Tuesday, June 7, 2016

“Donald Trump is running against the one thing that has always made America great”: The Constitution of the United States of America

“While Americans never have, and probably never will, agree on most things, the Constitution is the one statement on which we all agree. It sets forth what ‘We the People’ believe, and what it actually means to be an American. Every person who serves our Country must take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and each person who becomes a new American must swear to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution...

“The first amendment guarantees that the government ‘shall make no law respecting religion.’ This means what it says — you can’t have a law that is based on religion. America in fact was founded by people who had been persecuted for their religious beliefs and came here seeking relief from governments dictating what religion was acceptable. Donald Trump disagrees with this amendment. He advocates barring people from the United States because of their religion. On December 7, 2015, he called for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’ He further allowed that he might require the registration of all Muslims in a database and mandate special identification of Muslims.

“The first amendment also guarantees that the Government can make no laws ‘abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.’ Donald Trump said on February 26, 2016, that he plans to ‘loosen the libel laws’ in the United States so that he can sue journalists who write unflattering articles. ‘We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when the New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money.’

“The first amendment further guarantees ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble.’ At a public forum on November 22, 2015, supporters of Donald Trump punched and kicked a protestor who had been chanting anti-Trump slogans. Trump stated: ‘Maybe he should have been roughed up. It was disgusting what he was doing.’ After a similar incident in which a person at his rally was arrested for punching a peaceful protestor, Donald Trump said he would look into paying the attacker’s legal fees because the man ‘obviously loves the country.’ That was just the first amendment…

“The fourth amendment guarantees the right of people to be secure in their houses and forbids searches without probable cause. Donald Trump said on November 19, 2015, that he would permit the use of warrantless searches despite the Fourth Amendment: ‘We’re going to have to do things we never did before. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.’ The fourth amendment’s provisions do not include allowing for violation of the fourth amendment.

“The fifth amendment guarantees that no person shall be denied life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Donald Trump on February 10, 2016 stated that people accused of being in the United States illegally ‘may or may not’ be entitled to due process. When his interviewer, Bill O’Reilly, stated ‘I’m telling you, all settled law says once you’re here, you are entitled to our constitutional protection, every single case.’ Donald Trump responded, ‘I disagree.’ So, that is clear; he also disagrees with the Fifth Amendment.

“The sixth amendment was written to serve as a bulwark against government leaders locking up their political adversaries, among other things. It requires that in all criminal cases there must be a public trial, an impartial jury, and numerous other protections to ensure a fair trial… With respect to a U.S. Sergeant, Bowe Bergdahl who was accused of desertion, Donald Trump said that the U.S. military should forego a court martial and that he ‘should have been executed’ and that someone should ‘throw him out of a plane’ without a parachute...

“The eighth amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Donald Trump has endorsed the use of torture and killing the loved ones of criminals as a way to stop terrorism. On March 22, 2016, he stated: ‘Look, I think we have to change our law on the waterboarding thing,’ and that he would ‘go further’ than waterboarding. He said with respect to one suspect, ‘he may be talking but he’ll talk faster with the torture.’ And he proposed that as Commander-in-Chief he would discourage terrorists by directing people to kill children and families who have not committed crimes or engaged in terrorism. ‘When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.’ This has been considered cruel and unusual punishment since even before the United States was established…

“The fourteenth amendment states that all persons born in the United States are citizens of the United States. Donald Trump announced that he would repeal this provision: ‘Mexico and almost every other country anywhere in the world doesn’t have that. We’re the only ones dumb enough, stupid enough to have it.’ The fourteenth amendment also protects the rights of all persons, including non-citizens, from being deprived by a State of life, liberty, or property without due process or being denied equal protection of the law…

“The conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump is offering a new set of ‘Trumpian’ ideas that defy any political category. But what Donald Trump proposes is not new at all, and it is easy to define. What he proposes is largely a return to a time before our Constitution or America existed. ‘We the People’ fought a revolution to create a new government under a Constitution precisely to stop that from happening again. We knew that people in power would be tempted to go back to the old ways, and that people would sometimes be tempted to let them. And so we all agreed on a set of rules that would save us from our worst instincts.

“Trump hasn’t been running against the establishment. He’s not even running against Hillary Clinton. He’s running against the Constitution. And that means one thing. He’s running against the one thing that has always made America great.”

Jeff Bleich is a former United States Ambassador, Special Counsel to the President, and President of the State Bar of California.


  1. Trump is a major distraction to reality. Bloomberg or some other direct Wall Street person with name recognition will swoop in last moment and deliver us from the two most abhorred candidates in fifty years, Hillary and Donald. The Wall St. guy will play the part of the adult in the room who is not a mere party hack or a reality TV star. The status quo will be saved and people embrace corporate control. The charade called American government by the people will continue.

  2. “…For 216 years, our elections, though bitterly contested, have featured the philosophies and character of candidates who were clearly qualified. That is not the case this year. One is glaringly not qualified. So before you do anything with your well-earned degree, you must do everything you can to defeat the retrograde forces that have invaded our democratic process, divided our house, to fight against, no matter your political persuasion, the dictatorial tendencies of the candidate with zero experience in the much maligned but subtle art of governance; who is against lots of things, but doesn’t seem to be for anything, offering only bombastic and contradictory promises, and terrifying Orwellian statements; a person who easily lies, creating an environment where the truth doesn’t seem to matter; who has never demonstrated any interest in anyone or anything but himself and his own enrichment; who insults veterans, threatens a free press, mocks the handicapped, denigrates women, immigrants and all Muslims; a man who took more than a day to remember to disavow a supporter who advocates white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan; an infantile, bullying man who, depending on his mood, is willing to discard old and established alliances, treaties and long-standing relationships.

    “I feel genuine sorrow for the understandably scared and – they feel – powerless people who have flocked to his campaign in the mistaken belief that – as often happens on TV – a wand can be waved and every complicated problem can be solved with the simplest of solutions. They can’t. It is a political Ponzi scheme. And asking this man to assume the highest office in the land would be like asking a newly minted car driver to fly a 747.

    “As a student of history, I recognize this type. He emerges everywhere and in all eras. We see nurtured in his campaign an incipient proto-fascism, a nativist anti-immigrant Know Nothing-ism, a disrespect for the judiciary, the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber rattling, a total lack of historical awareness, a political paranoia that, predictably, points fingers, always making the other wrong…” —Ken Burns