“Rigged Election” Rhetoric is an Affront to American Democracy

trump_angryJust when we think the presidential campaign can’t get any uglier, Donald Trump begins undermining the integrity of the American electoral system. Make no mistake, his claim that the election is rigged and suggestion that he may not recognize the result are an affront to our Constitution. Since George Washington, we’ve always had a peaceful transfer of power. It’s been a tradition that the outgoing president writes a letter to the incoming one. Read the letter George H. W. Bush wrote to Bill Clinton on Bill’s inauguration day (below). Bush wrote: “You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well.” This is what grace in defeat looks like. When the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount in 2000, Al Gore gracefully stepped aside and conceded the race to George W. Bush, even though there were deeply troubling irregularities in the Florida ballots. Trump has a history of claiming the system is rigged or unfair when he loses. Hillary Clinton was spot-on at last night’s debate:

Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him. The FBI conducted a year-long investigation into my emails. They concluded there was no case. He said the FBI was rigged. He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering. He claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row. And he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him. This is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks. And it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling.
Bush-Clinton Letter

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