POTUS power:

  • Executive order power must be limited.
  • All cabinet members (acting/interim/actual) must be confirmed by Senate.
  • Treaties and tariffs must be the role of Congress so that POTUS cannot engage in trade wars.
  • War Powers Act must be updated to limit POTUS power to deploy the military.
  • Special Counsel Act must be updated to make clear that POTUS cannot fire special counsel.

Writing better and new laws:

  • Impeachment Act of 2021, to define how impeachment is conducted, including the requirement to have witnesses.
  • Follow the lead of The Restatements Of The Law project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restatements_of_the_Law) and codify major SCOTUS cases, including especially Roe v. Wade.
  • Fix the Census.
  • Fix immigration.
  • Fix SCOTUS processes, such as limiting appointments to 2 per POTUS with the number of SCOTUS justices fixed at the number of Federal Circuits (currently 13).
  • Election reform, including who is qualified to run for POTUS and that tax forms must be disclosed to do so.

Just to name a few.

Stupid people, bad laws, and lies got us into this mess.

Smart people, good laws, and the truth can get us out of this mess.



Editorial: The Protecting Our Democracy Act Seeks to Curb Would-be Autocrats

As instances of using “autocrat” and “Donald Trump” in the same sentence grow more frequent, House Democrats are taking action with a reform bill dubbed the “Protecting Our Democracy Act.” Designed to strengthen the power of Congress to check the executive branch, the Protecting Our Democracy Act is a package of wide-ranging reforms to curb abuses of power, especially by the president.

For generations, we Americans have tended to think of the U.S., as we know it, as infallible. Most of us thought that concepts like “checks and balances” were firmly protected by the U.S. Constitution. It was unimaginable that a U.S. president would think he could get away with trying to be an authoritarian leader, let alone garner unquestioning support for attempting it.

Many Americans were tuned in to the hints that Donald Trump had an autocratic bent even before he was elected—his kidding on the square about being in office for three or more terms…his stoking of fear of immigrants, and his declaration of “I alone can fix it.” Still, we thought, what’s the worst that could happen? Surely, if he went too far, he’d be batted down by the rule of law, or, worst case, we’d elect a new president when his term was up.

But he did go too far— again and again. And now, we’re worried that even if we do elect a new president, Donald Trump will refuse to leave the Oval Office. He has already begun sowing seeds of doubt about the integrity of the 2020 election to ensure that if he doesn’t win re-election, his supporters will back him in rejecting the results. He has joked on numerous occasions about doing away with his term limit, and when asked, he refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if defeated.

Trump fires those who disagree with him, and pardons his corrupt friends. He has weaponized the Justice Department, politicized the military, and welcomed foreign interference in two presidential elections. He requires loyalty to Trump over loyalty to country.

Donald Trump’s presidency has had the effect of revealing the inadequacies in our government when it comes to protecting our Democracy. In fairness, our founding fathers had faith in Americans to exercise common sense and to expect common sense and integrity from our leaders. They knew that human beings like Donald Trump existed, even then; hence, the provisions they created for the branches of government to keep each other in check. They would have expected a leader such as Trump to be hastily and roundly removed from office. But we have outgrown some aspects of the government our founders laid out for us, evolving in some ways, and devolving in others. We have found ourselves not only led by the exact type of despot our founding fathers wanted to protect against, but also with a Congress that is full of his sycophantic enablers.

The Protecting Our Democracy Act is a response to Donald Trump and those who aid and abet him. It is a reform bill that Democrats hope will prevent the executive’s abuse of power from ever happening again in America.

According to a joint statement issued by Seven Democratic House committee chairs, the legislation is intended to “prevent future presidential abuses, restore our checks and balances, strengthen accountability and transparency, and protect our elections.”

“It is time for Congress to strengthen the bedrock of our democracy and ensure our laws are strong enough to withstand a lawless president,” the statement says. “These reforms are necessary not only because of the abuses of this president, but because the foundation of our democracy is the rule of law and that foundation is deeply at risk.”

The Protecting Our Democracy Act includes, among many other reforms, measures to regulate the relationship between the president and the Justice Department (Trump currently uses Attorney General Bill Barr to do his personal bidding, rather than representing the American people); protect whistleblowers and inspectors general, curb the president’s power to grant pardons, strengthen the ability to enforce congressional subpoenas, and protect against foreign election interference. It aims to prevent an American president from going rogue, abusing the office of the president, and fostering an environment of corruption in the executive branch.

Though the Protecting Our Democracy Act likely won’t receive a vote before the election, and probably wouldn’t be considered by a Republican-led Senate, it is a significant move toward reforms that could be put in place should Joe Biden be elected president, and/or should the Senate majority flip from Republican to Democratic. If neither happens, and Donald Trump is re-elected, the window for stopping Donald Trump’s autocratic ambition may begin to close. The future of our country is in unprecedented peril, and its fate depends on how many lawmakers are interested in protecting our democracy over enabling a lawless president.

The Protecting Our Democracy Act | Rep. Adam Schiff [2020-09-23]

Chairwoman Maloney’s Remarks at Press Conference on introducing the ‘Protecting Our Democracy Act’ | Oversight Committee [2020-09-23]