By Randall Holcombe • Monday February 27, 2017 12:09 PM PST •
I’m somewhat amused by the anti-Trump protests the nation has seen since Trump’s election. He’s been a big talker, but as far as actually doing things, so far the only substantial thing he’s done was to try to implement his immigration ban. While I understand why people oppose his immigration policies, for the most part they are protesting Trump, personally, and the things he’s said rather than what he’s done in his young presidency.
I’m not against the protests. I have a lot of sympathy for anyone who protests against the use of government power by the executive branch (and the other two branches as well, for that matter). Regardless of whether I support or oppose any particular policy views Trump has espoused, any pushback against government power is always a move in the right direction.
Over the last century we’ve seen continual growth in the power of the executive branch, which at one time or another everyone has thought was undesirable. Progressives liked it when Obama was president; they dislike the power the chief executive holds now.
The on-going threat is that when government power expands, someone is going to gain control of that power to use it for purposes we oppose. So regardless of whether we support or oppose the specific person who holds that power now, our long-run interest is always to oppose any expansion of that power.
These protesters overwhelmingly come from the political left—the supporters of big government. It’s even better when those who have traditionally supported big government protest against the government’s exercise of power.
I’m on board with the Trump protesters, not because they are resisting Trump specifically, but because they are resisting the power of the executive branch of government.