If you aren't already sufficiently nervous about what comes next in the wacky world of our current "president," you should read a long, smart, and terrifying analysis by Elizabeth Goitien of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. If you don't have time to read the full piece, take a look at this get-to-the-point video by Goitien for The Atlantic.
The headline of the analysis is: "What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency." Goitien describes the many emergency powers that Congress has granted presidents over the years. They're still on the books, and Trump could take advantage of them if he needs them, say, to suppress journalism. What would the emergency be? Well, pretty much anything that makes Trump feel cornered and desperate would qualify as an emergency in his mind. Then he could use one or more of the many emergency powers waiting around to be invoked.
Here's the scary paragraph that sums up Goitien's concerns:
"This edifice of extraordinary powers has historically rested on the assumption that the president will act in the country’s best interest when using them. With a handful of noteworthy exceptions, this assumption has held up. But what if a president, backed into a corner and facing electoral defeat or impeachment, were to declare an emergency for the sake of holding on to power? In that scenario, our laws and institutions might not save us from a presidential power grab. They might be what takes us down."
The other scary prospect, of course, is how Trump will react (I'm betting, not well) if he finally realizes that he could find himself indicted once he's out of office. Faced with this White-House-or-Big-House possibility, he would do pretty much anything in 2020 to avoid exiting the unindictable comforts of the presidency and facing prosecution. If he wins re-election, he'd have to hope that, by the time he leaves office in January 2025, the statute of limitations would have expired for any crimes he committed during the 2016 presidential campaign. If he runs and loses in 2020, he'd become plain old Citizen Trump in early 2021, and the statute of limitations on any 2016 crimes would not have passed. Faced with that harsh reality, he would run his 2020 campaign as if his life depended on it.
Both possibilities, the invocation of emergency powers and a ferocious, no-holds-barred 2020 re-election effort, should be enough to scare you senseless.
First in my class in Officer Candidate School. Late to the conclusion that our attitude toward the military is idolatrous.