When Donald Trump was given an opportunity to lay his conspiracy theories aside and accept the American electoral system as the legitimate, peaceful transfer of power it has been since the founding he doubled down. Given historical precedent, Trump was right.
Asked if he would commit to accepting the outcome if he is not the winner on November 8, Trump hedged, saying he’d keep us in suspense. In his view, he cannot commit to an outcome that has not been determined yet. When he explained that he would decide after the election whether he would accept the results, there was a collective national gasp from both sides of the aisle. Hillary said the notion of questioning the legitimacy of our electoral process was “horrifying.”
The talking heads and social media went nuts in almost universal condemnation seemingly unaware that the Democrat party and its standard bearer alleged vote fraud turned the election to George W. Bush in 2000. Not only did they question the outcome, they refused to accept certification, resulting in a number of confusing recounts and ultimately, the Supreme Court was appealed to in order to stop the madness. Bush won, but the Left made “selected, not elected” a catchphrase that was still being pushed into the 2012 contest. Short memory? Probably not. Opportunistic exploitation of a clumsy gaffe? Definitely.
Was Al Gore right to drag America through an agonizing two months of uncertainty over who our next president would be? If his campaign and the army of lawyers they retained believed election irregularities unfairly influenced the outcome, they did what was right — and in their own interests. Was Nixon right to accept Kennedy’s victory in spite of massive vote fraud at the time? Given his concern over the impact of challenging the election, he also did the right thing. Nixon played the statesman. Al Gore played the victim. If Trump loses in a close election where it has already been demonstrated that the opposition is recruiting people to vote serially on behalf of the dead, and where the current administration is “rushing” citizenship applications in hopes of getting a million new Democrat voters, he might have a case for contesting the outcome.
Being justified may not mean Trump’s course of action will be right; Nobody would compare The Donald to JFK as some kind of profile in courage. However, Trump is right to withhold a commitment to accepting an outcome when the circumstances cannot be known. Hopefully, when the time comes, Trump will play the statesman and not the victim. This election has brought us to such a low point that the best course of action on November 9 will be to move on and to rebuild.