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The Founders didn’t prepare for a president who refuses to step down, historians say

smonk

Posted 8:21 am, 11/22/2020

Donald's refusal to concede could nonetheless plant seeds of a future in which such processes of transitions are far from inevitable. If he begins to travel the country over the coming weeks, holding rallies during which he spreads the lie of a stolen election to cheering throngs of supporters, that could do even greater damage.

That's because words matter in democratic politics. By casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election, Trump conveys the message to his most devoted followers that the political system of the United States is fundamentally rigged against them. And by implying that Philadelphia, with its large Black population, is the primary source of the fraud that will deny them their rightful political power, he interweaves a story of injustice and grievance with outright racism.

When people become convinced that they have no viable path to political power, that the cards are systematically stacked against them, they become tempted to go outside the system - either through political violence against those they believe illegitimately hoard power for themselves, or by throwing their support behind their own tribune's bid to stay in power beyond the limits allowed by law.

The primary reason why the processes of presidential transition in the United States up through the present unfold with a kind of necessity and are not ultimately dependent on the concession of the losing candidate is that the people who inhabit the institutions responsible for the transfer of power trust the legitimacy of the electoral process, regardless of which candidate or party prevails. But there is no guarantee that they always will. If Trump can pump enough poison into the political culture, the number of people who are willing to facilitate the smooth transition of power will shrink. When that happens, the process will cease to be automatic.

With his administration's war on the civil service and effort to appoint loyalists throughout the federal bureaucracy, Trump has already done his best to move the country in this direction over the past four years. Using the next two months to spread the lie that he and his supporters were robbed of a rightful electoral victory would be far worse.

Let's hope Donald does the right thing and concedes. But if he doesn't, that's when it will become imperative for every Republican office holder to take an unequivocal stand against him, including mass resignations in the White House and across the Cabinet. The protest would have a single, simple, but crucially important aim: to get the defeated president to admit the truth, which is that his opponent won the election fair and square.

Donald Trump doesn't have the power to stop Joe Biden from taking over on Jan. 20. But he does have the power to do lasting damage to American democracy.

https://theweek.com/article...r-concedes

moon-shine

Posted 9:30 pm, 11/21/2020

The founders absolutely did prepare, that's why we are still a country generations later.

They had a vision
Don't give up

Jimbojolly

Posted 7:14 pm, 11/21/2020

Hey singer, dream on. Trump lost.

singer

Posted 6:11 pm, 11/21/2020

See? There's one of those mush brain caught between that rock and that hard place I mentioned in my thread.

This little mush brain has decided to pretend they are not intelligent enough to know it was a stolen election.

The whole world knows, and they are sharing their opinions with Americans.

Smonk is pretending they don't know there's a big IF the rest of us is watching closly.

Actually there's a lot of IF's called stolen votes. Millions of them.

Meanwhile smonk has to pretend they believe that basement joe really got more votes than obama, and that corrupt old joe got the most votes of anyone in history.. OR... smonky will have to admit that millions of those votes were 'flipped' from Trump to corrupt old joe.

It downright laughable how dumb they are willing to look to keep the charade alive.

Albert Pike

Posted 6:09 pm, 11/21/2020

smonk (view profile)
Posted 5:54 pm, 11/21/2020
What do you mean if?

Aren't you doing the same thing, "if Trump refuses to step down".

aFicIoNadoS

Posted 6:09 pm, 11/21/2020

Who's refused to step down? The presidency doesn't change until January 20

sparkling water

Posted 6:06 pm, 11/21/2020

would love

Kant tipe twonite

sparkling water

Posted 6:03 pm, 11/21/2020

I woukd live for the EC to unanimously support Trump.
Do I expect it ?
No.

smonk

Posted 5:54 pm, 11/21/2020

What do you mean if?

sparkling water

Posted 5:39 pm, 11/21/2020

It doesn't matter at all if a president "steps down".
One term ends and another begins on Jan 20. If Biden wins the Electoral College its a done deal. Nothing to worry about.

smonk

Posted 5:11 pm, 11/21/2020

Trump continued Friday to deny the results of the election, pressuring state officials in Michigan and Georgia to overturn the will of voters and increasing fears that he might refuse to cede power to President-elect Joe Biden.


"No, the framers did not envisage a president refusing to step down or discuss what should be done in such a situation," Princeton historian Sean Wilentz said. "There's obviously nothing in the Constitution about it."

"This is a contingency that no one would have actively contemplated until this fall," said historian Jack Rakove, a professor emeritus at Stanford University.


Recently, Engel asked the post-doctoral fellows and undergraduates affiliated with the center - whose areas of study range from George Washington to Trump - to drop everything they were doing and search for any historical clues or parallels.

"They all say they got nothing," Engel said.


Some losing presidential candidates have had better claims than Trump to seek legal remedies, Engel said, such as Andrew Jackson in 1824, Richard Nixon in 1960 and Al Gore in 2000, "but none of those people ever gave any hint that they were not going to respect the legitimate authority of whoever ended up winning the process."

The Biden campaign has said that should Trump refuse to leave on Jan. 20, "the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House." But that's simply "common sense,"

The power that scared many Founders the most was that of commander in chief.

Though not necessarily tied to an election loss, "there was a lot of discussion of the possibility that a president with control of the Army might refuse to relinquish power,"

Gouverneur Morris, who wrote the preamble to the Constitution, warned that if a president was limited to one term, he might "be unwilling to quit his exaltation ... he will be in possession of the sword, a civil war will ensue, and the commander of the victorious army on which ever side, will be the despot of America."


Perhaps most ominously, one prominent Pennsylvanian identifying himself only as "An Old Whig," wrote about this in Antifederalist No. 70 and is worth quoting at length:


"Let us suppose this man to be a favorite with his army, and that they are unwilling to part with their beloved commander in chief ... and we have only to suppose one thing more, that this man is without the virtue, the moderation and love of liberty which possessed the mind of our late general [Washington] - and this country will be involved at once in war and tyranny.

... We may also suppose, without trespassing upon the bounds of probability, that this man may not have the means of supporting, in private life, the dignity of his former station; that like Caesar, he may be at once ambitious and poor, and deeply involved in debt. Such a man would die a thousand deaths rather than sink from the heights of splendor and power, into obscurity and wretchedness."

So why didn't the Founders plan for this particular scenario, of a president simply denying that he had lost an election? Because they couldn't even fathom it, Engel said.


"They couldn't fathom two things: a person who had become president who was so utterly lacking in classical virtue that they would deign or dare to put their own interests above the unity of the country. And the second thing is, I think they couldn't fathom how any president who would so vividly display disdain for the unity of the country, and mock and undermine the legitimacy of American democracy, why that person [wouldn't have] already been impeached and removed from office."


https://www.washingtonpost....p-concede/

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