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TRUMP AND GOVERNMENT

August 1, 2016

TRUMP AND GOVERNMENT

Does Trump really want to do the hard work a president must do, or does he just want to roam around the country and the globe and be the CEO with underlings in charge of positions and policy? He has answered that question with a little-noticed statement recently that he will put Pence in charge of things when they are elected. This statement, in my opinion, amounts to a two-fold admission: (1) that he doesn’t have a clue about how to run a government, and (2) that he needs a buffer to escape responsibility for positions and policy decisions gone sour in keeping with his “it’s someone else’s fault, not mine” narcissistic mindset.

Trump’s intention in delegating presidential responsibility is reminiscent of the arrangement George Bush had with Dick Cheney when he abdicated his presidential responsibilities by delegating important executive decisions to Cheney while pretending such decisions were his. Trump, like Bush, wants the glory but not the responsibilities that go with the highest office of the land. Unlike his TV show, when things go wrong (and they will with a Gilded Age vice president in charge theoretically overseen by a know-nothing CEO) he cannot fire his vice president.

This arrangement may be how he runs his private businesses as a CEO, but should he be elected and hand over presidential responsibilities to his vice president, then those who voted for him will have been cheated since the vice president (Pence) was not subject to their vote. I here note that unlike Trump’s CEO status and how he runs his private businesses which he alone can determine, the Constitution sets out his executive powers and responsibilities.

Putting a vice president in charge of a particular program is one thing; giving him or her a general delegation of presidential powers and responsibilities is quite another. After all, the people did not vote for the vice president to be president; indeed the people did not have a vote for the vice president to be vice president. Pence is the vice presidential candidate by appointment and not the vote.

Perhaps if those who voted for Trump had understood that he was delegating his presidential powers to a third party they would not have voted for him. Perhaps if Trump had told voters in the primary that he was going to generally delegate presidential powers to a third party whom he alone would choose, we would have a Cruz or Kasich on the Republican ballot this fall.Perhaps.

In view of Trump’s stated intention, it behooves us to take a closer look at the vice president’s view of the passing scene. Pence brags that he was an ALEC backer before it was popular in Republican state houses across the country (including right to work laws among other ALEC-inspired travesties), that Roe will be repealed if Trump is elected, that illegals will be sent back to Mexico irrespective of the citizen status of their children, no Muslims in to the country, climate change isn’t happening, hurrah for the fossil fuel industry, no to gay marriage etc. etc. etc.

Is this unvoted-for individual, an economic throwback to the Gilded Age of the Rockefellers and a social throwback to the Victorian Age, to effectively be our president? Who nominated him? One man.

What other surprises does Trump have in store for us if elected? Will he refuse to name his Council of Economic Advisers and instead effectively delegate such advisory powers to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Will his attorney general’s opinions have to pass executive muster of presidential counsel before they can become official? Will he (via Pence) order the Federal Reserve and the SEC to back off regulation of Wall Street banks, repeal Dodd-Frank? Who knows? Is this how fascism begins?  GERALD    E

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