There’s Nothing Funny About Trump’s Refusal to Commit To A Peaceful Transfer of Power
Republicans often tell people not to take Trump seriously.
“He was being sarcastic”
“He doesn’t mean what he says”
“That’s just Trump being Trump”
It’s the only way they can continue to justify supporting their candidate.
Because if the things he’s said were not jokes, we would have a president who is calling for their political rivals to be locked up, a president who is attempting to meddle with COVID testing because it might make him look bad, a president who suggested putting a deadly trap along the border (a moat with dangerous animals), and a president who is not willing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
Basically, we would have an aspiring dictator in the White House.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Why So Serious?
Republicans blame the media for amplifying Trump’s “sarcastic jokes” and accuse democrats of knowing Trump isn’t an aspiring dictator, but exaggerating his comments anyways to scare away his potential supporters.
Trump has said he will leave the white house peacefully if Biden wins.¹ Which is what he should be saying. But there are a couple of problems: First, this doesn’t mean Trump won’t try to manipulate the system in his favor. If the election is decided by electors that Trump appoints, he will have technically “won” the presidency even though the outcome does not reflect the will of the American people² Second, he is inconsistent. In one interview he’ll say “I will leave peacefully” in another he’ll say “we have to see.”
This is not a difficult question. It’s a question no president should have a difficult time with. The correct answer is the same every time: Yes I will leave peacefully if my opponent wins.
In the debate, Trump was asked:
Will you urge your supporters to stay calm during this extended period, not to engage in any civil unrest? And will you pledge tonight that you will not declare victory until the election has been independently certified?
I’m urging my supporters to go in to the polls and watch very carefully, because that’s what has to happen. I am urging them to do it. As you know, today there was a big problem. In Philadelphia, they went in to watch. They’re called poll watchers, a very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out. They weren’t allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia. Bad things. And I am urging my people. I hope it’s going to be a fair election. If it’s a fair election-… I am 100% on board. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that. And I’ll tell you why-… from a common sense-I’ll tell you what it means-It means you have a fraudulent election. You’re sending out 80 million ballots. They’re not equipped… These people aren’t equipped to handle it, number one. Number two, they cheat. They cheat. Hey, they found ballots in a wastepaper basket three days ago, and they all had the name military ballots. There were military. They all had the name Trump on them. You think that’s good?
piecing together his dizzy scrabble, Trump said he would urge his supporters not to engage in civil unrest if Trump thought the election was fair. But he said two sentences later that he thought the election would not be fair because “these people aren’t equipped to handle it” and “they cheat.” So, according to Trump’s own thought process, he won’t agree to tell his supporters not to engage in civil unrest during the period of time between election day and when all the votes are tabulated.
Some Republicans called out Chris Wallace for asking a question he knew Trump wouldn’t be willing to answer. But Chris Wallace seemed quite taken aback by Trump’s failure to answer such an easy question.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Whether Trump will be as bad as his word and refuse to leave peacefully or try to elect his own electors to circumvent the democratic process, who knows. Honestly, who the hell knows anything with this guy.
Based on what he’s said and done so far a power grab doesn’t seem outside of the realm of possibility. Trump is 74 years old, in massive debt, and loves power and attention. He has literally nothing to lose.
Whether he does or does not try to steal the election, this sort of rhetoric isn’t just toxic, it’s outright dangerous.
Maybe Trump won’t turn the United States into a dictatorship, but as long as this sort of rhetoric is tolerated, it’s only a matter of time before somebody else does.