Can the US Constitution Contain/Constrain/Control Mr Trump?

Scepticalscribe

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Serious question - especially addressed to those on this forum who lean conservative.

For now, I do not wish to post this Elsewhere in the Land where we have chosen to Sort of Exile ourselves from , as I'd prefer not to have it derailed, or bring down upon myself the squawking wrath of outraged offence, especially on the part of some of the more intemperate conservatives.

Can the US Constitution Contain/Control/Constrain Mr Trump, especially in the event of an electoral defeat (not necessarily a contested defeat, except by him, but a clear defeat)?

Are the institutions of state sufficiently strong to be able to effect a peaceful transfer of power?

Or, to hold Mr Trump (and his administration) to account after his period of office comes to a end?

Or, if he is (by some misfortune) re-elected, can the institutions of state sustain or survive or withstand a second term of this presidency?

The reason I ask is that - as a kid, interested in history, beginning to develop an interest in politics, reading about Mr Nixon, and his resignation - I remember sitting in the car on a wet summer afternoon, - my mother, who was busy, had wanted the house to herself - with my father, who was fascinated by the US, reading the papers together - I recall how impressed I was that the institutions worked as they should have, that they were strong enough, and sturdy enough to withstand the attempts the administration of Mr Nixon (and, I don't doubt his ability, or flexibility in diplomatic matters or international relations) to undermine the rule of law, and evade or avoid having to account for their actions.

I was further impressed by the fact that a significant number of Mr Nixon's cabinet ended up behind bars, after having been charged and convicted in a court of law, which struck me as an excellent example of how the institutions of a state were sufficiently sturdy to protect the state, its institutions, the concept of the rule of law, from the depredations of those who sought to undermine it (and traduce it) in the interests of remaining in power.

Does this state of affairs still hold?

Is Mr Trump likely to concede, even if comprehensively or convincingly defeated?

What can happen - without destroying, or damaging the the institutional & constitutional fabric of the state - to enforce the will of the electorate in such an event, if he chooses not to concede defeat, but, instead, seeks to sow further corrosive divisions?

Is it likely that he will seek to create a set of conditions - exerting pressure on already existing socio-economic-cultural-political divisions with the view of further exacerbating them - fanning the flames of an already unsettled or unstable environment or provoking violent responses with intemperate (and irresponsible) rhetoric - whereby he can attempt - credibly, or plausibly - to declare martial law, and suspend habeas corpus and civil liberties?
 

Alli

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Right now I am extremely concerned about the kind of damage he will try to inflict upon this country between the election and inauguration, should he (hopefully) lose.

Because McConnell has so hobbled the Senate, leading many of them into positions of outright dereliction, it is probably too late for many of them to try to act.

So to answer your question - I don't know.
 

jkcerda

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not really, WHY? liberals complained when the war powers act gave Bush far too much power but stayed mum when Obama got into office, Obama also signed indefinite detention w/o trial into law and seemingly only the ACLU and code pink stood against him.

when Bush initially passed the "Patriot Act" it was conservatives who were stupid enough to say "only terrorist have something to hide" , these same conservatives (archery talk forum) were appalled when now the black guy could read their e-mails thanks to the "Patriot act"

point being we generally only look at WHO is passing laws and our level of concern only rises if we think we are affected overlooking the fact the GOVT determines WHO is a terrorist ( or who should be affected) and once laws are passed they are generally expanded as they see fit.
 

jkcerda

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on a side note while the buck stops at the top (Bush/Obama/Trump) we seemingly tend to overlook the role congress plays in all this stupidity, HOW did the "Partrio act/Indefinite detenttion w/o trial and war powers act" came to be? CONGRESS, THEY put it in from of the POTUS in the first place we seemingly don't really hold them accountable, next election we will vote in the democrats instead of the republicans overlooking the fact the left wing & right wing are part of the same bird.
 

Alli

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on a side note while the buck stops at the top (Bush/Obama/Trump) we seemingly tend to overlook the role congress plays in all this stupidity, HOW did the "Partrio act/Indefinite detenttion w/o trial and war powers act" came to be? CONGRESS, THEY put it in from of the POTUS in the first place we seemingly don't really hold them accountable, next election we will vote in the democrats instead of the republicans overlooking the fact the left wing & right wing are part of the same bird.

We don’t pay enough attention to the House or Senate. We probably wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in if they were actually doing their jobs and holding all parties accountable.

But that’s why it’s so important to think down the road. Is it only good for us in the moment? Will they next guy use it against us?
 

jkcerda

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We don’t pay enough attention to the House or Senate. We probably wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in if they were actually doing their jobs and holding all parties accountable.

But that’s why it’s so important to think down the road. Is it only good for us in the moment? Will they next guy use it against us?
EXACTLY what I told conservatives in other forums, when the Dems are in power THEY get to use those laws as THEY see fit, that is why I was against indefinite detention w/o trial, the next clown gets to use it and we should not have that.
 

yaxomoxay

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Serious question - especially addressed to those on this forum who lean conservative.

