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(NPR)   Why does the U.S. take so long between the election and the presidential inauguration? We should just shove the loser out the White House door as we kick them in the arse   (npr.org) divider line
    More: Obvious, President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George W. Bush, Electoral College, new government, much time, President Trump's refusal, national election  
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1325 clicks; posted to Politics » on 01 Dec 2020 at 4:31 PM (13 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-12-01 2:59:47 PM  
I seem to recall that it took the entire time from the election to inauguration for the nation to digest that Trump had won.
 
2020-12-01 3:01:48 PM  
TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.
 
2020-12-01 3:16:38 PM  

theteacher: TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.


There is also the fact that there is no shadow government like in parliamentary systems.  You can't just switch nameplates and call it a day.  People have to be picked and prepared to get up to speed.  While major offices are probably already spoken for during the election, there are thousands of political appointments in the US government.  You cannot expect all those people to quit their jobs in June on the off chance their guy wins.  And that is what would have to happen to make a transition happen in November.  And actually, since the EC is Constitutionally mandated to meet in December, with Congress mandated to certify thee results, the actual time between a winner being made official and the new guy taking over is two weeks.

Yes, the US system is not consistent with the rest of the developed world.  It is not parliamentary.  Duh.  You will notice that no other nation with a lick of sense has copied it - even most with no sense whatsoever never even considered it.  Anybody who did was officially a paste-eating farkwit.

But here's the rub: the only way to change it would to be scrap the Constitution completely.  I'll even stipulate that this would be the smart option.  But considering the Republicans control most state governments, and are hard-right eliminationist theocrats, does anyone really want to see the Gilead they would demand as the most liberal option?  You are not getting Sweden out of a new government, but Hungary without a filter.
 
2020-12-01 3:32:38 PM  

Nadie_AZ: I seem to recall that it took the entire time from the election to inauguration for the nation to digest that Trump had won.


He didn't
he was appointed
 
2020-12-01 4:05:05 PM  
Let's compare things that are completely different and complain that they behave differently.
 
2020-12-01 4:32:53 PM  
It used to be until March.
 
2020-12-01 4:38:24 PM  
This article doesn't explain why there's still so much time, just why there was so much time originally.

The reason that gap still exists is "no one has bothered to do anything about it, mostly because our government has been little other than lazy, intractable garbage for several decades."
 
2020-12-01 4:39:31 PM  
I don't know, why does America have to campaign for a year and a half before the election?  Other countries run their campaigns in 6 weeks and that's that.  Then they actually spend some time, you know, governing.
 
2020-12-01 4:39:32 PM  

phalamir: theteacher: TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.

There is also the fact that there is no shadow government like in parliamentary systems.


Man, I can't wait until my anxiety calms down to the point that I don't keep mis-reading that word as "paramilitary"
 
2020-12-01 4:39:34 PM  

phalamir: But here's the rub: the only way to change it would to be scrap the Constitution completely.


There is one way to shorten the time it takes to transition between administrations... remove the politics from many of the positions that have to be appointed now, especially those way down the food chain like "undersecretary to the undersecretary to the undersecretary's assistant coffee boy shat) and make those career positions like the rest of the civil service. Number of appointments cut by a huge chunk right there.
 
2020-12-01 4:40:30 PM  
Or maybe it's the same reason America still uses the imperial system of measurement?
 
2020-12-01 4:40:58 PM  

theteacher: TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.


.... and Real Americans believe The Constitution (peace be upon him) is too sacrosanct a document to amend to cope with the fact that many faster ways to distribute information have been developed since 1787.
 
2020-12-01 4:41:13 PM  

phalamir: theteacher: TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.

There is also the fact that there is no shadow government like in parliamentary systems.  You can't just switch nameplates and call it a day.  People have to be picked and prepared to get up to speed.  While major offices are probably already spoken for during the election, there are thousands of political appointments in the US government.  You cannot expect all those people to quit their jobs in June on the off chance their guy wins.  And that is what would have to happen to make a transition happen in November.  And actually, since the EC is Constitutionally mandated to meet in December, with Congress mandated to certify thee results, the actual time between a winner being made official and the new guy taking over is two weeks.

