What President Trump and the Country Needs
Joel S. Hirschhorn
It should be clear to just about everyone now that President Trump faces incredible opposition, both legal and illegal, from multiple institutions. One is the mostly liberal mass media, particularly major newspapers and TV and cable channels. Very little can be done about this. The very strong, well funded Democrats still in agonizing pain from the Hillary defeat has seen that the path to defeating and possibly impeaching Trump is the biased media. It is also being nourished by countless federal employees opposed to Trump giving countless damaging leaks to the press.
So what is a smart political, populist strategy for Trump? I will tell you. And I can assure you that you have not read or heard this strategy before.
The effective strategy must have the power to prevail over both Congress and the Judicial branch. Why Congress which is now controlled by Republicans? Because it is unlikely to move forcefully and quickly to pass a host of laws that would enable Trump to achieve his broad policy goals. Congress is too fragmented in the Senate and House and does not work hard enough.
As to the Judicial branch, it is largely now controlled at the district and appeals levels by judges appointed by Democrats. And the Supreme Court is now evenly divided and even if the current trump nominee, Judge Gorsuch, eventually gets confirmed, it still can pose delays and losses when Democrat forces mount a very large number of court actions sufficient to stall Trump initiatives.
Trump has a constitutional opportunity to greatly sidestep the drag of both Congress and the Judiciary. The opportunity is right there in Article V. It, however, has never been used. Now is the historic time and opportunity to build a strong national force for using the mechanism of an Article V convention. Such a convention has the constitutional power to propose constitutional amendments, instead of the usual route of Congressional proposals, but that also require ratification by three quarters of the states. Here it is important to note that Republicans have massive power in state legislatures, which constitutionally submit requests to Congress for such a convention and eventually to ratify constitutional amendments.
A huge number of states have already submitted requests to Congress for an Article V convention, but the constitution requires Congress to "call" the convention, and it has refused to loosen its power and do so.
President Trump should see the Article V convention as the cornerstone of a strategy to overcome the obstacles posed by Congress and the Judiciary. He has the skills to convert his successful populist movement that gave him the presidency into a 60 million strong popular movement demanding that Congress call the first Article V convention. It is that simple.
Now is the time for all smart Americans who want true structural reforms of our delusional democracy to learn about this constitutional mechanism created by the nation’s Founders and realize that now is the historic opportunity to finally make it happen. It is the mechanism for peacefully obtaining the much needed Second American Revolution.
[Joel S. Hirschhorn was a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; he has authored five nonfiction books, including Delusional Democracy – Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government.]