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The U.S. and its Transitional President

July 17, 2018

One fundamental rule of politics that politicians must heed is “Never criticize the United States from abroad.” President Trump did that yesterday and he will pay a terrible price:

President Trump will be seen as a transitional President.

In American politics “transitional” means “One-Term.”

Of course, President Trump has violated a great many rules which signifies that his election was transitional.

Go to this listing of American Presidents from President #26, a fluke who became President on the assassination of William McKinley to President #45, Donald Trump, another fluke elected when both the Democrat and Republican Party had given every evidence that our national, Two Party, system was in transition to a European multi-Party model.

President McKinley oversaw  our first imperial war, the Spanish-American War and the coming of age of a major world power the equal with Germany, France and England. That power would be misdirected by President #28, Woodrow Wilson, another fluke whose election was made possible  by Teddy Roosevelt’s challenge of President #27, William Howard Taft and formation of the Progressive Party in 1912.

“Progressives” were the result of a number of factors, not the least of which was a crisis of faith in American Christianity shaped by a new and vigorous secular culture, Darwin’s scientific theory of evolution, the influence of German idealism as a substitute religion for America’s intellectual classes, and devastating destruction of life in the American Civil War.

President #26, Teddy Roosevelt and President #28, Woodrow Wilson, fundamentally shaped the 20th century and a transition from a 19th century Republic to a modern democracy. Much of the work making that transition was evident in 1831 when Alexis de Tocqueville titled his study–“Democracy in America.”

Transition from a Republic into a mass democracy had consequences for the United States and. entry of the United States into a great European war in April 1917 revealed the promise and the danger of an American empire.

It took American citizens through the election of President #26, Teddy Roosevelt to President #32, Franklin Roosevelt, to understand the Imperial role of the United States. Adjusting the American economy to industrialization and attempts at recovery from excesses of WWI and WW II showed a pattern:  Imperial acts of war followed by a struggle for economic recovery in peacetime, followed by instability brought about by War (President 33, Harry Truman and the Korean War), President #35, John Kennedy and the Cold War, President 36, Lyndon Johnson, President 37, Richard Nixon and President 38, Gerald Ford and war in Vietnam. The three succeeding Presidents struggled to heal the economic and civic wounds of war in Vietnam only to find the pull of imperial war too attractive for President #42, William Clinton and President #43, George W. Bush.

True to form, the American voter chose President #45, Barach Obama and President #46, Donald Trump in search from economic and civil recovery. By 2016, both political parties were in decline and the voters took a chance on a celebrity, non-politician, as if the taint of Party politics could be removed by election of a non-politician.

Just as the United States is transition from a hundred years of imperial wars, American citizens are seeking economic recovery and resolution of civic disorders, and the two Party system is in transition. The Presidential election of 2020 will decide whether the great American system of Constitutional government will prevail or be replaced by authoritarian rule. American democracy may transition into an interregnum led by a benign American military. That is the significance of the militarization of the Trump Administration.

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