Yes, the US system is not consistent with the rest of the developed world.  It is not parliamentary.  Duh.  You will notice that no other nation with a lick of sense has copied it - even most with no sense whatsoever never even considered it.  Anybody who did was officially a paste-eating farkwit.

But here's the rub: the only way to change it would to be scrap the Constitution completely.  I'll even stipulate that this would be the smart option.  But considering the Republicans control most state governments, and are hard-right eliminationist theocrats, does anyone really want to see the Gilead they would demand as the most liberal option?  You are not getting Sweden out of a new government, but Hungary without a filter.


America has the oldest democracy in the world, that makes it the worst.
 
2020-12-01 4:41:17 PM  

theteacher: TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.


You're saying we're hung like a horse?

// America fully calcified between 4 July 1960 (the last time we changed the flag) and 5 May 1992 (the last time we added an Amendment)
// basically none of the political "traditions" we established/upheld from that time are ever going away - things like Inauguration Day being 20 January,
// it's a wonder they raised the minimum wage since then - but only the one time
 
2020-12-01 4:42:47 PM  
Trump should be forced to walk home from the White House and Biden should be forced to walk from home to the White House, just as the founders would want.

And dueling ought to be legal.

Such a system would weed out the weak and the guilty.
 
2020-12-01 4:43:13 PM  

austerity101: This article doesn't explain why there's still so much time, just why there was so much time originally.

The reason that gap still exists is "no one has bothered to do anything about it, mostly because our government has been little other than lazy, intractable garbage for several decades."


I mean, our business and work models are hold overs from the industrial revolution. We might have 21st century technology, but we run on 19th century social structures.
 
2020-12-01 4:43:13 PM  

austerity101: This article doesn't explain why there's still so much time, just why there was so much time originally.

The reason that gap still exists is "no one has bothered to do anything about it, mostly because our government has been little other than lazy, intractable garbage for several decades."


Changing it (again) requires a constitutional amendment, which is impossible to pass in the modern era.
 
2020-12-01 4:44:22 PM  
16 days. That's how long the transfer of power took from Harper to Trudeau in 2015.
 
2020-12-01 4:44:37 PM  
I don't understand "The Office of the President-Elect."

If there is a government office called "The Office of the President-Elect" then in fact, there are 2 presidents during that time. The concept of the "lame duck" period is a period where the POTUS no longer has as much authority because some of it is already recognized in the PEOTUS, like forthcoming legislation and policy priorities. The State Dept also must go through some interesting changes.

The lame duck term seems rather dangerous because legislators don't know which president has which powers, apart from pardons.

Unless "The Office of the PEOTUS" is not a government office. I can't tell, from how the news is covering Biden, what powers that office is supposed to have.
 
2020-12-01 4:45:01 PM  

mudesi: Or maybe it's the same reason America still uses the imperial system of measurement?


Or why we still have one dollar bills and one cent coins.  Or why we don't have some form of universal health care.

America is a conservative country (small c), in that it is resistant to change.  If somebody is slightly annoyed somewhere by a change, it's likely to not happen.
 
2020-12-01 4:45:56 PM  
It worked alright until Trump. Like a lot of things.
 
2020-12-01 4:47:03 PM  

Bennie Crabtree: I don't understand "The Office of the President-Elect."

If there is a government office called "The Office of the President-Elect" then in fact, there are 2 presidents during that time. The concept of the "lame duck" period is a period where the POTUS no longer has as much authority because some of it is already recognized in the PEOTUS, like forthcoming legislation and policy priorities. The State Dept also must go through some interesting changes.

The lame duck term seems rather dangerous because legislators don't know which president has which powers, apart from pardons.

Unless "The Office of the PEOTUS" is not a government office. I can't tell, from how the news is covering Biden, what powers that office is supposed to have.


It is a government office, but has no real powers other than being given access to classified and other government data.  It's a transition office, designed to make the handover as smooth as possible, considering the time lag.  Trump is still President.
 
