Elizabeth Warren Moves Bigly To Out-Trump Trump

Below is my column on Elizabeth Warren and recent campaign promises that raise serious constitutional and legal questions. It is striking how some elements despised in President Donald Trump seems celebrated in Elizabeth Warren.

Here is the column:

If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, Donald Trump must be positively blushing. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) increasingly sounds, well, Trumpian in her efforts to push her campaign into higher gear, with presidential actions that might not meet constitutional or legal standards.  

This week, Warren announced she would circumvent Congress and act unilaterally on “Day 1” in office to wipe out college debt for 42 million Americans. With many members of Congress, including Warren, accusing Trump of behaving like an unelected monarch by acting unilaterally, it is curious that she would pledge to do precisely the same thing in this and many other areas. It would seem that the problem with Trump is not that he is acting unilaterally but is not doing so for liberal causes. 

Thus, Warren pledges action by executive order to carry out her $640 billion college-loan plan — all without Congress. She also pledged this week to roll back various regulatory changes and to stop all drilling and mining on federal lands. And she has pledged trillions of dollars in federal programs — including free health care, free child care and free college — that, she says, will not cost a cent to the middle class. Rather than promising to make Mexico pay for it, as with Trump’s border wall, Warren pledges to make “billionaires” pay for it.

The only thing she doesn’t add is a promise to move “bigly” on Inauguration Day.

There always has been a glaring contradiction in the objections to Trump’s unilateral actions by Democrats who supported President Obama in repeated circumventions of Congress, in areas ranging from war powers to immigration to the environment. Indeed, Obama announced in a State of the Union address, after Congress refused to yield to his demands in areas like immigration, that he would order the changes by executive order — and Democrats wildly applauded his pledge to make them completely irrelevant.

Warren seems to be channeling Trump in a number of ways as she looks for a breakout moment in Iowa. Her pledge of trillions of dollars in free stuff is largely to be funded on her dubious wealth tax. As I have previously written, the proposed taxing of wealth rather than income would arguably violate the Constitution. That, however, doesn’t matter: Warren is pledging a new “Great Society” to be built free of charge.  

It is not her only pledge relying on a questionable legal basis. Where Trump demonized the undocumented, Warren demonizes the incorporated. 

In one speech, the senator declared: “Sure, these companies wave the flag — but they have no loyalty or allegiance to America.” It seems there is this hoard of the well-heeled just over the border of Manhattan that is sitting on Warren’s college fund for every American. She has thrilled supporters by threatening the wealthy that she is coming for “your Rembrandts, your stock portfolio, your diamonds and your yachts.” In an earlier debate, Warren literally rubbed her hands together while saying she couldn’t wait to grab some of the money of fellow presidential candidate and former Democratic congressman John Delaney of Maryland, a self-made multi-millionaire.

The striking similarities with Trump extend beyond the rhetorical. Democrats often raise the fact that Trump once was viewed not just as a Democrat but as fairly liberal before deciding to run for president; his current conservatism is dismissed as an opportunistic repackaging of his brand. Yet, Warren went through some relatively late repackaging herself; she once was a Republican who served as a consultant for those flag-waving companies she now denounces. 

In her 2003 book, “The Two Income Trap,” she railed against a “quasi-socialist safety net to rival the European model.” That was one “dream big” idea that Warren thought was a nightmare. It was only when she went to Harvard at age 47 in the late 1990s that she became a Democrat. Before that, friends described her as a “die-hard conservative” and “anti-consumer.”

People can change, of course, and whatever Warren once was, she is now an often inspiring advocate for those left behind in our economy. The point is only that what is denounced regarding Trump — often with good reason — is celebrated, or at least ignored, regarding Warren. The reason seems to be that wild promises, unconstitutional pledges and unilateral actions are all outrages unless done for the right cause. They then become gutsy, even noble.

The promise of paying for college, one seized Rembrandt at a time, is not Warren’s only questionable legal claim. Warren’s pledge — also made by fellow presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) — to unilaterally reduce drug prices is a good example. Warren and Klobuchar have been unsuccessful in pushing legislation that would reduce drug prices, so Warren is pledging to do it on her own as president. She is, however, misleading voters on the ease of such a move. 

She appears to be referring to what is called a “march-in” move under a provision allowing the government to license a new patent when an invention or drug is developed with government support. Most drugs did receive such support — but the law also requires that the drug not be made “available to the public on reasonable terms.” That is a highly debatable conclusion in a market-pricing case. Moreover, both the Bush and Obama administrations rejected this type of claim to control drug pricing. Only a handful of “march-in” petitions have ever been filed and, in 2004, the National Institute of Health rejected it, declaring that “the extraordinary remedy of march-in is not an appropriate means of controlling prices.”

