Thank you for an excellent response and set of ideas and questions.
Basically, I agree with you. The entire federal government needs to be restrained. In fact, the full text of The Pledge to Safeguard the Constitution [https://www.thepledge.site/the-pledge-to-safeguard-the-constitution] has a link at the end of it which fully explains that maintaining the checks and balances between not just the branches of the federal government, but also between the federal government and the states (as well as other institutions and individuals) is at the core of its philosophy.
Over the summer of 2020 it became apparent to me that there was a real danger of Trump misusing emergency powers and martial law in conjunction with the November election. The final version of the proposed legislation and a few articles I wrote during that period had a strong bent towards preventing that immediate emergency.
I, like you, am a strong proponent of limited government. Your questions regarding the Congress and administrative state have given me something to think about. When you use the phrase “administrative state”, I believe you mean the bureaucracy. And I agree with you that it has taken on a life of its own which needs to be reversed.
But if by “administrative state” you mean “deep state”, I am interpreting this more as the intelligence and national security apparatus. This needs to be controlled as well – much in the way that the military is under civilian control. I have long thought that an investigation into the initiation of what triggered the Mueller probe would be healthy – as long as it wasn’t merely used as a deflection of the Mueller investigation itself.
The “administrative state” and the “deep state” and the Congress should obviously be scrutinized and shrunk to sizes as small as necessary to achieve their relative functions.
But there is this factor: the power in those institutions is not concentrated in a single individual. The power of the presidency is.
Donald Trump claimed that he could “do anything he wanted to” and was increasingly acting in that manner. That’s why the focus in the proposed legislation in The Pledge is on limiting the power of the presidency specifically.
I made presidential emergency powers central to The Pledge because they can be misused and turned against Americans; and last summer this was becoming a real possibility which culminated in the events of January 6. Still, there are probably emergency powers that haven’t been made public which are vital to maintaining our national security. So the approach suggested is to scrub emergency powers to the bare minimum required with rational restraints, but to leave the President with what he or she needs to protect national security: not precise, but a direction to move towards. And not a blind “anti-Trump” approach that would denude the presidency.
Thank you for asking these questions. If you (or anybody else) would take the time to read the fuller text and explanation of The Pledge to Safeguard the Constitution, I would appreciate your honest feedback about it (including how it might be revised or improved). The initial, primary purpose of The War After the Election was to motivate people to sign The Pledge. If you have any ideas to facilitate that, I would genuinely appreciate your input regarding that as well.
Thank you again, and please stay in touch with any other good questions or ideas you may have.