While there are vast differences between the Roman Republic and the United States, there are many ways they compare directly. There is always a temptation, in any system of government, for public officials to rule rather than govern; but a well-functioning republic has institutional safeguards to prevent that. Institutions can be corrupted from within, however. And just a few minutes ago, one of the deepest infections in American history just burrowed into the center of our government.
I'll leave it to Brooks and Krugman to suggest what we do now. First, Brooks:
We’ve wondered if there is some opponent out there that could force us to unite and work together. Well, that opponent is being inaugurated, not in the form of Trump the man, but in the form of the chaos and incompetence that will likely radiate from him, month after month. For America to thrive, people across government will have to cooperate and build arrangements to quarantine and work around the president.
People in the defense, diplomatic and intelligence communities will have to build systems to prevent him from intentionally or unintentionally bumbling into a global crisis. People in his administration and in Congress will have to create systems so his ill-informed verbal spasms don’t derail coherent legislation.
Krugman agrees, to an extent, but has more fear:
Crises of some kind are bound to occur on any president’s watch. They appear especially likely given the crew that’s coming in and their allies in Congress: Given the stated priorities of the people about to take charge, we could very well see collapsing health care, a trade war and a military standoff with China just in the next year.
Real crises need real solutions. They can’t be resolved with a killer tweet, or by having your friends in the F.B.I. or the Kremlin feed the media stories that take your problems off the front page. What the situation demands are knowledgeable, levelheaded people in positions of authority.
But as far as we know, almost no people meeting that description will be in the new administration, except possibly the nominee for defense secretary — whose nickname just happens to be “Mad Dog.”
No more than 1,469 days, 23 hours, and 54 minutes remain in this horrible, horrible administration.