Thus, it is highly doubtful that Warren could just “march in” to office and slash drug prices, any more than she similarly could wipe out student debt. 

From the perspective of the separation of powers, the question is whether Democrats want to enthrone a new monarch after deposing the old one. But if Democrats are only seeking a liberal Donald Trump without the MAGA hats and Twitter addiction, Elizabeth Warren seems to have “a plan for that.”

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He is a legal analyst for CBS News and the BBC.

38 thoughts on “Elizabeth Warren Moves Bigly To Out-Trump Trump”

  1. “Where Trump demonized the undocumented”. Excuse me. He demonized MS-13, whose motto is control, rape, kill. That’s appropriate, as they’re demonic. He also criticized the criminals who come illegally across the border along with good people.

    Pointing out the downsides to illegal immigration isn’t demonizing. That implies it’s unfair.

    “Undocumented” is a polite euphemism for illegal alien. It refers to the crime of skipping the legal immigration process, by paying a cartel at least $15,000 in order to be smuggled across the desert and over the border. Roughly 80% of women and girls are raped along the way.

    All this is done in order to skip the lengthy, but relative inexpensive, process of legally immigrating. Example: to legally immigrate from Mexico: Legal process – petition fee $535 + immigrant visa interview $325 + medical exam $255 + green card fee $220 = $1,335.

    Compare and contrast with the illegal method that pays $15,000 to organized crime syndicates in Mexico, responsible for mass murder. For instance, a cartel cooked an entire village alive in makeshift ovens across the border. Human smuggling across our border is a major money maker for the cartels. It goes along with their drug and gun running.

    The “undocumented” euphemism is too mild. They feel entitled to skip the legal process, which would screen out criminals, test for and treat diseases, plus it would manage the influx to an amount our country can handle.

    Illegal immigration is entitlement on steroids.

    There was that case where a father and toddler girl drowned in the Rio Grande. A sad case. The man’s mother said she begged him not to go. He had a good job. But he told her he wanted to make money quick to build a house. He took his wife and toddler because they were his ticket to stay in America once he crossed. The cartel human smugglers got him to the banks of the Rio Grande, but they were not going to cross for a while. He was impatient, and refused to wait. If he wasn’t going to follow our laws, why should he listen to his criminal coyotes? So he swam the little girl across the Rio Grande, fighting a swift current. He plopped her on the other side, all alone, right next to the rushing, contaminated, toxic water. Then he swam back to get his wife. Of course the little girl fell in the water trying to reach him. The husband turned back around for her, and they both drowned.

    This happens over and over and over again.

    If this occurred in the US, near a pool, the family would be charged with the child’s death through neglect. But since it was an illegal immigrant trying to (skip the line) to get to America, he was a folk hero posthumously.

    People need to stop acting like the only way to get to America is illegal immigration. Poor people immigrate here legally every day. Usually, one parent comes over first, gets settled, employed, saves a bit, and then sends for their spouse and children. That’s the responsible way. Then everyone comes over on a nice, safe airplane or bus or car. I’ve personally known so many people who did it this way.

    1. I consider “fair” to mean that the law applies equally to everyone.

      By definition, illegal immigration isn’t fair.

      It’s not fair that immigration law does not apply to them.

      It’s not fair to those who take the time and effort to immigrate here legally.

      It’s not fair to the communities whose infrastructure strains until it breaks because all the line jumpers took all the resources.

      It’s not fair to the poor who need entry level jobs, that get snatched up by illegal alien line jumpers.

      It’s not fair to the kids in schools, whose quality of instruction and test scores plummet when their classes get filled with too many ESL learners. Instead of giving legal immigrant children a great opportunity to get an education, with enough resources to absorb a few ESL students, entire classes become overrun with kids who don’t know the language, and are years behind in school. That leaves the children who are citizens, or legal residents, getting a terrible education.

      It’s not fair to the victims of illegal alien gangs like MS13. All those people who would be alive today if only we prevented illegal immigration and stopped enabling them to stay.