2020-12-01 4:48:20 PM  
Um, like some dudes wrote a paper which defines our system of government.  So like, there's a gap between the election and the confirmation, women can't vote, and negroes are only 3/5 of a people.
 
2020-12-01 4:48:58 PM  

foo monkey: Um, like some WHITE dudes wrote a paper which defines our system of government.  So like, there's a gap between the election and the confirmation, women can't vote, and negroes are only 3/5 of a people.


FTFM.
 
2020-12-01 4:48:59 PM  
That's going to bite us in the ass over the next 50 days.
 
2020-12-01 4:49:41 PM  
u.s is barely hanging on with ducktape and gum while having the world strongest military, control of reserve currency , financial market (swift), most media outlets.  how anybody could think the u.s model would work in their country is nuts. it needs to extract wealth on a global scale just to keep it's upper class going and commoners get squat.
 
2020-12-01 4:52:04 PM  

Dr Dreidel: theteacher: TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.

You're saying we're hung like a horse?

// America fully calcified between 4 July 1960 (the last time we changed the flag) and 5 May 1992 (the last time we added an Amendment)
// basically none of the political "traditions" we established/upheld from that time are ever going away - things like Inauguration Day being 20 January,
// it's a wonder they raised the minimum wage since then - but only the one time


The last amendment (27th) is the definition of "the exception proving the rule".

It was pending, approved by Congress but not ratified by the states, for 202 years.

The last amendment before it was enacted in 1971.  That was before I was born.

I do not expect another amendment to pass during my lifetime.
 
2020-12-01 4:53:40 PM  

mudesi: I don't know, why does America have to campaign for a year and a half before the election?  Other countries run their campaigns in 6 weeks and that's that.  Then they actually spend some time, you know, governing.


Fun fact: Trump filed his re-election campaign with the FEC on the day of his inauguration, a whopping 47 months before election day. He spent his whole first term campaigning for a second term (and grifting the shiat out of his followers).

In comparison:
Obama - filed 19 months before election day
Dubya - 18 months
Clinton - 19 months
Bush - 12 months
Reagan - 12 months
 
2020-12-01 4:54:54 PM  

HerptheDerp: phalamir: theteacher: TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.

There is also the fact that there is no shadow government like in parliamentary systems.  You can't just switch nameplates and call it a day.  People have to be picked and prepared to get up to speed.  While major offices are probably already spoken for during the election, there are thousands of political appointments in the US government.  You cannot expect all those people to quit their jobs in June on the off chance their guy wins.  And that is what would have to happen to make a transition happen in November.  And actually, since the EC is Constitutionally mandated to meet in December, with Congress mandated to certify thee results, the actual time between a winner being made official and the new guy taking over is two weeks.

Yes, the US system is not consistent with the rest of the developed world.  It is not parliamentary.  Duh.  You will notice that no other nation with a lick of sense has copied it - even most with no sense whatsoever never even considered it.  Anybody who did was officially a paste-eating farkwit.

But here's the rub: the only way to change it would to be scrap the Constitution completely.  I'll even stipulate that this would be the smart option.  But considering the Republicans control most state governments, and are hard-right eliminationist theocrats, does anyone really want to see the Gilead they would demand as the most liberal option?  You are not getting Sweden out of a new government, but Hungary without a filter.

America has the oldest democracy in the world, that makes it the worst.


Basically, we never really came out of our beta release.
 
2020-12-01 4:56:40 PM  
I mean... we don't need 2.5 freaking months to transition, but I'm sure we still need 2.5 weeks.
 
2020-12-01 4:56:56 PM  

Catlenfell: That's going to bite us in the ass over the next 50 days.


Fifty days.  Jesus.

Anyone ever see the movie Madhouse?
 
2020-12-01 4:57:40 PM  

Geotpf: austerity101: This article doesn't explain why there's still so much time, just why there was so much time originally.

The reason that gap still exists is "no one has bothered to do anything about it, mostly because our government has been little other than lazy, intractable garbage for several decades."

