Donald Trump campaigned vigorously on promises of ripping up President Obama’s executive orders on guns, immigration, Cuba, and more. And while most conservatives will be happy to see him follow through on those promises, we should hope that he won’t go further than that and make a bad situation worse.
As president, Trump has a golden opportunity to erase the worst of the Obama legacy, which has nothing to do with Democrats/Republicans or conservatism/liberalism. It has to do with the presidency itself, which has become far too powerful and autonomous under the stewardship of our current leader. That’s not just bad for conservatives; it’s bad for the country’s commitment to democracy.
Our government was designed as a system of checks and balances. No one branch of the federal government should have an unchallenged say over the direction of the country. The Supreme Court, Congress, and the White House must work in tandem, but they must never become rubber stamps for each other. Nor must they become so powerful that the other two branches become obsolete.
President Obama, when facing difficulties in Congress, simply chose to write the law from the Oval Office. And while he has been stopped frequently by the courts, he has done immeasurable damage to the Constitution with his constant quest for more power.
Riding the high of this election, it will be tempting to cheer while Trump uses Obama’s tactics against the left. Republicans haven’t been in control of the White House since 2009, and we’ve got a lot of ground to make up.
This would be a tragic error. We have to remember: There will come a day when a Democrat is back in office, and we can’t afford to give that man more power than our current executive already has. We have to take the lead and start rolling back presidential power, and Congress needs to get serious about accepting their rightful role in our democracy.
One of Trump’s biggest perceived strengths is his ability to cut a deal. Many Americans want him to use that ability to get the wheels of Washington rolling again. If he can work through the congressional system to get things done and accept the outcome when he can’t, he will have done the country a greater service than he could with any imaginable executive order.