Aggrandizement of the presidency

By Austin Mahle

What would the Founding Fathers think of President Trump? (Photo courtesy of Thomas McClure)

Upon our entrance into the warzone known as the 2020 national election, we find ourselves once again being inundated with the traditional demagogy and frequently banal political statements which banquet the political flyers in the mail that we often throw into the garbage within first glance.

I imagine the campaign flyers coming up soon will be showing demands for Medicare for all, gun control, immigration restriction, and tariffs, [you get the picture].

Furthermore, we have hopefully remembered the scenes of intellectual stimulation known as the first and second Democratic debates, each candidate providing the American people more and more free things from the pocket book of the American taxpayer, with soundbites of attacks on each of the other candidates fresh off the editing bed and emailed to the donors.

Every issue, big or small, finds itself on the table to be digested by the voters before that fateful day in Nov. 2020.

One issue, however, has slipped by the people not fully paying attention: the growth of the power of the President.

Anyone remember President Trump banning bump stocks in 2018 via an executive order?

How about the creation of a new immigration policy by the Obama administration allowing children of illegal immigrants to pursue a path citizenship?

This is not a partisan issue; both Democratic and Republican administrations have greatly expanded the power of the chief Executive, ranging from issues such as immigration to healthcare to guns; you find the issue, somewhere or another the president will find his way to involve himself.

Now for those of you forgetting your time in history or political science classes, Article II Section II of the Constitution outlines the exact powers of the president:

“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

“[The president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.”

I will reach my hand out to both Republicans and Democrats to ensure that we reign in the Presidential power for the good of the nation…

– Austin Mahle

According to the U.S. Constitution, which each and every president has sworn to uphold and defend, that is all the president has the authority to do.

Now, it is understandable that certain roles of the executive expand, such as in the case of certain military functions and diplomatic overtures, for these powers are drafted and founded in Article II.

However, I do not see a constitutional basis for levying tariffs against China unilaterally under the basis of protectionism and national security, especially when it falls under Congressional authority to levy such actions.

Yet, do not allow me to speak for the Founders. Rather, I’ll let them speak for me in Article I Section VIII Clause I:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;… to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.”

A basic reading level should be necessary to understand that President Trump does not have the legal authority to engage in these actions.

Likewise, nor did President Obama when he supported the Dream Act, which prevents children of illegal immigrants from being deported.

This is not relegated to one particular party, but this is, in fact, a bipartisan issue which has been occurring for several decades now.

So, if there are any liberty loving Americans out there, I will reach my hand out to both Republicans and Democrats to ensure that we reign in the presidential power for the good of the nation, and return the office to the original intent of the Founding Fathers, in their glorious wisdom, created in Philadelphia in 1787.

Austin Mahle is an administration of justice major.
Contact The Communitarian at

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