It's time for the electorate of the United States, consent of the governed, government of the people, by the people, and for the people and all that, to say no to elected monarchs. That's not what Ross Douthat is seeing.
Executive-branch Caesarism has been raised to new heights by the last two presidents, and important parts of the country have responded by upping the ante, and — like ancient Israelites in the Book of Samuel — basically clamoring for a king.That train left the station a long time ago. Perhaps the electorate have not yet been disabused of the notion that Naggin', Crooked Hillary or Bad Improv Donald will put things right where The Magic Negro or The Compassionate Conservative could not.
That clamor is loudest from the Trumpistas and their dear leader. Donald Trump is clearly running to be an American caudillo, not the president of a constitutional republic, and his entire campaign is a cult of personality in the style of (the pro-Trump) Vladimir Putin.
Tellingly, none of these Trump-era enthusiasms involve a reinvigoration of congressional prerogatives or a renewed push for federalism and states’ rights.That Sherlock Holmes maxim about eliminating the impossible imposes neither a time limit on how long it takes to conduct the elimination nor an upper bound on the ways in which explanations that must be eliminated emerge in the first place. Mr Douthat fears it will not turn out well. "But even if the risk of a true post-constitutional power grab is low, the arc of our history still bends toward a Trumpian conception of the presidency, which means the limits on its power will probably continue to erode — justified in the name of pragmatism, of Hamiltonian energy, of the need to 'get things done.'"
Quite the reverse: They all imagine that the solution to our problems lies with a more effective and still-more-empowered president, free from antique constitutional limits and graced with a mandate that transcends partisanship.
We have much to look forward to.