HomeNewsAnalysisPardon Me . . . Trump Could Wade Into Uncharted Territory

Pardon Me . . . Trump Could Wade Into Uncharted Territory

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Editor’s Note: This is a news analysis intended to help contextualize important issues of the day so our readers can better understand issues that are appearing in the news and so they can make more informed decisions about public matters. Writer Hubert van Tuyll is a professor of history at A...

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Convincing analysis, but regarding expotus Trump’s last-resort option, after web searching lists of countries who do not currently have extradition treaties with the US, I wonder what standard of respectability Prof. van Tuyll is using. May we have a few examples of the respectable countries he has in mind?

      • I have to admit that until your reply I was entirely ignorant about Andorra. After a cursory internet search, I see what you mean. Still, it is hard (but interesting) to picture how Mr. Trump (and family) would adapt culturally to Andorra or, for that matter, Taiwan.

    • To maintain a functioning Federal system, mainly. Senators now are just another expression of popular will, and sometimes the voting for or against senators is purely because of popular views on national candidates and national issues. Also, I legislatures’ appointing senators would avoid some of the most egregious demagogues.

  2. Two comments: First, is it possible that President Trump as he has done so often yanking the chain of the media? Sort of like putting a laser dot on the wall for a cat to chase?
    Second, as to David’s point. Passage of the 17th Amendment was one of the most destructive aspects of our republican form of government and moving it toward a democracy which the Founders hated. It was passed during the Progressive Era when there was a big push toward making the country a democracy. At that time President Wilson said the old documents written in the 1700’s didn’t apply to the modern era and the Constitution should be a living document that changes with the time. The Senate being chosen by the state legislature and the House by the people was a great compromise. The House represented the interests of the people and the Senate represented the interests of the state. There are issues in which the two are not in agreement. A modern example was Obamacare. The people clamored for the free stuff and the states said they could not pay for it. The Senate was designed so that as Washington or Jefferson is reported to have said, “The Senate is the saucer in which the hot coffee from the House goes to cool.” As of now, the states have no representative in DC protecting their interests. How often do senators come back and sit down with the state legislatures and discuss their concerns and interests? These are just a few thoughts,.

    • As to your first point, anything is possible. If the story is true that he won’t resign because he doesn’t trust MP to pardon him, then I would think it is real.
      As to the second, the states do not have a body representing them any more. If states had a real representative assembly (the Senate) to safeguard their position, we might have less partisanship in the Senate, which could have led to calmer discussions on an issue like expanded national health care.

      • Hubert, You’re so right as they would not have to prostitute themselves to get the vote of the people. As you know the idea the importance of the states as entities go back to the ratifying conventions of the states. I like it when Patrick Henry speaking during the Virginia convention about the Preamble starting off “We the People..” and he says “We the People? What right do they have to say ‘We the People?’ It should be We the States!” As best I can recall that quote. Correct me if I’m wrong but did not the Treaty of Paris talk about the 13 sovereign states and list them? I’ve also read that the original Preamble said “We the People of the states of…” and it listed them but it was cut back for space considerations.

        • Patrick Henry was one of those concerned about the changed status of the States, but I suspect he was in the minority among even Virginia leaders. The speed with which the Founding Fathers flushed state sovereignty shows that they realized that the country could not survive otherwise. You’re quite right about the Treaty of Paris, which resulted in a “country” incapable of defending itself, abroad or at home. That is why so much of the Philadelphia discussions were about the shape of the new central government and its Presidency, because states did not want to be submerged. Madison warned that that would never be the real issue — and on this, like so many things, he proved quite prescient. There has never been a real states’ rights movement in America; I was astounded how many on the “Right” were willing to toss them aside recently, but that was my mistake. They have always only been used as a tool, never a real issue in and of themselves.

  3. I think the issue of states rights as far as intent has really been misunderstood. I believe many of our problems today could have been prevented if the Anti-Federalists were successful in some of their objections to the 1787 Constitution. What would be an interesting exercise is to see how amending the Articles of Confederation could have accomplished what was needed to overcome their weaknesses of which there were many. The majority of people who criticize the Articles have never read or studied them. I believe the Articles were closer to the Spirit of 1776 of the Founders than the 1787 Constitution of the Framers. If the Federalists would have paid more attention to the proposed 200 or so amendments by the ratification conventions of the states. Even with the shortcomings of our Constitution it is the greatest in history.

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