How would ancient Rome have dealt with Donald Trump?


Rome frequently exercised its democratic right to impeach public officials, even after they left office. Those convicted of bad behavior were exiled from the country.

Rome also had public officials known as censors, one of whose functions was to manage the census rolls of citizens.

When any citizen, including the president of Rome (the “consul”) was convicted of a crime or came under civil action like defamation, bankruptcy or military dishonor, the censor would enter a mark of “infamy” (Latin: “nota censoria”) into the record by his name. This was a severe dent in his social reputation that attended him wherever he went. It was a later version of the Biblical “mark of Cain” and an earlier version of our own sexual offender registry today.

When found to be “infamous,” public officials would lose the privilege of officeholding and would also lose their “place” as members of the senate or the equestrian order.

Rome acted quickly and decisively when there was misbehavior by those in positions of public trust. That’s why Rome’s democracy lasted 500 years and ours is leaking away after only 250.