      It’s not fair to all the businesses that folded because they couldn’t compete with illegal alien labor who worked under the table without work comp, or any of the other expensive benefits it takes to run a legal business. So many industries get underbid by illegal alien crews who work under the table and are unlicensed. When I was a kid, there used to be teenagers making money mowing lawns, and multi generational American landscapers trained in caring for plants. Now virtually 100% of them are illegal alien crews without a shred of knowledge of plant care, armed with chain saws, mutilating and topping trees all across CA.

      It’s not fair to everyone whose identity is stolen, as ID theft is one of the most common crimes committed by illegal aliens.

      It’s not fair that the more illegal aliens come, the more kids they have born here, making them legal citizens with a strong voting behavior towards enabling more illegal aliens like their parents. That has completely changed the political climate in CA, to the point where if you oppose illegal immigration, you won’t get anywhere as a politician. CA will never be a Republican state again. Polls have shown that illegal aliens admit to voting, so this, too, unfairly impacts politics.

  2. If any of the top 3 Democratic candidates for President win in 2020, they would ruin our economy and put a lot of people out of work.

    1. The DNC is falling on their sword yet again this election cycle but worse: Sanders would rather destroy the elitist Dems than bar him another cycle

      Trump has nothing to worry about

      1. It’s pretty difficult to fight against all the Democrat propaganda in the mainstream media. Their viewers don’t know of a single positive accomplishment Trump has ever done.

        Plus with all those Democrat activists in Congress, and even the government alphabet soup, plan B would be to tie him up in interminable impeachment hearings and investigations.

        There’s been 3 years of hoaxes and false allegations.

  3. No, this statement from above There always has been a glaring contradiction in the objections to Trump’s unilateral actions by Democrats who supported President Obama in repeated circumventions of Congress, in areas ranging from war powers to immigration to the environment. Indeed, Obama announced in a State of the Union address, after Congress refused to yield to his demands in areas like immigration, that he would order the changes by executive order — and Democrats wildly applauded his pledge to make them completely irrelevant.is not accurate: ”

    No, this is NO CONTRADICTION because there is a total consistency – Democrats will say or support whatever helps them at the minute. There may not be consistency in the position or the logic but there is nothing but consistency in the fact that whatever they say at the time is only meant to help them. What have I said for years:

    “Expecting from, or trying to explain to, Democrats- “principles”,or “right vs. wrong”,or “rules”, or “logical consistency”, is like trying to explain to a bad, cheating, folding metal chair-using wrestler why he didn’t win the WWF Belt fairly. He is simply not able to comprehend what you are complaining about. All he knows is, that he won the match and the belt! The fact that his girl friend jumped into the ring when the referee wasn’t looking, and whomped the good wrestler over the head with a folding metal chair, knocking him unconscious- – -well, really what difference at this point does that make??? After all, he won! He has the championship belt! Isn’t that all that matters??? Frankly, he just doesn’t give a hoot about the morality of the whole thing. All he cares about, is getting what he wants. Period.

    BUT- if in the re-match, your girlfriend whomps the bad wrestler upside the head with a folding metal chair while the referee isn’t looking – well that is a whole different story! Because you did it to him. To a Democrat, everything is personal. There are no principles of right or wrong. An action is right if the Democratic Party benefits, and wrong if it hurts the Democrats. It really is that simple. That is the only thing that is consistent for the Democrats, and it ain’t very logical.”

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. Has Lizzie Borden Warren EVER made any attempt to return the funds feloniously acquired during her long term scam as Pokeandhauntus.

    :Lizzie Warren took an axe
    Gave her homes States
    Fourty whacks
    When she saw what she had done
    Poked her country Fourty One

    Now she’s running for last place
    Very likely to get it.
    Not Sanders or Biden Inclusive.
    Who else would be that stupid.

  5. in Warren’s efforts to push her campaign into higher gear, she has declared she will act with presidential actions that might not meet constitutional or legal standards. Welcome the Impeachment train roundin the curve aiming at the next democrat President.

    As all politicians, she will lie to get elected.

  6. with presidential actions that might not meet constitutional or legal standards. I can see the Impeachment train roundin the corner heading straight to Warren.!

  7. Warren sounds like something out of an Ayn Rand novel.

    “It is striking how some elements despised in President Donald Trump seems celebrated in Elizabeth Warren.” Seriously, Professor? Not even an ivory tower law professor can be that naive.

    As for Trump’s Twitter addiction, but for the 90+ percent negative coverage he gets he wouldn’t need Twitter. But as it stands, if he cured cancer he would be attacked for putting oncologists out of work.

