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If you don't know, now you know: What the term "lame duck" actually means

You may have overheard the term thrown around but have little to no idea what it represents. Luckily, we're here to break it down for you.

If you don't know, now you know: What the term "lame duck" actually means
yellow rubber duck on red textile
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

After the election, there was a brief moment when I believed Donald Trump would not concede. Upon discovering Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris were the projected winners of the 2020 election, joy should've been my initial reaction. And it was, but it was also followed by a sense of uncertainty.

However, when Trump eventually gave up his baseless accusations of voter fraud, allowing the Biden Administration to move forward with the transition phase, my anxiety subsided. Now that Trump is considered a "lame duck" president, the term has many scratching their heads. Primarily because they have no idea what it means.

You may have overheard the term thrown around but have little to no idea what it represents. Luckily, we're here to break it down for you.

The term "lame duck" refers to a politician whose term is about to end and be replaced by a newly elected official. Although the politician still remains in office, this transitional period is often viewed as less notable because power begins to shift towards the newly-elected official.

Regardless, politicians still use this time to make final, hasty decisions before leaving office. For example, last week Trump pardoned longtime friend and former national security advisor Michael Flynn from foreign lobbying crimes he admitted to in 2017. Trump's pardon would absolve Flynn from "any possible future perjury or contempt charge in connection with General Flynn's sworn statements and any other possible future charge that this Court or the court-appointed amicus has suggested might somehow keep this criminal case alive over the government's objection," the Justice Department wrote.

There have even been talks of Trump pardoning himself. However, legal experts have continuously explained presidents cannot pardon themselves. We'll just have to see what Trump comes up with during his final moments in office. Should make for entertaining television if it weren't utterly scary.

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