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How to Get Rid of a President

How to Get Rid of a President

History's Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives

A vivid political history of the schemes, plots, maneuvers, and conspiracies that have attempted–successfully and not–to remove unwanted presidents

To limit executive power, the founding fathers created fixed presidential terms of four years, giving voters regular opportunities to remove their leaders. Even so, Americans have often resorted to more dramatic paths to disempower the chief executive. The American presidency has seen it all, from rejecting a sitting president’s renomination bid and undermining their authority in office to the more drastic methods of impeachment, and, most brutal of all, assassination.
How to Get Rid of a President showcases the political dark arts in action: a stew of election dramas, national tragedies, and presidential departures mixed with party intrigue, personal betrayal, and backroom shenanigans. This briskly paced, darkly humorous voyage proves that while the pomp and circumstance of presidential elections might draw more attention, the way that presidents are removed teaches us much more about our political order.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Political Science / American Government / Executive Branch

On Sale: November 13th 2018

Price: $16.99 / $21.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 320

ISBN-13: 9781541788213

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


Getting rid of presidents was never as entertaining as it is in David
Priess's hands. He barnstorms through more than two centuries of American
history, showing all the ways-from impeachment to death-that presidents have
either left office prematurely or just barely avoided doing so. Dramatic and
instructive, his narrative has clear resonance for the present day as calls
grow for President Trump's impeachment.—Max
Boot, Washington Post columnist and author of The Corrosion of Conservatism

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The temptation to impeach a president can run high in a polarized
political environment but is fraught with peril as David Priess meticulously
demonstrates in this timely book that romps through American history to answer
all the questions about removing an unfit president by non-electoral means that
you were afraid to ask.—Amanda
Carpenter, CNN contributor and author of Gaslighting

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With the objective eye of a former intelligence officer and an uncanny
instinct for deep truths, David Priess paints a genuinely non-partisan portrait
of presidential removals. The stories here are eerily relevant to today's
headlines, but also disarmingly fun to read.—Michael
Hayden, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and author of The Assault on Intelligence

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Legal scholars, political scientists, and pundits have dissected various
means of undermining and removing leaders, ranging from voting them out of
office to impeaching them. Now, with How To Get Rid of a President, David
Priess finally racks and stacks all of the methods, fair and foul, in an
entertaining and approachable sweep of history.—Benjamin
Wittes, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and
editor in chief of the Lawfare blog

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Meet David Priess

  • Arlington, VA

    Schar School of Public Policy