Covid and Constitutional RoadKill

by James Bovard
The American Institute for Economic Research

Is the U.S. Constitution the biggest roadkill on the 2020 campaign trail? Is faith in “American exceptionalism” blinding people to a death spiral of American democracy?

According to much of the media, this is a single-issue election: “It’s the pandemic, stupid,” as a Politico headline blared. Unfortunately, the media was not smart or honest enough to recognize the real issue this year: “It’s the Constitution, stupid.”

Surging Covid caseloads earlier this year led to a domino-like collapse on restraints on politicians across the land. In April, President Donald Trump proclaimed, “The federal government has absolute power. It has the power. As to whether or not I’ll use that power, we’ll see.” The Justice Department asked Congress for authorization to suspend habeas corpus for the duration of the pandemic but was rebuffed. In September, the Centers for Disease Control somehow acquired the power to suspend tens of millions of rental contracts and prohibit any evictions of tenants who ceased paying rent until after the end of December.

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