Changing it (again) requires a constitutional amendment, which is impossible to pass in the modern era.


Unless a bunch of Republican senators die of covid soon, which isn't off the table.
 
2020-12-01 4:58:00 PM  
So it's going to be six more weeks of Festivus.  Officially three weeks of pre-Festivus. Festivus. Holiday. A week.  Another holiday.  The about three weeks of post-Festivus.
 
2020-12-01 4:58:04 PM  

fiddlehead: mudesi: I don't know, why does America have to campaign for a year and a half before the election?  Other countries run their campaigns in 6 weeks and that's that.  Then they actually spend some time, you know, governing.

Fun fact: Trump filed his re-election campaign with the FEC on the day of his inauguration, a whopping 47 months before election day. He spent his whole first term campaigning for a second term (and grifting the shiat out of his followers).

In comparison:
Obama - filed 19 months before election day
Dubya - 18 months
Clinton - 19 months
Bush - 12 months
Reagan - 12 months


Other countries ban campaigning before a certain date.  That would be unconstitutional in the US due to the first amendment, and, of course, we aren't going to pass an amendment to change that.
 
2020-12-01 4:58:43 PM  

Barricaded Gunman: Geotpf: austerity101: This article doesn't explain why there's still so much time, just why there was so much time originally.

The reason that gap still exists is "no one has bothered to do anything about it, mostly because our government has been little other than lazy, intractable garbage for several decades."

Changing it (again) requires a constitutional amendment, which is impossible to pass in the modern era.

Unless a bunch of Republican senators die of covid soon, which isn't off the table.


What would that have to do with anything?
 
2020-12-01 4:59:32 PM  

Geotpf: Bennie Crabtree: I don't understand "The Office of the President-Elect."

If there is a government office called "The Office of the President-Elect" then in fact, there are 2 presidents during that time. The concept of the "lame duck" period is a period where the POTUS no longer has as much authority because some of it is already recognized in the PEOTUS, like forthcoming legislation and policy priorities. The State Dept also must go through some interesting changes.

The lame duck term seems rather dangerous because legislators don't know which president has which powers, apart from pardons.

Unless "The Office of the PEOTUS" is not a government office. I can't tell, from how the news is covering Biden, what powers that office is supposed to have.

It is a government office, but has no real powers other than being given access to classified and other government data.  It's a transition office, designed to make the handover as smooth as possible, considering the time lag.  Trump is still President.


Okay, so it does transition stuff only. Preparing the PE. Got it.
 
2020-12-01 5:02:26 PM  

mudesi: I don't know, why does America have to campaign for a year and a half before the election?  Other countries run their campaigns in 6 weeks and that's that.  Then they actually spend some time, you know, governing.


It's the primary system.  Used to not be so bad.  First primary wasn't until very late spring.  Then every state decided they just had to be first and the whole thing got pushed up to the start of the year.

If it were up to me, no caucuses would be allowed, they are just  circus sideshows, first primary race would be in late April, and the order of he states would be secret and not announced until early May.

We would still primary by state, but the general election would abandon the electoral college and go straight popular vote.
 
2020-12-01 5:04:09 PM  
From a theoretical perspective, sure, we can probably shorten the time a bit, but we have to allow some time for ballots to be received and counted and for any recounts and challenges to be sorted out (no, the proper response to "Trump files lots of frivolous lawsuits challenging election results" is not "don't let anyone challenge election results") and some time for the new administration to prepare.

From a practical perspective, not going to happen. Inauguration Day and the start of the Congressional term are set by the Constitution and are not moving, so you're going to have a minimum of 17 days between an officially announced winner and the inauguration regardless, and really the only adjustment that can be made is to make Election Day later in the year. Working backwards from January 3, we're into the holidays so no one wants to do anything, so everything has to be all set before Christmas. Subtract a week for actual meeting of the electoral college and the transmission of the paperwork and wait, isn't that pretty close to what the setup already is?
 
