In March, when Donald Trump’s inevitability was more accomplished than most of us realized, I saw a silver lining to his popularity and then-potential presidency: Simply imagining Trump in the White House was enough to make many people understand for the first time just how dangerous our too-powerful executive really is.
The rise of Donald Trump—no matter what else one thinks of him—has one big advantage, I argued, because it perfectly illustrates what we libertarians have been saying for years, namely that the executive branch has way, way, way too much power.
To be sure, there are a lot of specifics about Trump’s personal character and policy agenda that make his win troubling in its own right. But any candidate’s win (very much including Hillary Clinton) would have been troubling for a structural reason much bigger than Trump himself.
Indeed, as I said in March, what really makes “President Trump” so scary for those who oppose him is that (bureaucratic and congressional foot-dragging aside), they know that the modern imperial presidency would give Trump enormous power. And though some may have been comfortable seeing that power in the hands of a Clinton, or a Bush, or an Obama, envisioning it under Trump’s control reveals this overgrown executive for the horror it is.