The Right was previously beside itself over the threat of the President’s emergency powers under Barack Obama; and here we are hearing the alarm from the Left of the threat we face under President Donald Trump.
For instance, The Atlantic subtitles its “The Alarming Scope of the President’s Emergency Powers” article thus: “From seizing control of the internet to declaring martial law, President Trump may legally do all kinds of extraordinary things.” (The hyperbole in this article is really worth a read: “He sent thousands of active-duty soldiers to the southern border to terrorize a distant caravan of desperate Central American migrants, announced plans to end the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship by executive order, and tweeted that law enforcement had been ‘strongly notified’ to be on the lookout for ‘ILLEGAL VOTING.’”)
All kinds of extraordinary things.
Apparently, President Trump’s imagination just isn’t there as he is only invoking his executive powers to do something rather underwhelming and previously supported on a bipartisan basis: secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
You know, against organized caravans arriving en masse and the drug cartels profiteering from being able to trespass it along with the drugs and human cargo. Congress could have used their two-week window to divert El Chapo’s seized assets into President Trump’s border security fund. They could have tried to secure more foreign aid for corrupt Central American governments to squander since nation-building and foreign intervention is so passe in the celebutante eyes of Rep. Ilhan Omar and AOC.
Lawsuits against President Trump are flying in 17 states. Most recently, Joaquin Castro introduced a congressional resolution to “terminate” President Trump’s emergency declaration per The National Emergencies Act. It already has 222 co-signers; it only needs 218 to move to the Senate. In the Senate, Pelosi needs only four Republicans to clamor aboard her anti-border security bandwagon. Rumors are that she already has two in the pocket. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says to expect at least a handful. But here’s the possible hang up: Pelosi needs either the President’s signature (not gonna happen) or a veto-proof majority in both Chambers. (That’s 67 in the Senate; 290 in the House). So this is more or less a “we tried” pr stunt for the Left’s base with a few confused Republicans thrown in for good measure and bipartisan appearances.
Meanwhile, the federal government will remain open for business despite Congress’s best efforts and our border will wind up more secure if only to spite Nancy Pelosi and her best efforts to paint the national emergency declaration as an “end-run around the will of the people.” Or, being the vulture career politician that she is, exploiting the Parkland anniversary to scare monger that a future democratic president “can declare emergencies as well” – such as to stop the “epidemic of gun violence in America.” Not quite. As for the Harry Reid nuclear option filibuster analogy, it’s apples to oranges as well.
Alas, President Trump does not appear any closer than any previous President to going off the rails and declaring martial law during peacetime or otherwise radically abusing the scope of his powers. In fact, according to a CNN report earlier this month, this particular national emergency will be in good company as it joins 31 other ongoing active national emergencies. This same report also contains a snazzy graphic tallying presidents’ and their national emergencies. For perspective, Trump weighs in now at 4 while Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush clocked in at 13, 12, 17 and 4, respectively.
We can all rest assured however – Left, Right, or indifferent – that it is still Swamp politics as usual.