Presidents Should Not Legislate Public Policy: Trump Should Be Mediator -In- Chief
President Donald Trump is unleashing a flurry of public policy shifts with his liberal use of Executive Orders and other Presidential powers. Given Trump’s heavy criticism of President Obama for “governing by Executive Order,” he is both guilty of Presidential overreach and hypocrisy. What Obama did and what Trump is doing, however, is nothing new. Presidents have long utilized Executive powers to intentionally circumvent the legislative process and the direct input of Congress, which has weakened the influence of Congress and strengthened the influence of the Executive Branch. The fear is, of course, that expanded Presidential powers make it far easier for an authoritarian regime to take root. On the other hand, there is a very compelling reason most Presidents have unilaterally expanded their own authority or sought added authority from a willing Congress.
Where President Obama faced unprecedented obstructionism from Republicans, President Trump faces unprecedented obstructionism from Democrats. Although this escalating cycle of bipartisan obstructionism defines a new era of extreme dysfunction for democratic governance, it is precisely the inability of Congress to respond to issues within a timely manner with effective legislation that pushed Congress to cede its own power to the President. The responsibility of the Executive Branch is to execute the will of Congress and the responsibility of the President is to be the top representative for all Americans. It is the President’s job to serve the interests of US citizens; whereas, members of Congress have the responsibility to represent the interests of their own constituents when crafting public policies for the good of the whole country. Because members of Congress became too interested in bending the legislative process to serve their constituents, i.e. pork, Congress steadily lost the ability to function and had to rely on the President to act.