  8. Evaluating two candidates and sometimes comparing them is fair but this seems a smear on President Trump more than an assessment of Warren. You make derisive statements throughout about President Trump without supporting any of the contentions that his policy actions have included “presidential actions that might not meet constitutional or legal standards” unlike the clearly “unconstitutional and legal” issues of much of Warren’s statement. Please give me an example of President Trump’s policies that has not met “constitutional or legal standards”. Unlike Warren and Obama, he has avoided Executive Actions to implement laws which Obama used because he could not get bi partisan support for his policy decision. Yes – Pres. Trump has rescinded so many of Obama’s Executive actions BECAUSE THEY WERE illegal and unconstitutional. Again, the constant smearing of President Trump is tiresome. Make your arguments without strawmen and smears.

  9. I’m so glad JT found a suitable fill in subject for his almost daily Nancy Pelosi screeds. Hey, it’s tough for legal scholar to find appropriate subject matter in this period of slow news, and especially now that JT’s pet cause – hearing witnesses – has been settled.

    Elsewhere, pretentious posters with standards so low they admire Donald Trump find ironic fault with Warren. TIA claims this candidate who grew up poor in Oklahoma and rose to be not only a Harvard professor but the prime mover of major legislation which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau while not an elected representative, and now is the twice elected senator from Massachusetts. In comparison, TIAs hero is the founder of Trump University. Mespo finds Warren having lived a life untethered to reality – hey raising kids while rising from obscurity without even $100 million from Dad is easy – while his hero in contrast is well known for coming up in the mean streets of reality TV.

    Can’t make this stuff up.

  10. Doesn’t matter how criminal or foolish are her plans, nearly all Democrats will vote for her As for swing voters, it’s a reasonable inference that most of them are motivated by idiosyncratic factors which are fairly trivial (“she reminds me of my first wife”).

    If these weren’t the crazy years, the Democrats might try putting their best foot forward. Their best foot would be Yang, Bloomberg, Delaney, or Hickenlooper. Bloomberg has passable numbers nationally, but is inconsequential in the early states. (Note the declining quality of competitive Democratic candidates compared to past years)

    Instead of their best foot, they have two candidates with no executive experience, and a third candidate who failed at the most salient function he had as an executive. The candidate with the highest integrity quotient (Sanders) was a complete n’er-do-well prior to age forty and a consumer of Trotskyist literature well into middle age. Booty-gig actually is what people falsely accused George Bush the Elder of being: a walking resume. It’s doubtful he’s ever done anything in his life not calculated to build that resume (including the choice of a butt-buddy); and, no, he doesn’t speak seven languages. As for Warren and Biden, they are prevaricators by default. She has no interesting accomplishments outside of electoral politics and he has none at all (unless you count being a conduit for graft as an accomplishment). We have candidates who are too old (Sanders, Biden), candidates who are too young (Booty-gig), and Princess Spreading Bull.

    As a country, we are lacking in collective will to cope with the demands of our history. What Conrad Black said is salient: the political class has flubbed every single issue since the end of the Cold War bar one (welfare reform), and people like Barack Obama have wanted to gut successful reforms. (The hostility to law enforcement in the Democratic Party is an aspect of this).

  11. Here’s something from JT with which I completely agree. The seemingly inexorable march over the past 70 years to an “Imperial Presidency” – in violation of the Constitution – should be halted. Here Warren is stealing Trump’s extreme populist approach to election.

      1. Yeah. Or at least starting in 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln said that the first law is “survival.”

      2. If you and Wm. Voegli would like to have a dialogue about twee political controversies of the 1790s, be my guest. I’d point out that if the system has been failing for 232 years, it wasn’t well constructed to begin with.

        1. “If you and Wm. Voegli would like to have a dialogue about twee political controversies of the 1790s, be my guest. I’d point out that if the system has been failing for 232 years, it wasn’t well constructed to begin with.”
          ********************
          Oh I don’t think the system has been failing. it’s just an observation that every society likes a man on horseback. It’s programmed in our biology. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.

          1. No, they like a man on horseback when the men not on horseback cannot accomplish a bloody thing. Switzerland has no men on horseback, because they bloody well have never needed them. When a creature like Adam Schiff is emblematic of your political class, you actually do need men on horseback.

              1. Neutrality is cowardice in fancy clothes.

                Switzerland has a contextually large citizen army and widespread gun ownership.

                Not sure what you think the significance is of their foreign policy in regard to intramural government.

