The country’s founders recognized that a system of checks and balances is critical to preventing a concentration of power, and they were especially wary of power amassing to the executive. The equal distribution of power they sought has shifted over the decades as Congress has acquiesced to presidential power grabs that expand the limits of their authority. The shift poses an existential threat to our democracy, limiting oversight in a way that allows officials to act with impunity, allowing agencies to be run by unconfirmed—and often unqualified—individuals, and instilling a system where the rule of law does not apply equally to everyone. If left unchecked, the unequal distribution of power will result in the country moving closer to authoritarianism—far away from the ideals the constitution’s framers intended.
The president must reverse this trend and demonstrate respect for the balance of power by allowing Congress and Inspectors General the opportunity to engage in meaningful oversight. He must review and rescind sometimes decades-old national emergency declarations as well as those that address circumstances that do not rise to the level of a true emergency. The president must also respect the advice and consent authority of Congress and should commit to depoliticizing law enforcement matters, especially at the Department of Justice.