“Donald Trump is breaking with the tradition of peaceful transmission of power”

Tribune. Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 Republican primaries, his election to the presidency in November of the same year, the manner in which he has exercised power since his inauguration in January 2017 frequently call, from the pen of the historian, the qualifier of “unpublished”. It is difficult, when following the 2020 campaign, to escape this commonplace: unlike the economic crisis in which the United States was plunged in 2008, during the first election of Barack Obama, the crisis sanitation is unprecedented; social networks did not have the same hold on people’s minds then; finally, the personality of the forty-fifth president isolates him from the colorful cohort of his predecessors.

As the electoral tragicomedy nears its end, its pace seems to pick up. The last few weeks have been saturated with spectacular events such as the announcement of the selection of Amy Coney Barrett [figure de la droite religieuse] to sit on the Supreme Court, the televised debate of unequaled brutality between the president and Joe Biden, on September 29, the instrumentalization of the White House, the heritage of all Americans, for the benefit of the only incumbent candidate, or even the staging, the meaning of which is difficult to decipher, of the latter’s illness.

“Fallen Emperor”

Another episode makes this campaign a singular moment: the refusal of the president, who escaped the threat of a impeachment, to pledge, without reservation, to cede power in the event of a defeat on November 3. Whether it is to denounce the influence of a foreign power, to challenge, in a preventive manner, the count of the votes cast, or to announce, even to prepare, the chaos of the street, Trump hinted at this. what could be his strategy to try to stay in the White House for an indefinite period. While it is not certain that he has the means, nor that his words should be taken seriously, they nonetheless signal the temptation to break with one of the most precious traditions of the world. American political life: the peaceful transmission of power from the outgoing president to a successor elected like him by universal suffrage.

“By announcing, in 1796, his decision to retire and not to run for a third term, George Washington established a precedent which made a lasting impression”

The Constitution, as ratified in 1788, did not limit the number of presidential terms. By announcing in 1796 his decision to step down and not run for a third term, George Washington [le premier président des Etats-Unis] established a precedent which left a lasting mark on minds beyond the borders of his country – we know the strength of the passage of Memories beyond the grave (1848) in which Chateaubriand paints a “Parallel of Washington and Bonaparte”, opposing the “Magistrate at rest [qui] falls asleep under his roof amid the regrets of his compatriots “ at the“Fallen emperor (…) thrown into exile, where the fear of the earth does not yet believe him imprisoned enough under the guard of the Ocean “.

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