Cracking American system?

Prof. Dr. István Stumpf gave a lecture about the challenges of the American democracy and constitutional approaches at the National University of Public Service.

Mr. Stumpf gained his law degree and later than his sociology diploma at the Eötvös Loránd University. He started his career as a university lecturer and from that time he has a long-term experience in higher education. Founder and first director of the Bibó István College. As a minister in the first Orbán government, he had a decisive role in the establishment of the government's structure: his work has a great impact up until now. From 2010 he is a member of the Constitutional Court of Hungary and also a member of the American Studies Research Center.

Currently, there is a two-party system in the United States of America where democrats and republicans are fighting for the voter's favor, mandates and supremacy. Mr. Stumpf explained that after a longer period of opposition rule there is a huge euphoria in some of the campaigns if they are able to succeed in power and create new administration. This happened in a completely another way in case of president Trump, who is republican: "Not everyone was hilariously happy that Trump won and the conservatives came back." The president’s position has been strengthened among the Republicans after Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch occupied his seat in the Supreme Court. „At this point, people started to believe that Trump is a president who might be able to execute a number of previously developed scenarios: mainly the American legal and constitutional systems’ transformation.” – added István Stumpf.

A new challenge of the Trump administration is coming with the midterm elections, where plenty of Senate, Congressional and Governor positions will be determined. The professor drew the attention to that some quarters after the renewal of the deputies and a possible fall of the Republicans would start the impeachment procedure. The constitutional prosecution would finally result the resignment of the president. Chances are unpredictable, therefore the November elections will be a real rubicon for the Trump administration.

Trump blames the so-called „deep state” movement for the impeachment initiative and the continuous tripping of the presidential duties, which according to him has revolted against him. Stumpf states that the American president is trying to regain those powers which were exercised by previous presidents.

The professor presented those surveys which state that the American Senate and Congress had been radically changed. The so far perception about the public affairs has been replaced during the years by strong lobby powers. „400 ex-senator and congressmen became determinative lobbyist”. Analyzes in 2014 showed that more than 50% of Congress members were millionaires: „The Congress is more like a collection point for those who are striving for lobby carriers after their mandate expires, than representing public affairs.” Dr. Stumpf highlighted that there is a serious dissatisfaction towards the member of the political system.

According to István Stumpf the Federalist Society has gained a huge influence in judicial appointments and selections. The main goal of the NGO is creating a new conservative lawyer elite. One of his former vice presidents, Leonard A. Leo, Trump's key advisor. The influence is important because the court is one of the key parts of the balance. For example, for the Supreme Court it was always decisive, that in the board in what proportion are the judges appointed by the President of the given party: the current composition of the board is 5-4 for the Republicans.

Another important challenge in the American system is the issue of the „administrative state”, which is endangering the constitutional order – according to the Trump administration. The essence of this is the formation of the agency system, which was created massively after the new deal: currently working nearly 400 agencies in the American public administration. Some of the conservative thinkers stated that these organizations are a new, fourth power branch in the system: in certain expert issues they are above the courts, they distract power from the president in part, but they do not have enough social legitimacy. So Trump’s main front line is to reduce bureaucracy by reducing the number of the agencies.

At the end of the presentation, Stumpf drew the attention that the possibility of the impeachment has come over for several times, but it never comes to reality. Although Trump had some opponent in the Republican party, but in recent years the president strengthens its position and hunted down his adversaries. „Trump considers the midterm elections like they need to bring in a new generation who has solidarity with his own policy.” – he explained. According to the professor the midterm elections in November is not run down yet: „I think, that Trump has many results which could be achieved only by a few administrations during a year. The non-experienced president in the field of foreign policy has taken a long journey to stabilize US global position.”

Author: István Podobni

Photo: Dénes Szilágyi