                If I’m not mistaken, the country had both protestant and Catholic cantons, so likely could not agree on whether to join one side or the other during the Thirty Years War. I don’t think they had any particular interests at stake during the Seven Years War or the 1st World War, so am not sure why you’d expect them to participate. They were invaded by France during the Napoleonic Wars (and their political architecture forcibly reconstructed. As for the 2d World War, they were surrounded by Germany, annexed Austria, Italy, Occupied France, and Vichy France. IOW, the Axis was to be found on about 90% of their border and a rump government co-operating with the Axis on the other 10%. Not sure what you expected them to do.

        2. Not and here’s the proof. After hundred plus years of socialism it has not only failed planet wide but took only one election in 2016 to be exposed, hosed, rejected and ejected. The fallacy of a living document is one prime example. The amendment process is what made it perhaps the first living document in human history. As opposed to the various copycat versions of socialist marxist leninism. Which only takes reading their memeowed mimeographed manifestos to cry out “Copy Cats?’ Changing the name does not make it work.

        3. Not and here’s the proof. After hundred plus years of socialism it has not only failed planet wide but took only one election in 2016 to be exposed, hosed, rejected and ejected. The fallacy of a living document is one prime example. The amendment process is what made it perhaps the first living document in human history. As opposed to the various copycat versions of socialist marxist leninism. Which only takes reading their memeowed mimeographed manifestos to cry out “Copy Cats?’ Changing the name does not make it work.

          It’s constructed well enough to work and protect itself no matter how much the language has changed. Unlike the German to Russian to Chinese to Korean to Regressive kind some still prefer. But then there is no accounting for what the Programmers of the Collective can do given the left form of media medium.

    1. The presidency isn’t the problem. Congress is a problem, the judiciary is a problem, and the federal bureaucracy is a problem. The presidency is a poorly structured institution grown ridiculous through the years, but the president per se isn’t much of a threat.

  12. Warren has the “big L” written all over her. Pitiful fund raising, desperate lies and a demeanor in debate only a mother could love, our Harvard Indian princess is nearing her Wounded Knee moment. Given that inevitability who cares what her fantasy policy positions are? And why drag Trump into it? She made the mistake a lot of politicians do which is to explore every inch of her bubble and scrupulously avoid the greater world outside. She’s a craven maven with all the charisma of a shushing middle school librarian. Good riddance to this pathetic, phony bore buoyed by fraud into a place of prominence that her intellect doesn’t justify and whose existence is only possible in a the hopelessly corrupt ethos of the American Left.

    1. She made the mistake a lot of politicians do which is to explore every inch of her bubble and scrupulously avoid the greater world outside

      The politicians who know something of the world outside from having mastered challenges within it (Yang, Bloomberg, Delaney, Hickenlooper) and the candidates willing to go off script (Gabbard) are not what Democratic voters want. No clue why Lizzie is failing, but my guess would be that it’s because the Democratic Party’s residual wage-earner constituency (which consists of blacks, mestizos, and misc. single mothers, by and large) is vaguely repelled by her while the money bags constituency prefers Booty-gig.

      1. “No clue why Lizzie is failing, but my guess would be that it’s because the Democratic Party’s residual wage-earner constituency (which consists of blacks, mestizos, and misc. single mothers, by and large) is vaguely repelled by her while the money bags constituency prefers Booty-gig.”
        **************
        The PW is that Medicare For All tripped her up ’cause she refuses to explain the financing. Seems a bit esoteric but that’s the punditry’s explanation. I think it’s the school marm hypothesis.

    1. Paul c s

      Is it fair to say that you support Corporate socialism, but not Democratic socialism? That seems to be the very common view of most right-wingers…who claim to be moderate – moderate Corporate socialists, that is.

      1. You need to cut her some slack. Considering she is 1/1064 Injun, and a multi-millionaire, she only knows two things:

        1. Scalp your enemy (majority of Americans)
        2. live in a palatial house and lie about your personal wealth

        Liawatha needs to consult with her Injun Chief to figure out what to do about that unflattering TeePee in her backyard

    2. PCS owes me a response. Paul, have you asked your 14 kids whether they are genetically burdened by your hubris and incompetence? Why are you afraid to ask?

    3. PCS, given that the principles of communism, Central Planning, Control of the Means of Production (i.e. regulation), Redistribution of Wealth and Social Engineering, have been extant in America for more than half a century, don’t you think it’s time to call them what they actually are, communists?

  13. A Twitter addiction and MAGA hats, the only difference? Or do you suppose that a Queen Warren will emulate King Trump’s chronic and habitual lying as well?

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