The Trump presidency has lit the passions of the resistance. Trump, I thought on election eve, would also ignite a new interest in the constitution. The founders were right right about a lot and wrong about a lot as well. But they did have a concern for unfettered democracy. We are certainly coming to understand that liberalism and democracy are not always attached.
One would reason that democracy should give Congress a priority. The Progressives have leaned on strong presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and LBJ. The have also embraced an activist court, as long as it leaned in their direction.
It seems than several new books have focused on the Constitution and its early development. Gordon Woods in Friends Divided contrasted the concerns of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Jay Cost, pursuing the roots of American political corruption, contrasted Hamilton and Madison in The Price of Greatness. Joel Paul’s work on John Marshall, Without Precedence covers the influence of our first great Chief Justice.
I read the first two and recommend them both. Paul’s book is in my queue. I am also rereading Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. I recommend the translation by Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. Their introduction is essential.
Can America survive Trump? Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway commented that a business that can not withstand a little bad management is not that great a business.
History provides some solace for those that think that every election and every supreme court nominee is an existential crisis. History is far more illuminating than what passes for news.
The United States with its constitution has survived recessions, depressions, riots, civil wars, world wars, hundreds of hurricanes, droughts, floods, and several presidents that caused great concern at the time.
America will survive Trump and maybe be better because of him.