I wanted to do some thought experiments. Namely, what would have happened if President Trump had tried to institute a national lock down to mitigate the corona virus epidemic? Lots of the media and democrats criticized him for not doing that; they wanted a national, uniform response, not just a set of recommendations or guide lines.
First, I tried looking up the legal basis for martial law. As far as I can see, there isn't any in the US. A few presidents have used it in limited areas and situations, and the Supreme Court has imposed restrictions on what they can and cannot do. So apparently, the courts will sometimes allow the use of martial law, but no president has tried anything on a national basis.
How about the use of natural disaster or health disaster laws for presidential use? Yeah, they exist and are used. But they primarily allow the president to apply funds to support whatever disaster is happening or has happened. They may allow for federal government to control freedom of movement in disaster areas when the local governors or managers are unable to do so. State laws tend to allow that level of control also. Nothing I've ever seen or heard about allows shutting down businesses and ordering people to shelter inside at risk of fines or jail when their area has not undergone significant physical damage or loss of life.
But back to our thought experiment. The media and democrats wanted a national directive from President Trump shutting down businesses and ordering people to stay at home. Some may have been sincere in that desire. However, others may have been simply trying to find something to criticize President Trump about.
Suppose he had taken the bait and issued an executive order shutting down all non-essential businesses and ordering shelter-in-place across the nation. Maybe he even called up the National Guard and had them start patrolling highways and cities for violators. Just like the democratic governors did and many republican governors. Of course, they used police for the most part and didn't really do much arresting or fining; but they did some. But in this thought experiment, the governors didn't get the chance to act, the President did.
Now, just like with anything President Trump does, the media will start complaining it was wrong and the House of Representatives will start investigating his impeachable offense. But we'll also get the lawsuits started in federal district courts with Obama appointed judges.
Inside of days, some federal district judge will say his actions were unconstitutional and were applied heedless of the situation in their region. He or she will issue a nation-wide injunction against the Executive Order. President Trump will ask the Supreme Court for an immediate hold to stop the judge's order.
Unlike most nation-wide injunctions, this one actually addresses an unconstitutional action. But the Supreme Court, at least a few of them, think the Executive Order is the right thing to do even so. So they put the district judge's order on hold and ask for an emergency hearing with arguments from the parties within a week.
In the meantime, Antifa and Black Lives Matter and democrats throughout the nation are demonstrating against the President's order. Rising cases in New York and New Jersey are pretty much ignored by all of the media except Fox. Everyone else insists this is just a bad case of the flu. And it's especially bad in New York.
The President rushes to build emergency hospitals, build up testing capacity, and directs manufacture of ventilators. The media derides these unnecessary actions. Much of the country hunkers down like directed, fearful for their safety and trying to wait out the evolution of the bug to see if it is a bad flu or a plague.
Congress points out how the President is quickly destroying our economy, and even some Republicans agree. They rush to quickly pass a $10 trillion relief package that gives money to everyone, including illegal aliens, all business in the US, and states and localities impacted by reduced income. All businesses have to give up some of their ownership stock, limit executive salaries, and agree to an $18 minimum wage. They plan up to 4 more relief packages like this unless the President withdraws his edict.
Now the Supreme Court meets and the questions show that conservative justices think the President's order is unconstitutional on its face. The liberals seem to be simply trying to point out how the order was not needed in the current circumstances. Two days later, they announce a unanimous decision that the edict is unconstitutional and order the Executive Order in abeyance. The liberals wrote their own assenting opinion stating they believed such an order could be constitutional, but not in these circumstances.
Before the President and his team can respond, governors across the nation issue hygiene and social distancing guidelines. Some order stay-at-home and shutdown of non-essential businesses for a few of the larger cities with break-out hot spots.
The President comes on national TV, points out the hypocrisy of everyone that wanted him to issue a nation-wide executive order, and talks about all of the great work he's done getting the medical community help to prepare for the pandemic.
The 25 million people out of work for a month now, start going back to work. But demand is down, and people still are avoiding crowded stores and arenas. The now $30 trillion deficit and all of the new dollars in circulation start generating inflation. Supply chains are still under stress, so everything goes up in price.
By the time of the election, the unemployment rate is down to 11%, and the media and democrats are decrying the lousy economy that President Trump caused through his order.
Joe Biden has avoided debates and all the people have seen are ads showing him 5 years earlier when he didn't have dementia. He picked Kamala Harris for vice president.
The election is a runaway for Joe Biden. Trump goes down hard. Democrats pick up big majorities in the Senate and House. One week after Joe's inauguration, he resigns due to medical issues. Kamala Harris becomes president. The country never recovers and 10% unemployment and zero percent growth last forever. Freedoms disappear year after year as democrats pass ever more restrictive laws. Except of course, for their open borders that bring in millions of democratic voters each year.
Thought experiment conclusion: It's a good thing President Trump did not issue an executive order locking down the nation!