If you see the name Howard Beale mentioned in terms of either the Brexit story or the Trump campaign, even Bernie Sanders, there is one key phrase to remember. Beale was a character from the movie “Network” whose catch phrase was “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
While I admire the spirit of Brexit and to a lesser extent the Trump campaign, it is a disorganized public response to decades of government interference. In the case of the United States, it is possible to replace every member of Congress and an average of 5 Supreme Court Justices in a span of 18 years. We never do it.
What infuriates me is how all the political revolutions in the last 40 years (Reagan, the Gingrich Congress, the Tea Party) are all conservative. It makes me think that these people, my people, wander around in a daze for about a decade before they realize the country has gone to crap and finally get off the couch to vote for the right people. In their defense, the Republican Party does tend to cater to the right when all other options have been exhausted. Still, people can still vote and they choose to vote for the face on their screen the most.
So, now we have Donald Trump. He is very much the parallel to Obama. He’s animated by media attention, he promises vague and sweeping improvements to the world by being elected to a job which used to have the Constitutional authority to merely sign trade agreements and declare war. Trump wants to use the same Executive Order power to end the Executive Orders of Obama. I have an idea. Why not lobby Congress to reduce or end the power to issue Executive Orders in the first place?
The founders of the United States had an idea of how government should work. The House and especially the Senate should be deliberative bodies, deciding the issues of the day. The president decides if a simple majority is sufficient to pass that law and the Supreme Court works to avoid collusion by the other two branches.
Political parties make that nearly impossible. Obamacare exists because Barack Obama needed to promise health care to beat Hillary Clinton. The Congress needed to get some money from insurance companies and the Supreme Court had just enough members ready to declare it Constitutional. With the exception of John Roberts, it was all made possible by only Democrats and Democrat appointees.
The last check or balance left is the voter. For all the bitching and moaning about how the Republicans are the same as Democrats, the GOP has been the sane party for decades. If you don’t like the Republicans in office, the last 3 elections have proven that primaries work. Unfortunately, the GOP’s decision to game primaries against Ron Paul gave us Donald Trump. He’s part of the family (for now). We’ll have to figure out if he will listen to an intervention or if he will self-destruct.