Just for fun, let us try to think about the structure an Authoritarian United States would look like. I’m not talking about how it would come about, nor what life would be like but what the government and formal structure would look like. An yes this is a nerdie Political Science experiment.
First some rules:
No magic, nor any fantastic science can be used. So no ancient evil demons or gods. No mind controlling computers.
Keep the changes as clean and simple as possible. So no writing a completely new constitution. Amendments are ok, but no replacing whole articles with totally new text.
Don’t get rid of the States. Yes you can reduce or remove their power but they have to still exist and function to some degree.
You have to show how it would work. Think of how you would explain our current system to someone who has never heard of the USA.
Now I know a some few of you say this is not possible but I would like to point out that Caesar Augustus did this to the Roman Republic two thousand years ago. So think about what offices need to be changed and how. What changes to the three branches would need to be made? How they work together? Who controls what and when. How would you change things to get the several states to fall in line and do as they are told.
With the filing of a lawsuit to bar Donald Trump from that states Primary and General ballots we have now given Donals Trump what many, if not all, Presidential Candidates want……A truly historical election. Article III of the 14th Amendment has rarely been invoked and never been tested in the federal courts completely. We now have the chance to see just what, if anything it means in a practical real world way.
I will not be addressing whether what is happening is a good thing politically; I leave that for a later posting. Rather I want to encourage everyone to read up on the 14th Amendment, both its history and legal scholarship. I think you will be both shocked, surprised, and disappointed by what you find. I was but I was also please to note one thing. Since the Civil War the United States has had no significant insurrections , in fact I found only three possible candidates and all three could be and are no more than what happen on January 6th 2021 (excepting the occupation of the Capital). An until now the 14th’s Section 3 has been little thought of and invoked even less. Why this should be makes for a great history paper and I will refrain from do that here.
What is going to be happening, starting now, is a test of just what the 3rd article of the 14th Amendment really means. With the death of the last person to ever fight in the Civil War in 1959 is the 3rd article a “dead letter”? There are good arguments for this. The debate on the 14th Amendment hardly touched on the 3rd article an I have found nothing in the debates about disqualification. (See CREW for details of disqualification)This will be the first time since the 1860’s anyone on the level of a National office is in danger of being disqualified. This is important for both legal and political reasons. With Donald Trump facing this problem rest assured the MAGA-GOP will, somehow, take actions to apply disqualification to the first non-MAGA-GOP to run for President or Vice President. It will happen.
As for the law? I don’t know. I do know that every American needs to watch the coming trials carefully. I mean not just the trials of Donals Trump and his Co-Conspirators but also all of the trials dealing with who is allowed on the ballot(s). Even the most radical judge can be a good judge when they know they are being watch. Watched not only by their peers, nor the scholars of law, but by also by the electorate at large. You don’t have to do much, just let anyone and everyone know you are watching. An unlike the radical right, the common electorate needs no threats, just their eyes and minds.
I would like to share a fun little thing I do to get a perspective on things. I also use it to show why I have such high hopes for the kids of today. So here we go….
First think about the year you were born. In my case that is 1951. Now think about 100 years earlier, again in my case that would be 1851. Now here comes the first hard part, think about how people lived in that year. Then think about how things were 100 years ago, 1923 and how people lived back the. This last part is easier to do because there is an excellent and very readable history “Only Yesterday’ by Fredrick Lewis Allen to help you out. Now just think about just how much things changed in that time. In 1851 the telegraph was brand new. There was no Republican Party. Most Americans lived either on farms or in small market towns, lest than a few thousand people. Slavery was still going strong in the south. Most people depended on walking to get anywhere, you were both luck and well off to be able to ride a mule or a horse and that for a long trip, like 20 miles to town. Finally a dollar a day was very good wages, especially if you were paired in gold coin.
Now let us look at 1923. The telegraph is being changed by the Telephone. Railroads are “The” way to travel long distance over land. Commercial Radio stations were springing up and in two years the live broadcast of a Presidential Inauguration will take place. The start of the age of the automobile and expanse of paved highways between towns. The idea that to become a medical doctor you need to have a college degree before medical school. The list seems to go on and on.
Now look at your life, in my case 1951 to 2023 and look at what you took for granted when you were in grade school or Middle school or High school. For me one easy way is to watch old movies of the 1960’s that I watched. Not just science fiction, spy dramas, crime dramas, even comedies. With Science fiction it can be an especially big giggle when they talk about the distant future like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solent Green (set in 2022)., By the way I’m still waiting for my self driving flying car. Other movies like “Fantastic Voyage” and “ Satan Bug” can remind you of cutting edge technologies of the 1960s. In any case it will give you a wonderful feel for how we misestimated the changes we will see, both what we thought would happen and things we never saw coming.
Now to the whole point of this experiment. When ever you start getting down about the state of the world. When the “Doom” sayers get to you take a look and all we have accomplished in just your life time and even before. An have faith in the kids to over face what comes, to adapt and to over come.