In times of crises in the Roman Republic shed its democratically elected government and appointed Consuls to run the country. They usually appointed two, and the Consuls resigned when the crisis was resolved. Until one Julius Caesar decided he would be Consul for life. His nephew Octavian (Augustus) stepped things up a notched an named himself Emperor.
The French Republic was the modern Progressive's vision of equality. Yet as war consumed the nation, it did not take long to turn to a dictatorial power to manage through the crisis and the bloody reign of Napoleon Bonaparte was the result.
Times of crisis have always been open doors to ambitious politicians. People want to know the man-in-charge is getting the job done and democratic states are reluctant to change leaders during times of trouble. FDR was elected four times, steering the country through the Great Depression and WWII. Lincoln, elected by a minority in 1860 won by a large margin in 1864 in the midst of the Civil War.
Recent history reminds us that President Bush -- both of them -- reached tremendous levels of popularity during the Gulf War and after 9/11.
So what if in the future we find ourselves in the midst of a huge crisis in the days or weeks or months before a general election? Riots in the cities, terrorist attacks, nuclear war, a modern Reichstag burning as examples. Does such a crisis keep a president in power? What happens if there is a crisis and he decides to suspend elections, insists he must stay in power until the crisis is averted? There will be many in the press and Congress and among the People who will agree.
What do we do if the President of the Future decides his presence is paramount to democracy? That he must suspend the Constitution to save the American way of life? What does the Congress do? The Courts? The military? Do the States rebel, do the People go along?
That is why government by executive fiat is a bad thing, why we should all be concerned about EPA mandates, the bureaucracy running the country. Who controls whom when the Feds control your healthcare, your food, your housing? We should be concerned about the strangling power of the Federal Government, the weakening of the States, of the People.
History never repeats itself, but there are lessons to be leaned from the past.