Trump’s “national emergency” threat and the danger of presidential dictatorship


Trump’s “national emergency” threat and the danger of presidential dictatorship

10 January 2019

In the wake of President Trump’s nationally televised address Tuesday night, the political axis of the conflict over the border wall, which has led to the partial shutdown of the federal government, has clearly shifted. White House officials, including Trump himself, are openly threatening to declare a national emergency, under which Trump would assume quasi-dictatorial powers and use the US military to carry out his political objectives, including building the wall.

In any other country, such an assumption of unchecked power by the chief executive would be described as rule by decree or an outright coup d’état. But in the United States, the complacent media and the compliant “opposition” party make no warnings and offer no resistance. In their official response to Trump Tuesday night, neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nor Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said anything about the declaration of a national emergency, although Trump began hinting at it last week.

Setting the tone for the American media as a whole was the New York Times, the semi-official voice of the Democratic Party, whose lead editorial Wednesday on the federal shutdown actually presents the possible declaration of a state of emergency as a positive good, a way for Trump to back down on the building of a border wall without offending his fascistic base, for whom the wall has become an all-or-nothing symbol of Trump’s determination to wage war on immigrants and override political opposition.

The Times argued: “Mr. Trump has also been floating the possibility of stiff-arming Congress altogether. With his advisers increasingly anxious that Republican lawmakers are poised to abandon them on…

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