2020-12-01 5:09:08 PM  
It was mainly a "gentleman's agreement" to facilitate a smooth transition of power from one president to the next. The problem is that we have way to many "Gentleman's agreements" inherent in the system of government running things which a fascist can fark with. Thankfully Trump was horribly incompetent as a fascist, but Trump 2.0 won't be.

The reason why we are not a parliamentary system is mainly pettiness at not wanting to be like Britain and form our own government with Blackjack and Hookers.
 
2020-12-01 5:11:04 PM  
If both parties nominated sane people who actually put the well being of the nation first, then the length of time given to a lame duck President would not matter.
 
2020-12-01 5:13:47 PM  

mudesi: I don't know, why does America have to campaign for a year and a half before the election?  Other countries run their campaigns in 6 weeks and that's that.  Then they actually spend some time, you know, governing.


Because the 1A.

Because we took a generalized notion of freedom of speech - that is fantastic in *almost all* scenarios - and made it so foundational to our nation's m.o. that it can get totally out of control at the worst possible moments.  We stopped paying attention to WHY freedom of speech is important: for the open competition of ideas, where the best ones rise to the top and the worst ones sink to the bottom.

Freedom of speech applied to the election process, where those with the most $$$ can effectively drive out those with the least, for the express purpose of suppressing the competition of ideas? Great call!  Now we've got a system that's antithetical to the purpose of having an open competition of ideas.

It's childish classical liberalism, pretending the means are infallible so the ends must be too.

/just because classical liberalism was better than what preceded it doesn't mean it's worth a stitch in the present
 
2020-12-01 5:15:04 PM  

qorkfiend: From a theoretical perspective, sure, we can probably shorten the time a bit, but we have to allow some time for ballots to be received and counted and for any recounts and challenges to be sorted out (no, the proper response to "Trump files lots of frivolous lawsuits challenging election results" is not "don't let anyone challenge election results") and some time for the new administration to prepare.

From a practical perspective, not going to happen. Inauguration Day and the start of the Congressional term are set by the Constitution and are not moving, so you're going to have a minimum of 17 days between an officially announced winner and the inauguration regardless, and really the only adjustment that can be made is to make Election Day later in the year. Working backwards from January 3, we're into the holidays so no one wants to do anything, so everything has to be all set before Christmas. Subtract a week for actual meeting of the electoral college and the transmission of the paperwork and wait, isn't that pretty close to what the setup already is?


The 20th amendment moved Inauguration from March4 to January 20, it can be done again, it just takes political will.
 
2020-12-01 5:22:08 PM  

winedrinkingman: mudesi: I don't know, why does America have to campaign for a year and a half before the election?  Other countries run their campaigns in 6 weeks and that's that.  Then they actually spend some time, you know, governing.

It's the primary system.  Used to not be so bad.  First primary wasn't until very late spring.  Then every state decided they just had to be first and the whole thing got pushed up to the start of the year.

If it were up to me, no caucuses would be allowed, they are just  circus sideshows, first primary race would be in late April, and the order of he states would be secret and not announced until early May.

We would still primary by state, but the general election would abandon the electoral college and go straight popular vote.


No, not really. The modern primary system started in 1972, and since then the Iowa caucus has never been held later than February 20 (i.e. well before "very late spring").

1972: Jan 24
1976: Jan 19
1980: Jan 21
1984: Feb 20
1988: Feb 8
1992: Feb 10
1996: n/a
2000: Jan 24
2004: Jan 19
2008: Jan 3
2012: Jan 3
2016: Feb 1
2020: Feb 3
 
2020-12-01 5:22:44 PM  

MindStalker: qorkfiend: From a theoretical perspective, sure, we can probably shorten the time a bit, but we have to allow some time for ballots to be received and counted and for any recounts and challenges to be sorted out (no, the proper response to "Trump files lots of frivolous lawsuits challenging election results" is not "don't let anyone challenge election results") and some time for the new administration to prepare.

