One tenet of Donald Trump’s campaign has been a strong insistence that if he were to lose it would have to be due to the system being rigged against him. He made those charges during the primary race and has continued the same in the general campaign. He has claimed, for example, that he can’t lose Pennsylvania unless the vote is rigged. Doesn’t matter that the polls show him with a 8% deficit to Clinton in PA.
There is an inherent danger in his making these statements. As demonstrated many times a large part of Trump’s followers have a tendency to be zealous and at times aggressive. They obviously don’t seem too interested in truth, facts, details, and reason. In many of their eyes Trump is an almost cult like leader. Put this all together and you don’t have a stable brew.
In America we have a long tradition of peaceful transition between governments. The loser calls and congratulates the winner. The president leaving power welcomes the president assuming power. And all the while, the American democratic system of government flows with but a few ripples.
Sometimes maybe it shouldn’t. For example, when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency to a Supreme Court decision in 2000, Gore could have mustered his troops and stormed the Bastille. Gore didn’t do that, however. He extended his hand to George Bush and went on to found a life for himself outside politics.
A peaceful transition between governments is a hallmark of American political tradition. It doesn’t happen in many parts of the world and that is why so many places never seem to enjoy long periods of political stability. For most of our history, America and Americans have felt more in common than in difference. Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Flat Earther, we mostly seem to be willing to place the nation’s stability before loyalty to a political party or an ideology.
I have to wonder if such will be the case this time. There is a division in today’s America that may put winning ahead of a stable future. Who may be willing to accept conspiracy before admitting to truth. These are dangerous times and win or lose our immediate future could greatly depend on Trump and his hard-core followers willingness to accept defeat graciously, or to accept victory without malice towards the defeated.