How Obama's power plays set the stage for Trump

• Some of the presidential candidates reject evolution and support the teaching of creationism in schools. The new president could alter national science curriculum standards and waive requirements on the teaching of science. After all, the Obama administration offered waivers to school districts that didn’t meet state-defined goals for math and reading proficiency, in direct contradiction of No Child Left Behind.

• Trump has insisted that killing terrorists is not enough. He told Fox News that “you have to take out their families .” While many people were horrified, Trump is simply adding another target package to a program formalized by Obama. The current administration has asserted the authority to kill even U.S. citizens, anywhere, at any time, if it deems them to be imminent threats to national security.

• Most of the candidates oppose the Affordable Care Act. Assuming that Democrats have enough votes in Congress to prevent a repeal, the next president might be tempted to refuse to defend the law against court challenges, under the view that the law is unconstitutional. The Obama administration did that with the Defense of Marriage Act, announcing in 2011 that the Justice Department would no longer defend the statute.

• Most of the contenders have criticized increasing regulation and bureaucratic costs for businesses. The next president could order the delay of any new rules on workplace safety, wages or discrimination. After all, the Obama administration treated deadlines specified in the Affordable Care Act as little more than aspirational.