Trump civics lesson: a fitness test for the presidency?

In response to today’s new NYT article on how John Dowd, Trump’s then lawyer, had discussed presidential pardons with the lawyers for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, Steve Wheeler wrote this comment in the Times, bringing up something else we’ve grasped thanks to Trump: basically, you mean we have no practical, democratic recourse when the president turns out to be, uh, Trumpian?

Another hole in our political system we need to fill.

Steve Wheeler

Portland, Oregon

Whenever I read an article like this, I am struck by the limited nature of voter recourse concerning holding a sitting president accountable for misdeeds. There is currently a debate about whether a sitting president can be indicted (the consensus seems to be that he can), and now whether a sitting president has any limits on his ability to avoid legal trouble by offering pardons to those who could testify of his misdeeds.

I suppose the Constitutional framers never imagined the election of a thoroughly unsuitable person to the office of president. It seems, as wise as they were, they never foresaw the need to include a fitness test to screen out unfit candidates. I’m sure they never could conceive that a large percentage of the voters could be so rash as to vote for a candidate who was obviously unfit for the office.

Given our limited recourse in swiftly getting rid of an unfit president, I’d say we need to revisit our Constitution on the matter of a fitness test. Rather than getting rid of a unfit president and all of the time and torturous maneuvering that requires, we should prevent one by imposing a fitness test.

Which should include a mandate that a candidate produce the last ten years of tax filings. Who knew that wasn’t part of the process until now?

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