Someone asked me recently why I end many of these columns with a statement warning that our democratic system is under attack and encouraging people to vote Democratic to preserve it.
What difference will voting really make anyway, some say, when leaders of our new political party, the GOT (Grand Old Trumpers) tell us that elections are only fair if their side wins. If they lose, it can only be due to voter fraud and a “stolen election.”
In 2016 Donald Trump refused to say he would accept the results of the election if he lost. In 2020 he did lose both the popular and electoral college vote but denied the results of that election, and tried to reverse them. He failed in the courts and then tried to overthrow the 2020 election by promoting the January 6, 2021 invasion of the U.S. Capitol during the electoral vote count.
Now that Trump is the presumptive GOT nominee for President in 2024, his loyal followers must subscribe to his belief that the only fair election is one that he wins. Recently, Elise Stefanik, the third most powerful GOT leader in the House of Representatives, echoed Trump’s concern about election fraud, something that can only be avoided by a Trump victory in 2024.
So how should we respond to this anti-democratic talk? Should we accept such indifference to voting results as just “campaign rhetoric” to appeal to Trump’s base and not meant to be taken seriously? During the current campaign, Trump will make a few statements that will support this “only election rhetoric” argument. It will be just another lie. History speaks louder than today’s words.
It is important to ask why so many of our fellow citizens are willing to abandon such a basic principle of democracy as honoring election results? Surely it is not only Democrats who worry Trump will not willingly leave office should he be elected to a second term as President.
Trump wants to move power from the legislative to the executive branch. January 6 shows how seriously he put his own egotistical need for power ahead of any concern for Constitutional restrictions on the counting of electoral college votes. Can we expect him to honor the twenty-second amendment that says “no person shall be elected to the office of President more than twice?”
Questions for the groups supporting Trump
Several groups of people support Trump. Some like his profane rhetoric of violence and retribution. They are emotionally and magically attached to the MAGA leader because he “is like me.”
There are also some good, less angry folks who sweep aside Trump’s lies, his business history of cheating employees, his crude language, or even his desire to be a dictator. They say “he was good for the country” but when asked for examples, resort to MAGA sound bites.
Then there are also Christian nationalists (not to be confused with the peace and love Christians) who see Trump as the protector of their judgmental version of Christianity. They want a country ruled by God, as they define God: a theocracy.
Finally, a group of wanna-be oligarchs seek power and wealth that only a dictator can give them.
To each of these groups, I ask: What will you do if or when your leader doesn’t live up to your expectations after he is elected? What will you do if Trump decides to abandons you?
To those who follow Trump due to religious zeal, what you will do if your non-religious and “unchurched” President Trump decides against imposing your moral standards on the rest of the population?
To those supporting Trump for whatever reason, can you be sure the ever-fickle Donald will continue to care about you and your values? He has turned on people who displeased him even in minor ways. He always puts himself first, expecting loyalty from all but not returning it.
These are questions you need to consider before voting for Trump. If your answers are clouded by uncertainty, you should vote against Trump. Once he is elected, do you really think he will leave office calmly after four years? If he does not, how will you replace a dictator?
My answer to these questions shows that how you vote matters a great deal. Don’t vote for a potential dictator, even one you think you like.