Trump, Democratic Dictator
By Jacob G. Hornberger
01, 2019 "Information
people think that the United States is safe from
dictatorship because the country is a democracy.
It’s only in totalitarian countries, they hold,
that people are subject to dictatorship.
could be further from the truth. Such people are
confusing how a ruler gets elected with the
powers that the ruler has after being elected. A
democratically elected ruler can wield and
exercise dictatorial powers.
point: President Donald Trump. He is the
democratically elected president of the United
States. He also wields and exercises dictatorial
power over the American people.
of government that the Framers established with
the Constitution provided for three branches of
government — executive, legislative, and
judicial. The Constitution delegated certain
powers to each branch. The legislative branch
was charged with enacting laws, including laws
that imposed taxes on people. The executive
branch was charged with enforcing the laws. The
judicial branch was charged with interpreting
the laws and, if need be, declaring them
dictatorship, the dictator doesn’t have to
concern himself with legislation or judicial
interpretation. What he says goes. When he
issues a dictate, it automatically becomes set
in stone as the law.
conduct in his trade war with China confirms how
far the United States has gone in the direction
of a democratically elected dictatorship.
that Trump initiated his trade war all on his
own, by unilaterally raising tariffs on products
that are imported from China. He didn’t go to
Congress and seek a law that raised tariffs. He
just issued the dictate that raised tariffs.
classic dictatorship. The ruler issues an order,
which automatically becomes law. And keep in
mind that a tariff is nothing more than a sales
tax on foreign goods. The people who pay that
tax are Americans who purchase Chinese goods.
Therefore, under the dictatorial system under
which modern-day Americans live, the
democratically elected dictator wields the
authority to levy whatever amounts of taxes he
wishes to collect from the American people.
weekend, the American people received another
stark example of Trump’s dictatorial conduct.
Angry over the fact that China hasn’t bowed to
his demands and instead is retaliating with its
own tariffs on American products, Trump
declared, “Our great American companies are
hereby ordered to immediately start looking for
an alternative to China including bringing …your
companies HOME and making your products in the
That is an
incredible command. Did you ever think live in a
country where the ruler could issue orders to
private individuals, as though they were in the
army? A necessary feature of a free society is
that people are required to answer only to duly
enacted laws, not to arbitrary and capricious
orders and dictates of their ruler. Trump
clearly doesn’t get that. He thinks that because
he is “commander in chief” of the armed forces,
that makes him the commanding officer of the
isn’t innocent in this process, for it is
Congress that has enacted laws delegating to the
president the authority to issue these types of
dictatorial decrees. The Framers, however, never
intended for one branch of government to
delegate its powers to another branch of
the federal judiciary in all this? Isn’t it
their job to declare laws that violate the
Constitution unconstitutional. That’s the way it
used to be. For example, in the 1935 case of
A.L.A. Schechter v. United States, the
Supreme Court declared the Franklin Roosevelt
administration’s fascist National Industrial
Recovery Act unconstitutional. The Court’s
improperly delegated congressional power to
enact laws to the president and, therefore, had
to be declared unconstitutional.
hasn’t the U.S. Supreme Court done the same with
respect to the laws on which Trump is relying?
shortly after President Roosevelt came out with
his infamous “court-packing” scheme, which would
enable him to pack the Court with cronies who
would uphold his socialist and fascist programs,
the Court made it clear that it would never
again interfere with congressional enactments
relating to economic activity. The Court has
followed that policy ever since.
the laws on which Trump is relying enable the
president to cite “national security,” the most
important and meaningless term in the American
political lexicon. All that Trump has to do to
justify his dictatorial orders, decrees, edicts,
and dictates is declare “‘National security is
at stake.” At that point the issue is settled.
That’s because after the federal government was
converted to a national-security state after
World War II, the Supreme Court made it crystal
clear that it would never second-guess any
action of the president, the Pentagon, the CIA,
and the NSA that is based on “national
America has ended up with a democratically
elected dictator. But hey, let’s look at the
bright side: At least Trump is not as bad as
Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the unelected
conservative military dictator who the Pentagon
and CIA installed into power in Chile back in
the 1970s. Like Trump, he too loved issuing
decree-laws, without interference from a
legislature or judiciary.
Jacob G. Hornberger
is founder and president of The Future of
Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in
Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in
economics from Virginia Military Institute and
his law degree from the University of Texas. He
was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas.
He also was an adjunct professor at the
University of Dallas, where he taught law and
economics. Send him
This article was originally published by "FFF"
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