Dear Republicans: I Am Sorry, But This is How Precedents Work

In response to Bernie Sanders promising to jam through his programs by executive fiat if necessary in a declared state of emergency, folks of the Right are rushing to distance themselves from helping to create this monster.  From the National Review

Trump’s emergency declaration was contained to a single issue and a single project. Declaring “climate change” — an amorphous threat that’s perpetually a decade away from destroying us all — a national emergency, however, puts virtually all economic activity under the executive branch’s purview. If we’re to believe media reports, there isn’t a single hardship faced by mankind that isn’t in some dubious way connected to the slight rise of the earth’s temperature. Sanders would empower the same bunch of Malthusian hysterics who have been indefatigably wrong about everything for the past 50 years, to run some of the world’s most powerful bureaucracies.

The Sanders agenda terrifies me as well, but let's not pretend that Trump didn't fully establish the precedent for executive action through declaring states of emergency to end-run a Congress.  The fact it was "just that one time" is meaningless -- that's how precedents work (they are a bit like losing one's virginity in that sense).

It's not like this Democratic move wasn't fully predictable at the time of Trump's action.  Even political outsiders like, say, me were able to do it

I can pretty much guarantee you that if Trump uses this emergency declaration dodge (and maybe even if he doesn't now that Republicans have helped to normalize the idea), the next Democratic President is going to use the same dodge.  I can just see President Warren declaring a state of emergency to have the army build windmills or worse.  In fact, if Trump declares a state of emergency on a hot-button Republican issue, Democratics partisans are going to DEMAND that their President do the same, if for no reason other than tribal tit for tat.


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