Releasing the Kraken of Political Power

Column by Lawrence Samuels.

Exclusive to STR

What to make of Trump? Never has someone with so little political experience offended so many with so few words. This has aggravated almost everyone, but especially those who did not even vote for him.

For instance, the founder of in San Francisco recently remarked that after he told his left-wing friends that he had voted for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President, he was treated like a leper. The same goes for the other minority parties and for Bernie supporters who refrained from voting. This attitude recalls George W. Bush’s war cry when drumming up support for the 2003 Iraq invasion, declaring: “Either you're with us, or you're with the enemy.”

Why such hateful responses to non-Trump voters? Trump’s time in the Oval Office will eventually expire, but Hillary’s supporters treat his presidency like an eternity. It seems as if Hillary’s cheerleaders are experiencing withdrawal pangs, as if their cache of political power had been forever stolen.

The U.S. presidency was never supposed to be a powerful position. But today the president has almost dictatorial powers compared to what the Founders had envisioned. Except for Alexander Hamilton, who sought an American monarchy with the President serving for life and appointing all state governors. While the Jeffersonians wanted a decentralized state, Hamilton craved a powerful centralized state. He did not live to see it, but it is materializing fast.

The Swiss understand the problems of power. They used the U.S Constitution for their 1848 constitutional blueprint, minus the strong executive branch. The Swiss president has a one-year term, and only chairs the Federal Council, who are elected by their Federal Assembly. The Swiss often joke that nobody knows the name of their current president, because he or she has so little real power; the canton regions and the people have most of the power.

For decades the Democratic Party has pushed for a powerful central government and a president who could wield almost unlimited authority. They have force-fed the leviathan, allowing its tentacles into every nook of a person’s life. It now seems that the president needs only a phone and pen to make laws, not Congress.

Ironically, the Democrats are now left out in the cold, while someone with even with less respect for individual liberty and truth has beat them to the punch. This is why Hillary’s people are so disillusioned. The power that they have so carefully crafted to serve their own political and economic interests has been trumped by an outside usurper. And without that power, they feel defenseless. Maybe they should have thought about that before releasing the Kraken.

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Lawrence Samuels's picture
Columns on STR: 14

L.K. Samuels is the editor and contributing author of Facets of Liberty: A Libertarian Primer, first published in 1985. His new book, In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action, was published in 2013. All of his books are available at


Jim Davies's picture

What a superb, Churchillian opener!
"Less respect for liberty and truth" than Hillary? - not sure about that. Marginally more, I'd have said. Consider the first paragraph of Jared.