Kyanna Dawson

Where to Begin?

Coming into this research project, I knew it would be a daunting task since the project would entail many different layers. I would first need to define some key terms, like what exactly an imperial presidency is. I also knew that throughout this process that my own partisan views could not limit the sources I use. Obtaining a well-rounded understanding of how Mr. Trump’s presidency would deal with the courts would be essential in gaining the trust of my audience and for them to seriously consider my research.

To begin, I thought it would be helpful to read some pieces from publications like the New York Times, the National Review, and the Atlantic, before I really dug deep into more scholarly works and take on a narrower approach to my project. Not only was this a great way to explore how other authors have approached the subject, but they have been great sources of information regarding other imperial presidencies and how much power such executives can wield. Jonathan Mahler’s New York Times piece, while very George W. Bush-centric, gave me an idea of where to start my research. A good starting point seems to be the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose expansive four terms in office led to the creation of the 22nd Amendment.

The other articles gave me a sense of the importance the incumbent has on the incoming president’s administration. As Conor Friedersdorf explains in his piece in the Atlantic, much of the power that many feared would fall into the hands of then-candidate Trump began with George W. Bush and were continued under Obama. The issue of the surveillance state and the treatment of prisoners of war were significant issues of discussion in the articles I have accessed so far, especially in the courts, which leads me to believe that this will be an important topic area to explore. Now that I have a clear picture of where to begin, I hope the rest of this process will go smoothly.

The Balance of Powers: The Federal Court System and the Presidency

Kyanna_DawsonI was born and raised in a small military town in South Carolina. I blame my mother—a New Jersey native—for my northern-influenced southern accent. (Don’t be surprised if you hear me say “pai” for “pie” or “caw-fee” for “coffee”!) I love a good bagel with lox, grits and sweet tea. But sadly, not everyone brews sweet tea like the south, where it is mostly sugar!

One of my favorite hobbies is experiencing new cuisines from different ethnic backgrounds. My family—especially my uncle—shares the same interest. When my family travels, my uncle and I are in charge of meals and watch the Travel Channel and Food Network for recommendations. He thinks of us as foodies and wants to start a blog documenting our experiences.

My family has also been a major influence on my passion for politics. My grandmother is constantly watching C-SPAN or reading the local newspaper. Whenever she calls, we discuss our views on that day’s breaking news.

I remember sitting in the living room with my grandmother and mother as a second-grader, listening to the callers on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” During a break, I proudly proclaimed that I intended to cast my presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln. When my mother asked for my reasoning, I cited Lincoln’s actions in response to the South’s desperate clinging to that “peculiar institution” of slavery.

My grandmother is proud of how my political views have matured since that day. In fact, when I learned that I was to intern with the Democratic National Committee for the fall 2016 semester, she bragged to her friends and fellow church members.

I am grateful for my family’s support and advice, and I hope they understand how much I love and appreciate them for all they have done for me.

Learn more about my project.