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Balance of Power
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"From 1952 through 2016, Republicans and Democrats have taken eight-year turns in the White House with just two exceptions: A four-year interregnum for Democrat Jimmy Carter followed by a dozen straight GOP years under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush," notes LaRue.

It's time to make presidents face the country's six-year itch

LaRue is former deputy director of the Eisenhower Institute, a nonpartisan think tank at Gettysburg College, and of the American Society of International Law. He adapted this piece from an article he wrote in 2018 for the Election law Journal.

Getting reelected is becoming too easy for our presidents. Nine of the last 12 incumbents who sought a second term, including four of the last five, succeeded. A re-elected President Trump would make it four in a row.

The structure of maximum presidential service — eight years in two equal terms — strengthens this probability. Every incumbent has an advantage in pursuing reelection. And reelection itself is not a bad thing. But its timing at four years has become so unfair that I call it the "four-year crutch."

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Balance of Power
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Allowing President Trump's stonewalling to continue "without the potential of a judicial backstop would gut Congress' ability to effectively check executive overreach and lawbreaking," writes former Rep. Tom Coleman.

A court must decide: Does the law still apply to everyone, the president included?

Coleman was a Republican members of the House from Missouri from 1976 to 1993. He is a retired lobbyist and an advisor to the Protect Democracy Project, an anti-authoritarian watchdog group.

It is a bedrock American principle that no one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law. The president, like all Americans, must pay taxes, must give evidence when sought by a court or Congress, and must follow the law. If this principle is to survive, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals must reverse a ruling that Congress cannot sue to enforce subpoenas of executive branch officials.

In the wake of the report from special counsel Robert Mueller, last April the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn to provide testimony about President Trump's efforts to obstruct the investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. The White House informed the committee that the president ordered McGahn not to appear, asserting that certain presidential aides are "absolutely immune" from being forced to testify — a privilege no other president has ever claimed. As a result, the committee sued to enforce its subpoena.

In February, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit punted on the central question, ruling 2-1 their court does not have the power to settle this dispute between the congressional and executive branches. If that is allowed to stand, Congress' ability to conduct legitimate oversight will be severely limited and Trump will be further emboldened to ignore our constitutional system of checks and balances.

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Open Government
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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and her deputy Hogan Gidley peer out from the Green Room before President Trump delivered remarks in January.

A talkative president, sure, but much is missing without press briefings

Bierbauer, a former dean at the University of South Carolina, was a longtime CNN Washington correspondent.

Journalists learn to adapt to current conditions, be they storms or tantrums, vagaries of nature or whims of officials. White House correspondents these days should be well past their withdrawal symptoms from the daily delirium of the once-regular White House press briefing.

Earlier this year, as 300 days passed without a formal briefing, a bipartisan group of past administration press secretaries called for restoration of the daily briefings.

"Bringing the American people in on the process, early and often, makes for better democracy," they said in an open letter on CNN.com.

"The process of preparing for regular briefings makes the government run better. The sharing of information, known as official guidance, among government officials and agencies helps ensure that an administration speaks with one voice," the former spokespersons said, adding that this is particularly important in foreign and military policy.

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Big Picture
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"As it stands now, if the president chooses not to debate the Democratic nominee, it is much more likely that no debates will be held, thus denying voters an opportunity to hear from the candidates," writes Shawn Griffiths.

Could the presidential debates look different this fall?

Griffiths is a contributor to Independent Voter News.

The rules that govern American elections were not set up by a neutral government board or body. They were set up by the Republican and Democratic parties — not to promote fair competition or advance choice, but to ensure a political advantage.

As former Gehl Foods CEO Katherine Gehl puts it, the political industry "is the only industry where people are told competition is bad for the consumer."

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