Support for expanding presidential power rises among Republicans
A growing number of Republicans support expanding the power of the presidency, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
More than 40 percent of Republicans surveyed in July said presidents would be more effective if "they didn't have to worry so much about Congress or the courts." That was up from 26 percent who supported the idea in February 2017, according to the survey.
The change was primarily driven by those identified as "conservative Republicans," whose support for expanding presidential power rose to 52 percent compared to 26 percent in March 2018. Less than a third of moderate and liberal Republicans supported the idea then and now.
While only 16 percent of Democrats believed in expanding presidential power in the July survey, 29 percent had supported the idea in August 2016, when Barack Obama was president.
Overall, 66 percent of Americans said it would be "too risky" to give presidents more power to deal with the country's problems, down from 76 percent who held the view a year ago.
The survey also found a change in favorability of Congress among Republicans and Democrats.
Forty-three percent of Democrats had a favorable view of Congress, up from 24 percent in March 2018. But the share of Republicans with a favorable view was 27 percent, down from 37 percent a year ago.
Overall, just over a third of Americans viewed Congress favorably versus 59 percent who viewed it unfavorably.
- Top presidential hopefuls, except Biden, open to a Supreme Court ... ›
- Ask about things a president can do during the debate - The Fulcrum ›
Neal is federal government affairs manager at R Street Institute, a nonpartisan and pro-free-market public policy research organization.
The term "democratic norms" has become a misnomer over the last year. America's governing institutions are undermined by elected officials who dishonor their offices and each other. Standards of behavior and "normal" processes of governance seem to be relics of a simpler time. Our democracy has survived thus far, but the wounds are many.
Free speech and free press have been the White House's two consistent whipping posts. Comments such as "I think it is embarrassing for the country to allow protestors" and constant attacks on press credibility showcase President Trump's disdain for the pillars of democracy. Traditional interactions between the administration and the press are no longer taken for granted. Demeaning, toxic criticisms have become so common that they're being ignored. As the administration revokes critics' press passes and daily briefings are canceled, normalcy in this arena is sorely missed.
Having had remarkable success at signing people up to vote in Texas last year, an Austin group of activists is expanding its pilot program into a full-blown national effort to overcome the sometimes ignored first hurdle for people in the voting process — registration.
"There are millions of voters who are registered who don't get out to vote," said Christopher Jasinski, director of partnerships for Register2Vote. "But the unmeasured part of the pie is the actual number of unregistered voters."