On Tuesday, writing for The New Yorker, columnist John Cassidy outlined some key steps that should be taken to "Trump-proof" the presidency, holding leaders more beholden to ethics laws and the democratic process.
"The past four years have taught us that the American system of government is no match for a President who, like Trump, will not hesitate to break long-established rules and norms," wrote Cassidy. "During his four years in office, the forty-fifth President has lied on a daily basis; purged officials who challenged him; used his vast social-media following to intimidate other elected Republicans; charged the federal government millions of dollars for the use of his private businesses; awarded prominent positions to his family members; pardoned some of his closest political allies; and, finally, tried to overturn a perfectly legitimate election. Conceivably, he could run for office again in four years. What can be done to Trump-proof the Presidency against him or an acolyte?"
The first step, he argued, would be to sideline the Electoral College with the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which will award participating states' electors to the national popular vote winner if more than 270 electors are bound by the agreement. More states could also adopt ranked-choice voting, ensuring third parties can't act as a spoiler.
Beyond that, argued Cassidy, ethics laws should be updated, with some experts advocating mandatory tax disclosure for presidential candidates. Other ideas include expanding the Hatch Act — the statute limiting civil service workers from engaging in political activity — so that the Office of Special Counsel power can enforce it directly.
"Even in a state that shows signs of failing, laws, administrative guidelines, and civic institutions matter," wrote Cassidy. "The introduction of a range of ameliorative measures would help to bolster U.S. democracy for the challenges ahead. And the very act of reform would demonstrate to Americans—and the rest of the world—that the system is amenable, at least in some measure, to correction and self-renewal. After four years of Trump, that, in itself, would be an important sign of progress."
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