Donald Trump’s claim that he will accept the legitimacy of the vote if he wins but not if he loses is not something you expect to hear in the United States. As President Obama’s Executive Order of May 6, 2016 explained, “The peaceful transition of power has long been a hallmark of American democracy.”
Losers don’t get to throw tantrums. They don’t get to claim an election is valid only if they win.
Only would-be dictators talk that way. And his supporters, of course. Trump surrogate Kayleigh McEnany went on CNN to claim that Trump’s vow is no big deal, that,
“I think he’s setting up a scenario where he wants supporters to be vigilant. He doesn’t want a scenario where there’s New Black Panthers outside with guns, essentially like intimidating people from coming into the polls. He wants people to be on the lookout.”
Like when he told his supporters that elections are rigged and that they need to visit polling places other than their own (where they have no legitimate reason to be) to “observe” and make sure African-American voters don’t steal the election by exercising their constitutional right to vote.
One way or another, Donald Trump is determined to subvert American democracy. The claim made by McEnany that Trump is just being vigilant and that he wants his followers to be vigilant rings as false as Trump’s claim to respect women.
Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:
DON LEMON: If you thought he was going to win, wouldn’t he be saying, like, “Hey, this election is great, and we’re going to the polls, and make sure you vote?” He’s setting up the scenario that he’s losing.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY: No, I think —
LEMON: Otherwise he wouldn’t be saying it’s a rigged process, because if he wins —
VAN JONES: It’s rigged so he can win?
MCENANY: I think —
JONES: It’s rigged for him to win?
MCENANY: I think he’s setting up a scenario where he wants supporters to be vigilant. He doesn’t want a scenario where there’s New Black Panthers outside with guns, essentially like intimidating people from coming into the polls. He wants people to be on the lookout.
PETER BEINART: I think you just let — I think you just let us in on what’s really going on here, right? This is a guy who, you know, prosecuted a racist campaign against — to delegitimize our first African-American president, and now for the last few months he’s been talking again and again about voter fraud.
Where does this all of this voter fraud take place? Amazingly, only in urban areas populated by you know who, so he’s going to delegitimize Hillary Clinton’s victory because she won based on black voters. Only black people, like Black Panther Party people commit voter fraud?
The Republican Party has spent decades trying to delegitimize liberalism (think about the anti-Communist witch-hunts in the 1950s where conservatives saw no effective difference between communists and liberals) and they have never recognized the legitimacy of the Obama presidency.
The Second Amendment crowd, already riled up by the GOP’s (and Fox News’) propaganda, loves to talk about “Second Amendment remedies” and “voting from the rooftops.” Remember when Michele Bachmann said she wanted her supporters “armed and dangerous”?
Never mind that mostly these clowns are armed and dangerous to themselves and that they’re more likely to be shot by their own kids (and each other) than by the government or by terrorists.
That isn’t democracy. That’s terrorism.
Donald Trump is not only trying to subvert the democratic process, but to provoke violence on Election Day, or after, depending on the results of the election.
His rhetoric and the actions of his followers could end the American experiment. Trump doesn’t care. This isn’t about America for him. This is about Donald Trump winning.
At any cost. Hillary Clinton said Trump is trying to bully his way into the White House. But it’s worse than that.
Trump said when he declared his candidacy,
“Sadly, the American dream is dead. But I if I get elected president, I will bring it back, bigger and better than ever.”
And if he doesn’t win, as becomes increasingly likely? No American dream for anyone. Ever.