When Donald Trump lost the presidency, he left behind a treasure map for future American tyrants that shows them precisely how to undermine – and potentially destroy – American democracy. By constantly and shamelessly flouting anticorruption norms and laws, the former president exposed just how weak the United States’ system of checks and balances is and its desperate need for reform. And evading any accountability for now, he has proved that presidents can go so far as to foment an insurrection without facing any legal consequences.

The American presidency has, in turn, become a ticking time bomb, waiting for a future tyrant to abuse its power in order to succeed where Trump failed. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Just as Jimmy Carter signed anticorruption reforms into law after Richard Nixon’s crooked presidency, President Biden must swiftly establish new laws that strengthen accountability for himself and his successors.

This editorial was first published in the Boston Globe.