David Frum on the Peaceful Transition of Power


Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum is tired of all of this talk about the “peaceful transition of power.”  Here is a taste of his piece today at The Atlantic.  This is going to get some folks upset, but what he says is worth considering:

Americans so insistently celebrate the peaceful transfer of power precisely because they nervously recognize the susceptibility of their polity to violence. The presidential election of 1860 triggered one of the bloodiest civil wars in human history. The presidential election of 1876 very nearly reignited that war. Since 1900, two presidents have been murdered; six more—Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan—were either wounded by a would-be assassin or else escaped by inches…

…The message will be stated and restated this day: For the 58th time, the system has worked, and power has smoothly transferred from one heir of George Washington to another. The truth is not so happy. With full advance notice, and despite the failure to gain a plurality of the nation’s vote, the United States will soon inaugurate someone who owes his office in some large part to a hostile foreign intelligence operation. Who is, above and beyond that, a person whose character that leaves him unqualified to hold the presidency, and threatens the country with an impending sequence of financial and espionage scandals—a constitutional crisis on two legs.

The real message of today is that the system has failed. The challenge of the morrow is to know what to do to save the remainder.

Read the entire piece here.