Both sides in the presidential election are trading charges on how votes should be counted and how the election could possibly be stolen. And worse, both sides have suggested that, if the election is seemingly lost, the result will not be accepted, which could lead to urban warfare.
For example, Democrat Hillary Clinton says Democrat Joe Biden shouldn’t accept an unfavorable outcome no matter what. President Trump, repeatedly asked if he would accept an election loss, has hinted he may not.
These kinds of comments are alarming millions of Americans. They make some of us wonder if, in a close election, civil war could break out as partisans feel a victory has been stolen from them.
What Should Be Done
Both the Biden and Trump campaigns should specify that each will accept a loss. That’s provided that they have had the chance to challenge a disputed outcome in the courts. If a candidate suspects there has been vote fraud—and recently we have several instances of vote fraud in local elections due to the unusually high percentage of mail in votes—the candidate has the absolute right to challenge an election outcome in the courts. And, indeed in the 2000 presidential election, the issue ultimately had to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
There have been several stolen elections in American history. They have happened big cities like in New York and Chicago. They happened in the rural areas, like the Hill Country in Southern Texas. They have happened and no one should doubt that they could happen again. Many cities and states have election commissions that have been criticized as inadequate because they are often staffed by political appointees, whose thought is usually not to be fair to both sides.
So no one should be required to be “a good loser” if fraud is suspected. However, both Biden and Trump should agree that, if he loses and if fraud hasn’t been proven, that he will accept the outcome and will let the country move on. But there is something else that they could both do right now to ensure that there is less of a chance for fraud to happen.
Protect Mail in Voting
Mail in voting, owing to the Coronavirus, will take place in greater numbers than ever before. But how long will it go on? Will votes be coming in weeks or months after the election on November 3? Will Americans have to wait weeks or months before they know who won? How will the country be governed when there is doubt over who will be the next president or even when the result will be known?
Part of the problem is the issue of voter certification is controlled by the states, which sometimes don’t have uniform rules. One state says one thing. Another says something else. But the rule of law requires that there should be clear rules that impartially cover everyone.
Both Biden and Trump should jointly agree on how the votes should be counted. I would say that no mail in ballot should be counted with a postmark of later than October 31. I also think it is reasonable to expect that no vote should be counted after November 7, four days after the voting at the polls. Both sides should agree on at least these minimum voting standards.
Can they? Lo dudo.
Check Your Ego at the Door
Nevertheless, it would help tremendously if both Biden and Trump showed some genuine interest in the country. It would help if they would demonstrate that the good of the nation outweighs their political desires and those of their political flunkies. Of the latter, they have sugarplums of various appointments dancing in their heads, should their candidate win.
And that means they and their partisans should emphasize that, while they expect a clean election, that each will accept the election outcome. That’s provided votes have been correctly counted; that a clean election has taken place.
Will that happen?
At this point that seems questionable. So it is up to Biden and Trump to put the country’s interests before any of their own interests. That’s asking a lot. But it should not be asking the impossible. However, the problem is that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Even more than sex, it can make the average person crazy with desire. He or she can stop at almost anything to win the prize.
Your Actions Matter Today and Years from Now
But there’s something else for both Biden and Trump to consider. And that is a person’s place in history. Did he or she help the cause of the country; did he or she promote world peace? Did he or she help maintain the institutions that promote liberty and stability in a society? Did he or she promote and protect the rule of law?
For the winner of the November elections, there will be many questions that he will have to face. And even if he clearly wins, there will be actions he will have to take if the rule of law, now under attack in the United States, is to be ensured or, in some cases, re-established in some now Wild West cities. In the latter rioting is seemingly taking place every night, with federal courthouses under attack and children shot in the streets.
What steps are they? We will address that in the last installment of this series.
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