How Trump exposes a dangerous problem at the heart of American government

Trump shouldn't have this much power. But neither should anyone else.

President Trump.
(Image credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

C.S. Lewis describes friendship as that moment when "one person says to another 'What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…'" Up until that moment, you thought no one else shared your combination of interests. No one else thought as you did. No one else saw what you saw. Until that moment of friendship.

When Donald Trump won the Republican nomination and then the presidency, I hoped to have a similar revelation — politically, mind you, and on a mass scale — with the American public. We libertarians get a bit of a "voice crying in the wilderness" complex about executive overreach, but with Trump, I thought, we would truly be vindicated. In Trump, everyone would see why it's risky to concentrate so much authority in the presidency, in the whims of a single person. Everyone would see why stout structural limits on this office are so necessary. Everyone would see what we've lost in upsetting the constitutional balance of power, in permitting our equilateral government to go scalene. Trump's unique failings of policy and character would shine a brilliant light on how fundamentally reckless we have been to let the executive devolve to its present imperial state.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.