Tyranny Inherent in the System
Thoreau hypothesizes that, “The American executive and American Empire are now structured in such a way that any President with the support of 34 Senators (it takes 67 to override a veto or convict an impeached President, so 34 is enough to prevent that) can do whatever he wants.”
Practically speaking, this is true and has been (adjusted for math) since the founding of our present government in 1789. The only other institutional checks on presidents are elections (which happen only every four years and since the passage of the 25th Amendment only once per president) and the Supreme Court. And, theoretically at least, both elections and Supreme Court decisions could be ignored by a president with the support of a third plus one of the Senate.
Then again, this extreme math holds true for the other branches as well. For all intents and purposes, a majority of 5 Supreme Court Justices has virtually unlimited power to rewrite the Constitution and the Congress can do anything it wants so long as 218 Representatives and 60 Senators are on board.
We’ve had executive, judicial, and legislative overreach for significant periods at various times in our history but the consensus that sustains them always collapses. I predict, with great confidence, that this trend will continue.