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How to Get Rid of a President: History's Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives

David Priess

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Political science & theory

A vivid political history of the manifold schemes, plots and conspiracies to remove unwanted presidents, from the founding fathers to the age of Trump.

To limit executive power, the Founding Fathers created fixed presidential terms of four years, giving voters regular opportunities to remove their leaders. Americans also discovered more dramatic paths for disempowering--or coming razor-close to removing--chief executives: undermining the president's authority, a preemptive strike to derail a presidential candidacy, assassination, impeachment, resignation, and declaration of inability. Although the United States has gone decades without assassination or resignation, the most dramatic forms of presidential removal, getting rid of a president or a potential president is a political reality--just ask not president Hillary Clinton.

How To Get Rid of a President presents the dark side of the nation's history, from the Constitutional Convention through the aftermath of the shocking 2016 election, a stew of election dramas, national tragedies, and presidential exits mixed with party intrigue, political betrayal, and backroom scheming. It is a briskly paced, darkly humorous voyage through historical events relevant to today's headlines, highlighting the many ways that presidents have been undermined and nearly kicked out, how each method of removal offers opportunities and dangers for the republic, and the thorny ethical issues that surround the choice to resist, disobey, or eject a president.

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