Donald Trump vs. American Democracy
I’m just stunned.
In a race that has been full of shocking moments, one at Wednesday’s presidential debate stands out as the most shocking: Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the outcome of the election.
And that’s saying something, because there were other shocking moments during the debate, like when Trump called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” or when he said he would deport “bad hombres” or suggested that late-term abortion included instances where doctors would “rip the baby out of the womb of the mother” and do so “as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth.”
But nothing even came close to this exchange between the moderator, Chris Wallace, and Trump:
Wallace: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely — sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?
Trump: I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now, I’ll look at it at the time.
Trump went on in his response to complain about the media, saying: “They’ve poisoned the minds of the voters.” Then he complained about outdated voter registration rosters, then he pivoted to his belief that Clinton shouldn’t have been allowed to run. To him, all these things contributed to the election being “rigged.”
Wallace came back with a short history lesson:
But, sir, there is a tradition in this country — in fact, one of the prides of this country — is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?
What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. O.K.?
Clinton called the remark “horrifying,” and she was right. This is jaw-dropping, unprecedented and thoroughly irresponsible. This is an attack on our democracy itself.
And Trump has been peddling his “rigged” election theory for weeks, stating flatly this week that “Voter fraud is all too common, and then they criticize us for saying that.” Trump continued: “But take a look at Philadelphia, what’s been going on, take a look at Chicago, take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at some of these cities, where you see things happening that are horrendous.”
It should be noted that these are all heavily Democratic, majority-minority cities, and Republicans don’t fare well in places like that.
Indeed, as Philly.com reported last November, Mitt Romney didn’t get a single vote in 59 of Philadelphia’s 1,687 voting divisions. As the paper put it: “These are the kind of numbers that send Republicans into paroxysms of voter-fraud angst, but such results may not be so startling after all.” The paper pointed out that “Chicago and Atlanta each had precincts that registered no votes for Republican Senator John McCain in 2008.”
事实上，就像Philly.com去年11月报道的，在费城1687个选区中的59个里，米特·罗姆尼(Mitt Romney)连一张选票也没有拿到。就像这份报纸所写的：“正是这类数字让民主党陷入选民欺诈的担忧，但这样的结果可能并没有那么让人意外。”这份报纸指出，“2008年，芝加哥和亚特兰大都有选区出现过没人投票给共和党参议员约翰·麦凯恩(John McCain)的情况。”
As for the inclusion of St. Louis, it’s not clear to me that Trump isn’t confusing St. Louis with St. Lucie County, Fla., which was included in a viral email about voter fraud after the 2012 election. That email included this line: “In St. Lucie County, Fla., there were 175,574 registered eligible voters, but 247,713 votes were cast.”
But FactCheck.org looked into that claim and found it to be “bogus,” writing:
It’s simply not true that there were tens of thousands more votes cast than voters available in St. Lucie County. Whoever first started this falsehood misread a St. Lucie election board document showing that 249,095 “cards” were cast, and registered voters totaled 175,554. But the supervisor of elections website explains that a “card” is one page, and the full “ballot” contained two pages. Total cards are not double the number of voters, as not every voter cast both pages (or “cards”).
But Trump, of birther fame, is not the kind of man who shies away from conspiracy theories; he embraces them.
He needs a reason that he’s losing other than the fact that he is arguably the least qualified, most ridiculous candidate to ever run for president as a major party nominee. He needs a reason other than the fact that he is being done in by his own words and actions. He needs a reason so that his self-inflated self-image as a relentless winner is not undone should he lose this election by embarrassing margins.
But to take that need for a diversion and distraction and turn it toward questioning the integrity of the electoral process itself and leaving open the possibility of not conceding should he lose is beyond the pale.
When Donald Trump gave that answer, he proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is completely unqualified to be president.