Granted the United States did not institute presidential term limits until 1951 with the ratification of the 22nd Amendment, the framers of our government were nonetheless terrified of a future leader being exalted to a lifetime appointment.
Remember they were once British subjects, under the thumb of an absolute monarch who claimed a “divine right” to the throne.
That’s why we have elections. We don’t like the job a president is doing, we can vote him out.
Once the 22nd Amendment was passed, no president could serve more than two terms regardless of performance.
Our current president has on numerous occasions praised autocratic heads of state for their “tough” stances on crime, political opposition, and outward displays of nationalism.
His admiration for dictatorial rhetoric, posturing, and politics has caused some to speculate whether we actually could be dealing with a inchoate authoritarian.
Remember during the second presidential debate when Trump threatened to imprison Hillary Clinton?
Remember Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention when he asserted, “I alone can fix it”?
Trump reportedly told Republican donors:
“He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day.”
“Maybe we’ll give that a shot.”
Even before Trump it, Chinese activists and dissidents were speaking out about the West’s lack of criticism.
Democracy activist Zhou Fengsuo, a who has lived in exile since fleeing the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, said:
“This kind of permanent leadership never ends well … history tells us it will not just be a Chinese issue, it will have a deep and profound influence on the world … [China] will see a lot of uncertainty and likely conflict because of this.”
“Dictators are always arrogant. It’s a disaster for political civilization.”
Joke or not, the prospect of anyone–let alone Donald Trump–being coronated president for life is terrifying.
Image credit: www.businessinsider.com