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Old 02-03-2020, 09:58 AM
Chad Sudan is offline
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What do Democratic candidates say about limiting presidential powers?


If Democrats recapture the White House and the Senate in 2020, what have the current Democratic presidential candidates proposed to do to rein in presidential power?

Although the unchecked power of this White House is very much on the minds of Democratic voters, I'm not aware of any candidates proposing specific and direct policies to try to curb future Trumps. And it strikes me as a massively important issue.

On this subject, the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin had a valuable column.

(Yes, you read that correctly: Jennifer Rubin had a valuable column.)

She laid out numerous specific suggestions for executive branch reform:

* Congressional oversight: Beef up penalties for contempt of Congress; protect whistleblowers; outlaw asking foreign governments for election help; require presidents to release tax returns and place business holdings in a blind trust.

* Reassertion of Congress's powers: ending presidential "emergency powers," limiting tenure of "acting" Cabinet secretaries, limiting unilateral use of force by president

* Limit executive orders, limit presidential control of Justice Department, and permit indictment of a sitting president.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...ing-president/

(And yes, I know that none of these reforms mean anything unless those in power agree to enforce them, and that ultimately so much depends on defeating the authoritarian-enabling Republicans. But these reforms should be a major issue in the campaign!)

So to repeat my original question: What do the various Democratic candidates want to do about unchecked presidential powers?
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:09 AM
BobLibDem is online now
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I think this is long overdue. The trouble is, it's hard to get people to vote for you if you say "Hey, voters! Elect me and I'll back legislation to limit my powers!"

In addition to those suggested by the OP, I have these:

* Ban signing statements. Either you sign the bill or veto it.

* Limits on number of presidential vacation trips and ending Secret Service protection after leaving office.

* Ban tweets. If you have something to say, put out a press release.
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Sudan View Post
Although the unchecked power of this White House is very much on the minds of Democratic voters, I'm not aware of any candidates proposing specific and direct policies to try to curb future Trumps. And it strikes me as a massively important issue.
IMHO it's the Senate (and/or its Majority Leader) who needs to be curbed. Trump wouldn't have the power he does if the other branches of government hadn't enabled him. And the Senate's abuse of power pre-dates Trump (e.g. the blocking of Merrick Garland).
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:03 AM
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I do NOT get this urge to "fix" problems procedurally. (And especially dislike the idea of responding to the abuses of a GOP crook, by limiting his Dem successor ).

In another thread, OP wants to, in effect, replace the 67% Senate vote to remove from office with a 51% vote of the House of Reps.

The way to cope with crooks and idiots at the highest level is to STOP ELECTING THEM. The way to stop electing them is CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM. (The way to get campaign finance reform is to pack the Supreme Court. Of course that won't happen. Sorry. Told ya so.)
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Old 02-03-2020, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by BobLibDem View Post
I think this is long overdue. The trouble is, it's hard to get people to vote for you if you say "Hey, voters! Elect me and I'll back legislation to limit my powers!"

In addition to those suggested by the OP, I have these:

* Ban signing statements. Either you sign the bill or veto it.

* Limits on number of presidential vacation trips and ending Secret Service protection after leaving office.

* Ban tweets. If you have something to say, put out a press release.
Can’t really agree. If people think Trump or Obama golfs too much, they can use that as a reason to vote against them. The president is the president 24/7 if they’re holding a 9 iron or a meeting in the situation room. And trust me, I’ve worked jobs where it was impossible to get time off and any time off would be looked at with serious roll eyes from your manager.

I definitely don’t agree with ending secret service protection for ex presidents. They’re always going to be a target, not only for lone nut jobs but also terrorist groups.

The vacation and secret service money is a drop in the bucket but a way for people to express their outrage. It kinda reminds me of every ‘genius’ fast food manager who decides they’ll make huge profits by strictly rationing the ketchup and sauce packets, because that’s where the all the profits are going. Of course, they continue to ignore the slow lunch cashier who spends half the time texting but they keep her around because she’s easy on the eyes.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:43 AM
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Almost all of these proposals are so clearly unconstitutional that they would be struck down in a heartbeat.

Limiting the President's control of the Justice Department? Was I napping when a constitutional amendment was passed that said that instead of in a president, the executive was entrusted to the Justice Department? Requiring the release of tax returns? Did the Constitution change and say that a president should be over 35, a natural born citizen, at least 14 years a resident of the United States, and a person who has released his income tax returns?

Who will indict the president? He is the one who makes sure the laws are executed. He cannot indict himself. It's something of a constitutional dimension, not a law that can be passed.

If these things are deal breakers, then the next president should not be named Trump. But if he is, Congress cannot just assume executive power.
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