No, Trump Is Not Planning To Be A Dictator

The headline in the New York Times seems terrifying. “Trump and Allies Forge Plans to Increase Presidential Power in 2025.” The article explains that they “are planning a sweeping expansion […]

The headline in the New York Times seems terrifying. “Trump and Allies Forge Plans to Increase Presidential Power in 2025.” The article explains that they “are planning a sweeping expansion of presidential power over the machinery of government if voters return him to the White House in 2025, reshaping the structure of the executive branch to concentrate far greater authority directly in his hands.”

That sounds awful, something any red-blooded American who believes in freedom should oppose. Don’t tread on me!

But these days, nothing is as it seems. The Times’ spin is clever but utter bollocks. The plan is to remove executive agencies’ power over the American people and grant more oversight of them by the elected executive. This change, which would indeed be huge, amounts to a restoration of the original Constitutional structure, which nowhere makes room for 400+ agencies operating independently from the president.

Right now the structure is utterly ridiculous. These agencies are called executive agencies but the president cannot hire and fire from within their ranks. He barely controls their operations. That makes no sense at all. It doesn’t matter that the system in place rose up over many decades even going back 100 years. It’s still completely unconstitutional.

Imagine getting elected president and gradually coming to discover that millions of employees of your own department do not answer to you or to any of your appointments. It’s true that you can appoint the heads of these agencies and a staff for them. But they arrive with no institutional knowledge or competence in the daily workings of the bureaucracy and are mostly bullied by the permanent employees.

That’s how the system works now. It only pretends to be part of the democratic structure. Otherwise, the Deep State operates on its own.

No one knows better about this problem than Donald Trump. He faced relentless attacks from career bureaucrats from the day he arrived. He was constantly told that he could not fire them or replace them due to court precedent and union rules. He must have wondered what the point of being president is. It’s like being CEO and catching all the blame for anything that goes wrong in a company without being able to control 99 percent of its operations.

I’ve maintained that the Trump plan to gut the Deep State, which really took shape over time and especially during 2020, is the real reason that he is hated and feared by the media and the entire establishment. The media and career bureaucrats, along with industrial interests, have formed an insider club going back many decades. It works for them but not for the interests of the American people.

Trump’s plan is actually the most viable strategy ever to emerge to get government off the backs of the people. Indeed, it’s never been tried before, not even by Ronald Reagan. Every time a decent Republican gets elected, or a Democrat accidentally comes up with a good idea, they are foiled by the administrative bureaucracy. It’s been going on for a good part of 100 years. That’s because this fourth branch of government has grown and grown to become completely out of control in every literal sense. The Trump plan proposes to do something about it.

The number one job of the president of the United States is to be the chief executive of the federal government. Under the current system, he simply cannot do his job. Millions of “civil servants” are there to wait it out, push back, ignore, and otherwise subvert every administration no matter what the political vision. Everyone knows this is going on. Everyone on the inside knows that the elections are just for public amusement while the real business of government and its industrial interests is to be the master of everyone.

What’s remarkable is how little public discussion there is about this subject. The elected representatives don’t like to tell voters that they aren’t actually in charge. That’s rather humiliating. Meanwhile, Deep State bureaucrats don’t talk to the public at all because they hate the people and the Constitution. They have ignored it their entire careers. Commentators on the outside have generally been aware of the problem.

It wasn’t until Trump started talking about draining the swamp did any of this become a political issue. We all suddenly had an intuitive sense that he was onto something. The problem is that Trump completely underestimated the scope of the problem and did not really have a scheme to deal with it. That took all his years in office to figure out.

Trump has more or less admitted this. He said that he didn’t know anything about how D.C. worked. “I never stayed overnight. Ever. And then all of a sudden, I’m the President of the United States and it’s like a different society. I was New York and you know, it was a different thing. So I didn’t know people, I became President.”

Indeed. And that’s exactly how the establishment likes it.

By the time he got a plan together, it was really too late. The COVID era was really nothing other than a revenge of the Deep State. Once Trump went along with his advisors—Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx—and permissioned lockdowns, the bureaucracies put the country under quasi-martial law and gave the public some old-fashioned shock-and-awe tyranny just to show who’s boss. Trump was never able to regain his momentum after that.

He considered firing Fauci and Birx but was repeatedly told that he could not. That surely confused him and later angered him. What does it mean to be president if you are not actually in charge of the branch of government that you head?

As he approached the end of the first term, he started issuing executive orders to bring the Deep State under control. His idea was to reclassify vast numbers of federal employees as Schedule F, which would allow the president to hire and fire them. That order caused an incredible freak-out in Washington and the media generally. Biden repealed the action first thing after taking power. Why? Because finally one president had figured out the racket.

There’s no question that Trump’s reforms here would grant more power to the president but power over what? Not over the American people. It would give him more power over the agencies that are currently engaged in ongoing oppression of the people’s liberties.

The critics say that this would make him a dictator but what about the dictatorship of the bureaucracies now? Surely we must deal with this. Now that Trump has finally found a viable plan, they are calling him a would-be dictator? It’s true that there is a danger that the president would use these agencies for political reasons rather than do what he should, which is take away all their power. But in any case, the plan is a good and necessary start.

Be careful what you believe in this season. There is a lot of flimflam out there.

To be sure, this plan is not without dangers. All power is subject to abuse. If I had my way, the president would only preside over a do-nothing government that kept within its Constitutional bounds. That would be the abolition of hundreds of agencies. But that is not the world in which we live.

The only means of which I know that agency dictatorship can be dismantled is for the elected government to gain control over it. Do you know of another way?

And by the way, it is not just Trump who has come around on this topic. Ron DeSantis is 100 percent in on the plan too and has mapped out a detailed proposal to get the administrative state under control. The same is true of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who further adds that he has been battling this system his entire life. The Supreme Court, too, seems poised to curb the power of executive agencies.

With all this new talk and plans, this really could be a turning point in U.S. history. We’ve lived under an oppressive system for many decades and finally some people are becoming aware of the problem. Finally we could see a reversal of the existing dictatorship by bureaucracy and restoration of the Constitution, at least the beginnings of it. Finally the Republicans are getting wise to the game. That’s the source of establishment panic.

 

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown.

 

Related Items:

Jeffrey A. Tucker’s interview with David Leis on Leaders on the Frontier found here.

His testimony at the National Citizens Inquiry linked here.

 

 

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