托马斯·巴尔切尔斯基(Thomas Balcerski)在东康涅狄格州立大学教授历史. 他是《 “怀里的朋友: 詹姆斯·布坎南和威廉·鲁弗斯·金的亲密世界” (牛津大学出版社). He tweets @tbalcerski. 本评论中表达的观点是他自己的观点. 视图 更多意见 在 CNN.

More than two weeks after Election Day, President Donald Trump still refuses to concede the race to former Vice President Joe Biden. Some high-ranking former officials from Trump’s own administration (最近 his former chief of staff, John Kelly) have called for a smooth transition. 但是, many Republicans in Congress continue to stand by 总统.

Thomas Balcerski

In reality, Trump is a lame duck 总统. Trump’s presidency has been unprecedented in many ways, but in this regard, he is like all his predecessors: His term in office will come to an end, and he will have to depart the White House to begin his next chapter. 特朗普如何 chooses to conduct the remaining days of his administration may yet define his presidency and prove a critical moment in American history.
不幸, the country has suffered through some truly terrible transitions. Three such transfers of power come to mind — James Buchanan to Abraham Lincoln during the secession winter of 1860 至 1861; Herbert Hoover to Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the worsening economic crisis of 1932 至 1933; and Bill Clinton to George W. Bush after the bitterly contested election of 2000.
    As January 20, 2021, 方法, the need for an effective transition has never been greater. The worsening Covid-19 pandemic demands a strong response from the executive branch, which will require the outgoing president to cooperate with the president-elect for the good of the nation. To avoid further tragedy, Trump and Biden must avoid the mistakes of these truly poor transitions.
    Here are three critical lame-duck periods from the nation’s past.

    1860-1861: James Buchanan to Abraham Lincoln

    亚伯拉罕·林肯's inauguration as 16th President of the United States at Washington, 直流电, with outgoing President James Buchanan and Chief Justice of the United States Roger Brooke Taney.

    The election of 1860 provoked a serious challenge to presidential transition. 十一月, Lincoln won sufficient votes in the Electoral College to beat three challengers and secure a term as president. One month later, 南卡罗来纳 gathered a statewide convention and unanimously voted to secede from the Union. Soon thereafter, six more southern states followed suit.
    Lame duck President Buchanan poorly managed the developing crisis. He announced himself against southern secession, yet he also believed the government powerless to prevent the action. 代替, Buchanan looked to Congress for a solution. A gathering ofold gentlemen” 在华盛顿, 直流电, yielded a series of appeasement measures, 被称为 Crittenden Compromise, which aimed to protect slavery by constitutional provision.
    But President-elect Lincoln wisely refused to accept any compromise emanating from the unpopular Buchanan administration. On Inauguration Day, 林肯 on Buchanan at the White House, and the two men rode together in an open carriage to the Capitol. Despite a conciliatory inaugural address, war erupted when Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861.
    The new Republican Congress was furious with Buchanan’s actions during the lame duck period. 他们 took away the franking privilege for ex-presidents (thus requiring them to affix their own postage) — 和 even declined to pay for Buchanan’s official portrait.
    Buchanan defended his actions on theeve of rebellionin what historians 考虑 the first presidential memoir, but he failed to rehabilitate his reputation. For his inaction as the Union fell apart around him, he is routinely ranked the worst president in American history.

    1932-1933: Herbert Hoover to Franklin D. 罗斯福

    通过 1932, the Great Depression had plunged the American economy to new lows. Confidence had been lost in the banking system, farmers could find no market for their crops and unemployment 到达 几乎 25%.
    十一月, Roosevelt’s promise of a government-sponsored New Deal handily defeated Hoover’s campaign for cooperative voluntarism among private individuals. The day after Election Day, 在 9:34 下午, 胡佛 begrudgingly conceded by telegram, 写作: “In the common purpose of all of us, I shall dedicate myself to every possible helpful effort.
    On the day of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidential inauguration in 1933, he rides with his predecessor Herbert Hoover to the ceremony.

    但, in reality, Hoover did everything in his power to stand in the way of Roosevelt’s New Deal. 有效, Hoover wanted Roosevelt to renounce portions of the New Deal, like his public works programs, before taking office. 反过来, 罗斯福 被拒绝 to collaborate in any way with the outgoing president.
    同时, the effects of the Great Depression only worsened. On Inauguration Day, Hoover and Roosevelt 共享 a tense ride from the White House to the Capitol, with Roosevelt making small talk about the impressive preparations along the parade route.
    Mercifully, the extended lame-duck period, designed for an era when Americans traveled by horse or sail, was nearing its end. 在 1933, 国会 belatedly passed 立法 — first proposed by Sen. George Norris of Nebraska in 1923 — that eventually became the 20th Amendment to the US Constitution. Among other things, 的 “lame duck amendmentmoved forward the expiration of an outgoing president’s term from March 4 到一月 20 at noon.

    2000-2001: Bill Clinton to George W. 衬套

    President Bill Clinton and President-elect George W. Bush stand outside the White House for their first meeting since the election December 19, 2000, 在华盛顿, 直流.

    Little did the country know the crisis that would unfold starting on November 7, 2000. In one of the closest races in American history, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. 乔治·W. Bush each racked up key wins in the battleground states. Yet no winner could be declared in the crucial state of Florida, despite nearly every major network 呼唤 the state earlier in the night for Gore and then reversing the call in Bush’s favor.
    Believing that he had lost, Gore had actually telephoned Bush to concede. The vice president was en route to speak before an assembled crowd at the War Memorial in Nashville, when aides frantically rushed to stop him from going on stage. News that Florida was too close to call now convinced Gore to retract his concession and thus began a weekslong legal fight. 最后, after the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount, 血块 conceded 在十二月 13 in a nationally televised address.
    As the nation awaited the result, the General Services Administration, the agency tasked with smoothing the transition to the new president, withheldascertainmentfrom both candidates. 决定 delayed implementation of the Presidential Transition Act, which provides for office space and equipment as well as funds to support the incoming administration. 然而, Bush did receive classified briefings (and Gore received them as vice president). 仍然, 在 2004, 的 9/11 Commission 发现 that this slow transitionhamperedthe new administration’s ability to place key officials in national security roles.
    Yet the drama was not overPresident Bill Clinton’s administration did not go quietly into the night. Allegations 浮出水面 that personnel ripped phones from the walls, defaced bathrooms, 和, perhaps most childishly, removed the letter “w ^” from keyboards in White House computers (Clinton staffers denied many of the claims). The General Accounting Office issued a report estimating 一些 $ 15,000 worth of damages.

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    作为回应, Bush diligently worked to ensure a professional transition, when the time came to pass power to President-elect Barack Obama. Described as thegold standardof presidential transition, Obama himself followed the model in the peaceful transfer of power to Trump.
      当然, Trump may yet concede the election and thus follow a venerable tradition of unifying the country that dates back to 1896. 从那里, he might follow past precedent and choose to attend his successor’s inauguration.
      Yet if past is prologue, the nation should expect a continued crisis and a challenging transition period ahead. As we have too many times before, we must be prepared for a long winter of division between the outgoing and incoming administrationsand for the nation to suffer the consequences.


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