For now, I do not wish to post this Elsewhere in the Land where we have chosen to Sort of Exile ourselves from , as I'd prefer not to have it derailed, or bring down upon myself the squawking wrath of outraged offence, especially on the part of some of the more intemperate conservatives.

Can the US Constitution Contain/Control/Constrain Mr Trump, especially in the event of an electoral defeat (not necessarily a contested defeat, except by him, but a clear defeat)?

Are the institutions of state sufficiently strong to be able to effect a peaceful transfer of power?

Or, to hold Mr Trump (and his administration) to account after his period of office comes to a end?

Or, if he is (by some misfortune) re-elected, can the institutions of state sustain or survive or withstand a second term of this presidency?

The reason I ask is that - as a kid, interested in history, beginning to develop an interest in politics, reading about Mr Nixon, and his resignation - I remember sitting in the car on a wet summer afternoon, - my mother, who was busy, had wanted the house to herself - with my father, who was fascinated by the US, reading the papers together - I recall how impressed I was that the institutions worked as they should have, that they were strong enough, and sturdy enough to withstand the attempts the administration of Mr Nixon (and, I don't doubt his ability, or flexibility in diplomatic matters or international relations) to undermine the rule of law, and evade or avoid having to account for their actions.

I was further impressed by the fact that a significant number of Mr Nixon's cabinet ended up behind bars, after having been charged and convicted in a court of law, which struck me as an excellent example of how the institutions of a state were sufficiently sturdy to protect the state, its institutions, the concept of the rule of law, from the depredations of those who sought to undermine it (and traduce it) in the interests of remaining in power.

Does this state of affairs still hold?

Is Mr Trump likely to concede, even if comprehensively or convincingly defeated?

What can happen - without destroying, or damaging the the institutional & constitutional fabric of the state - to enforce the will of the electorate in such an event, if he chooses not to concede defeat, but, instead, seeks to sow further corrosive divisions?

Is it likely that he will seek to create a set of conditions - exerting pressure on already existing socio-economic-cultural-political divisions with the view of further exacerbating them - fanning the flames of an already unsettled or unstable environment or provoking violent responses with intemperate (and irresponsible) rhetoric - whereby he can attempt - credibly, or plausibly - to declare martial law, and suspend habeas corpus and civil liberties?

if trump loses, he’s out on 1/20/2021. Him conceding is a useless exercise, once the Electors cast their vote, the president is chosen. There might be some complaining, but then he’s done anyways.

as for you last point, which amounts to dictatorship, there is no way he could succeed. He didn’t even use Covid to expand the powers of the Executive (quite surprising if you ask me), he won’t be able to do anything just because of electoral results.

In other words, don’t worry my friend. The US constitution is stronger than Trump, Biden, Hillary, Obama etc. Sometimes we trip a bit, but the Constitution remains strong. And I’d die to defend it; were Trump, or any other politician, really try to abuse it in the sense that you mean, I’d gladly fight to the death to stop the usurper (don’t care about his/her political affiliation).

one note: if I remember correctly, the only Nixon cabinet member that was convicted was AG John Mitchell. The other casualties were not cabinet members. Then, you also have Spiro Agnew but that’s a whole different story...
 
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ericgtr12

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if trump loses, he’s out on 1/20/2021. Him conceding is a useless exercise, once the Electors cast their vote, the president is chosen. There might be some complaining, but then he’s done anyways.

as for you last point, which amounts to dictatorship, there is no way he could succeed. He didn’t even use Covid to expand the powers of the Executive (quite surprising if you ask me), he won’t be able to do anything just because of electoral results.

In other words, don’t worry my friend. The US constitution is stronger than Trump, Biden, Hillary, Obama etc. Sometimes we trip a bit, but the Constitution remains strong. And I’d die to defend it; were Trump, or any other politician, really try to abuse it in the sense that you mean, I’d gladly fight to the death to stop the usurper (don’t care about his/her political affiliation).
I typically agree with this, people said the same about Bush and Obama and I always wrote that off. However, I have to say that it appears Trump will use every dirty trick in the playbook to stay in office but I don't think it will last, if he doesn't go willingly they'll remove him physically.
 

fooferdoggie

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How can it contain him if no one will enforce it on him? the republican senate does not have the balls to make trump behave and he knows it and acts accordingly.
 
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Thomas Veil

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I do wonder when he says things like this.
"You know what? You're not going to know this — possibly, if you really did it right — for months or for years. Because these ballots are all going to be lost, they're all going to be gone," Trump said, repeating false claims about vote-by-mail ballots.

With anyone else, that's the kind of thing we'd dismiss as absolutely crazy talk. I mean, there aren't "months or years" to count the ballots. The EC meets in mid-December. Then again with him...I don't know, he's done so many things we thought he'd never be able to do. I don't trust anything anymore.

And then there was this lovely comment (from the same link):
"Usually at the end of the evening, they say 'Donald Trump has won the election, Donald Trump is your new president,'" Trump said during a press conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey, resort.

