Timothy Snyder On The Shutdown Showdown: Trump’s Next Move Is To Rule With ‘a regime in a permanent state of emergency’

If we the people choose not to be active then the institutions will slowly — or perhaps even actually more quickly than we expect — fall apart.

By Chauncey Devega
Salon (1/13/19)

The U.S. government has now been partially shut down for three weeks, the longest such closure in our nation’s history. What began as an act of brinksmanship and political hostage-taking by Donald Trump in an effort to extort billions of dollars for his wall along the Mexican border has spiraled out of control.

Trump and the Republican Party’s gambit has left almost a million federal employees without pay, created a situation where some federal employees may even be made homeless, imperiled public safety — including the country’s food supply — and in total betrayed the common good and the president’s oath to protect the well-being of the country. When asked about the harm his shutdown of the federal government is doing to the American people Trump reportedly told Democratic Party leaders, “Then you won’t give me what I want.”

Donald Trump is a person whose entire life, even before he entered politics, was basically against the law. Donald Trump has lived his life flouting the law.

Trump has now escalated his manufactured crisis by threatening to impose a state of national emergency. on the United States. Given that he has repeatedly shown that he is an aspiring tyrant and an authoritarian, such a move would be one more action among many against the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, the twin bedrocks of American democracy.

How would a “national emergency” further Donald Trump’s goals of expanding his power? If such an emergency were invoked by this president, how would it ever end? Trump’s shutdown of the federal government and his policies more generally have caused great pain to his own supporters, yet they continue to enthusiastically back him. Why is this? How are Trump’s efforts to undermine democracy and break the federal government part of a larger strategy by Republicans and other conservatives to remake American society?

In an effort to answer these questions, I recently spoke with Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University and author of “The Road to Unfreedom” and his recent bestseller “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.” …

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Rule Fit For A King: The Long Implications Of A Declaration Of Emergency

There is much more at stake here than a wannabe dictator trying to have a 2,000-mile monument to his bigotry erected along the southern border.

By Klaus Marre
Who.What.Why. (1/13/19)

President Donald Trump, who hates being constrained by pesky things like laws, the separation of powers, or the Constitution, seems poised to invoke a national emergency to get his taxpayer-funded wall built along the southern border.

To save face after triggering a government shutdown over this issue, it is belie…ved that Trump would use this move to seize land along the border and reallocate funds designated for real emergencies to deal with this made-up crisis.

Alarmed conservatives and excited progressives have noted that, once this precedent is created, a future Democratic president could declare national emergencies on things like climate change, gun deaths, or lack of access to health care — to shut down the fossil fuel industry, ban guns, or put in place Medicare for all.

The first problem with that line of thinking is that these people are getting ahead of themselves. Once Trump, who has made it quite clear that he would love to have the sweeping powers of dictators or monarchs, takes this new authority for a spin, he is going to keep using it. …

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