Is America In the Civil War Phase of Ancient Roman History?
After President Donald Trump's impeachment acquittal, Democrats and liberals have joined Never Trumper Steve Schmidt in claiming that the president is "above the law" and has become something more than a president, like, I don't know, an "emperor," mayhaps?
Many have long suggested that America — a historic republic in some degree fashioned on the model of ancient Rome which has risen to effective hegemony in the known world, also like ancient Rome — is echoing the decline and fall of the Roman Republic and proceeding toward an autocracy. There are weaknesses in this comparison, but the political animosity and tribalism prevalent in America today do echo a terrifying time in Roman history.
Americans fear that the president might make himself a dictator or a god-emperor like the Divine Augustus. Schmidt calls Trump an "emperor" and Republicans warned that Obama's abuses of power made him something like a king. This hyperbole is false, of course. Even at their worst, both Obama and Trump have remained presidents, wielding perhaps more executive authority than the Founders envisioned and more than the Constitution granted, but crucially checked by other branches of government and the states.