Really? Is this just his usual egotistical bluster, or an indication of how he's determined to see the election play out?
 

Alli

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His plan is to hide ballots for months or years. He wants the job for life. If he gets another 4 years, it will be for life.
 

yaxomoxay

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I do wonder when he says things like this.


With anyone else, that's the kind of thing we'd dismiss as absolutely crazy talk. I mean, there aren't "months or years" to count the ballots. The EC meets in mid-December. Then again with him...I don't know, he's done so many things we thought he'd never be able to do. I don't trust anything anymore.

And then there was this lovely comment (from the same link):


Really? Is this just his usual egotistical bluster, or an indication of how he's determined to see the election play out?

There is one question I have however, purely technical.
Suppose that states chose the vote by mail. Suppose that in some close races the USPS certifies that it hasn’t delivered all the ballots (possible if the vote by mail is accepted until section day), and/or suppose that USPS certifies that it has lost enough ballots to swing the results.
What happens? I mean, constitutionally, what happens?
I am truly curious to know if there is a definite answer, I am not trying to promote conspiracy theories etc
 

Thomas Veil

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A definitive answer? I doubt there is one. Truly I think we'd be in Constitutional crisis mode. There are no contingency plans for do-overs, but I imagine one party or the other would sue in a case that would make it to the Supreme Court and would make Bush vs. Gore look like a pillow fight.

If the postal service knows that there are literally millions of ballots undelivered, I suppose the basis for a lawsuit would be to require the government to count them, even if delivered late, as if they were delivered by Nov. 3. If the post office says they have lost a huge number of ballots...I have no idea what to tell you.
 

Edd70

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I’d bet $ that Trump appears to lose as the ballots are counted day 1, then does not accept the result because the post office is so slow. He’ll claim there must be many Trump votes somewhere in mailbags.

It drags on for a few weeks, maybe goes to SC. In the end, he goes, but it won’t be pretty.
 

lizkat

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There is one question I have however, purely technical.
Suppose that states chose the vote by mail. Suppose that in some close races the USPS certifies that it hasn’t delivered all the ballots (possible if the vote by mail is accepted until section day), and/or suppose that USPS certifies that it has lost enough ballots to swing the results.
What happens? I mean, constitutionally, what happens?
I am truly curious to know if there is a definite answer, I am not trying to promote conspiracy theories etc

Yeah there could even be "issues" asserted regarding the postmarking or lack of it etc. In the NY primaries some of the huge flood of absentee votes were initially set aside and not counted bc they were not postmarked, i.e. the return envelopes provided by some BOEs had regular business reply type postpaid markings, so they didn't get a postmark. But it went to court and they ended up included.... meaning the count was delayed by weeks.

As far as "lost ballots" though, in states where they haven't done much mail-in vote processing before past regular absentee vote handling, that's a potentially large problem.

In theory it's possible to go to court over a voter's affadavit that he never received a requested absentee ballot or returned the ballot the BOE can certify they mailed to him but they never got it back. They know to whom they mailed ballots and they also know who returned them (not how you voted, but that you voted).

The problem there is mostly about the passage of time that it takes to organize class action lawsuits and process them through the court.

That may or may not favor Trump in assorted states' court systems (voting is managed at state level) but it signals movement of "the problem" from states, where the bench may be more or less biased than current federal district benches, to the federal level which leans more conservative now, and so to the Supreme Court itself (over Constitutional issues like what happens when the electors can't gather and pick a prez before inauguration day). I would expect Trump would hope it lands in the high court, actually.

It could get really messy. I want to hear a lot more about secure drop boxes which some states that already do universal mail-in voting also provide as alternative to literally mailing the ballots back. How do the boxes get distributed, like is it by voting precinct? Is oversight of their opening done like vote counting, with bipartisan pollwatchers?
 

Scepticalscribe

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if trump loses, he’s out on 1/20/2021. Him conceding is a useless exercise, once the Electors cast their vote, the president is chosen. There might be some complaining, but then he’s done anyways.

as for you last point, which amounts to dictatorship, there is no way he could succeed. He didn’t even use Covid to expand the powers of the Executive (quite surprising if you ask me), he won’t be able to do anything just because of electoral results.

In other words, don’t worry my friend. The US constitution is stronger than Trump, Biden, Hillary, Obama etc. Sometimes we trip a bit, but the Constitution remains strong. And I’d die to defend it; were Trump, or any other politician, really try to abuse it in the sense that you mean, I’d gladly fight to the death to stop the usurper (don’t care about his/her political affiliation).

one note: if I remember correctly, the only Nixon cabinet member that was convicted was AG John Mitchell. The other casualties were not cabinet members. Then, you also have Spiro Agnew but that’s a whole different story...

I stand corrected; my memory bank had also recorded at the time the names of both Haldeman & Ehrlichman without committing to memory their precise positions in Nixon's administration. Mea culpa.

Usually, I am meticulous in confirming details before I post; something about this forum has caused me to relax, stretch out and simply rely on memory....
 
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