We’ve Had Bad Presidents, but We’ve Never Had One Attempt a Coup Before Now

When I was teaching high school and middle school history pre-Trump, I would tell my students that my least favorite president was James K Polk. He was the president that illegitimately started a war against Mexico so he could steal the land. He even campaigned on starting a war with Canada. He was also very pro slavery and the Mexican American war help to expand slavery. As bad as he was, he had promised the beginning of his term to only serve one term, so he kept that promise and resigned after 4 years.

There was also John Adams. While he was nowhere near the level of James K Polk, he did pursue some very unconstitutional policies such as the Alien and Sedition acts. However, in the election of 1800 when he lost to Thomas Jefferson, he peacefully went back to his home and accepted the results.

Herbert Hoover may also be remembered as one of the least popular president in US history. They were the infamous Hooverville‘s named after him after his lackluster response to the Great Depression. However, he did not resist leaving office when Franklin D Roosevelt beat him handily in 1932.

In fact with the exception of Franklin D Roosevelt, all US presidents left after two terms even though before Roosevelt that was not an actual requirement, just a norm that have been started with George Washington to ensure that no one individual became too powerful.

And here we are in 2020, somehow we went over 200 years without an attempted coup from a sitting president, but we have a spoiled playboy in office who decided that he doesn’t care about American democracy, and he is willing to throw it away for his own power and probably because he fears facing legal repercussions. If this was a healthy country, the population as a whole would soundly reject this power play. However, we live in a polarized society where a significant portion of his base is now living in a non-reality based world and supports the coup.

As many have stated, this attempted coup will probably not be successful, but it will have forever shaken American democracy. The next person that tries to attempt a coup may have an easier time doing so. Shame on not only president Trump, but the members of his party who sit by quietly as they watch the selfish child take a sledgehammer to our history of a peaceful transition of power.

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I am an education professor in South Carolina with an emphasis in immigrant rights and peace education

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Will McCorkle

Will McCorkle

I am an education professor in South Carolina with an emphasis in immigrant rights and peace education

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