The Courts, as of right now, are the only major institutional guard that have dulled Trump’s executive orders. The Muslim travel ban was deemed illegal, and many have said how the system, as imperfect as it is, should be celebrated for its infallibility.
Personally, it seems to early to celebrate. The massive outcry and the direct action of shutting down airports was probably a key factor why the judiciary was cautious and receptive to the problem. It is probable to conclude that for Trump, complete powers would require a dissolution of the judicial system. Their purge, or replacement of those who prove loyal to Trump’s agenda, would be all he needs for an unchallenged presidency.
This succession of events, despite how conspiratorial it sounds, is not uncommon. From from Chile’s Pinochet dictatorship to Britain’s Thatcher, authoritarians have made use of political crises of some sort to justify their centralization of power. Likewise, it is ever more likely that Trump will require some type of crises, something, to enable circumventing the judicial system and remaking it in his image – if not erasing it altogether.
Consider Turkey. President Tayyip Erdogan, an authoritarian with a fascist tinge, is an absolute beast in strategizing his political ascension. With a failed coup that many Turks and Kurds believe was possibly staged, and with leaked statements such as using the Syrian crises as a political opportunity, Erdogan used the shock and awe to its fullest extent. Once returning to the country, with the opposition arrested, he proceeded to swipe clean the judiciary. Judges were arrested or fired.
Soon after that, the political crackdown extended beyond the courts. Political opponents such as the elected officials of the HDP (the only legitimized political opposition), were all arrested. Although now a judge declared their arrest as illegal, Erdogan has achieved most of what he wanted. A new judiciary loyal to him; an academia community that was either silenced or loyal to him; political organizers were behind bars. The only resistance that was left was the armed idealists in Syrian Kurdistan Rojava, outside of Turkey’s control, or the PKK, an uncompromising guerrilla fighting since the 1980s.
Whether or not Trump follows in the same model of centralization remains to be seen. Thankfully, the quick response to his racist and fascist of an outrage public have caused an uproar that have woken the political hunger of thousands around the country. If this keeps up, crises or no crises, Trump’s authoritarian goals will be met with equally antifascist masses.