From a practical perspective, not going to happen. Inauguration Day and the start of the Congressional term are set by the Constitution and are not moving, so you're going to have a minimum of 17 days between an officially announced winner and the inauguration regardless, and really the only adjustment that can be made is to make Election Day later in the year. Working backwards from January 3, we're into the holidays so no one wants to do anything, so everything has to be all set before Christmas. Subtract a week for actual meeting of the electoral college and the transmission of the paperwork and wait, isn't that pretty close to what the setup already is?

The 20th amendment moved Inauguration from March4 to January 20, it can be done again, it just takes political will.


Yes, hence "from a practical perspective"
 
2020-12-01 5:26:57 PM  
After Trump and Covid I think the rules should change. If America votes you out, you don't get a further three months to do damage to this country. The way it should work is, you either concede the following day, and a peaceful transition of power takes place within three weeks, OR if you refuse, we put you in a trebuchet the first week after the election, and launch you out of Washington.
 
2020-12-01 5:30:42 PM  

phalamir: theteacher: TLDR:  America is farkING HUGE when you have to travel by horse.

There is also the fact that there is no shadow government like in parliamentary systems.  You can't just switch nameplates and call it a day.  People have to be picked and prepared to get up to speed.  While major offices are probably already spoken for during the election, there are thousands of political appointments in the US government.  You cannot expect all those people to quit their jobs in June on the off chance their guy wins.  And that is what would have to happen to make a transition happen in November.  And actually, since the EC is Constitutionally mandated to meet in December, with Congress mandated to certify thee results, the actual time between a winner being made official and the new guy taking over is two weeks.

Yes, the US system is not consistent with the rest of the developed world.  It is not parliamentary.  Duh.  You will notice that no other nation with a lick of sense has copied it - even most with no sense whatsoever never even considered it.  Anybody who did was officially a paste-eating farkwit.

But here's the rub: the only way to change it would to be scrap the Constitution completely.  I'll even stipulate that this would be the smart option.  But considering the Republicans control most state governments, and are hard-right eliminationist theocrats, does anyone really want to see the Gilead they would demand as the most liberal option?  You are not getting Sweden out of a new government, but Hungary without a filter.


If doing this would benefit Republicans, you can bet that it would already have been done long ago!
 
2020-12-01 5:34:44 PM  

TeddyRooseveltsMustache: After Trump and Covid I think the rules should change. If America votes you out, you don't get a further three months to do damage to this country. The way it should work is, you either concede the following day, and a peaceful transition of power takes place within three weeks, OR if you refuse, we put you in a trebuchet the first week after the election, and launch you out of Washington.


Again, you and what constitutional amendment?
 
2020-12-01 5:37:20 PM  

MindStalker: qorkfiend: From a theoretical perspective, sure, we can probably shorten the time a bit, but we have to allow some time for ballots to be received and counted and for any recounts and challenges to be sorted out (no, the proper response to "Trump files lots of frivolous lawsuits challenging election results" is not "don't let anyone challenge election results") and some time for the new administration to prepare.

From a practical perspective, not going to happen. Inauguration Day and the start of the Congressional term are set by the Constitution and are not moving, so you're going to have a minimum of 17 days between an officially announced winner and the inauguration regardless, and really the only adjustment that can be made is to make Election Day later in the year. Working backwards from January 3, we're into the holidays so no one wants to do anything, so everything has to be all set before Christmas. Subtract a week for actual meeting of the electoral college and the transmission of the paperwork and wait, isn't that pretty close to what the setup already is?

The 20th amendment moved Inauguration from March4 to January 20, it can be done again, it just takes political will.


I should just have one key that quotes a post whenever somebody proposes something that requires a constitutional amendment and screams at them that's not gonna happen.  Because you've been about the 14th person to do it in this thread alone.
 
2020-12-01 5:38:11 PM  

mudesi: Or maybe it's the same reason America still uses the imperial system of measurement?


Since all US measurements are defined by metric units we are technically on the metric system
 
2020-12-01 5:39:23 PM  

threedingers: 16 days. That's how long the transfer of power took from Harper to Trudeau in 2015.


One for every time he'd gone away
One for every time he should have stayed
 
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