The Sunflower

May: Trump’s national emergency is straight out of ‘House of Cards’

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Picture this. The president, in a desperate effort to fund an idea that has been continuously smothered by the opposition party, declares a state of emergency in an effort to use FEMA funds.

Oh, did you think I was talking about that one thing? Of course not. I’m referring to a “House of Cards” storyline from 2015. Released four months before Trump’s candidacy was even announced, few of us had even begun to fathom the political turmoil that the country would be plunged into over the course of the 2016 election cycle and beyond. Netflix, however, had correctly predicted an unprecedented flexing of executive power nearly four years in advance.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, spoilers lie ahead. By the third season, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) had ascended to the presidency through a series of backstabbing moves that left the American populous reeling. Desperate to make his mark, Underwood attempts to push a jobs program (cleverly called “America Works”) through Congress, but the bill is stifled in the Senate.

Running out of options, Underwood declares a state of emergency, using FEMA funds to create government-funded jobs for anyone willing to take them throughout Washington. Although the jobs program is viewed as extremely successful, the emergency relief fund is drained, and with a major storm bearing down on the East Coast, Underwood is forced to abandon his efforts.

Trump, in a similar fashion, announced on Feb. 15 that he had declared a state of emergency to address border security. Trump’s plan may not be derailed by a literal storm, but a political storm is sweeping through the courts, attempting to block the move.

While this could simply be a Simpson’s-esque guess that, by an unforeseeable series of circumstances became true, I feel as if Frank Underwood, in at least an indirect fashion, influenced Trump’s decision to go for an executive power grab by declaring a national emergency. Perhaps the White House used the 35-day government shutdown as an opportunity to binge-watch “House of Cards.”

Political ideology aside, the Trump White House has become a political thriller the likes of which has not been seen outside of a television set in a long time. Every day, we to tune in for the next episode of an enthralling series that continues to get more and more interesting with each additional twist and turn. This move, however, has been seen before.

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