Monday, August 22, 2016

Eli Stokols: What If Trump Won't Accept Defeat?

   One thing I disagree with in here is the claim that no candidate or party has ever questioned the legitimacy of the outcome of a national election. I'd say that's exactly what the GOP was doing in 2000. The Democrats' central argument was: We should count every vote and cheerfully abide by the outcome because such an attitude is central to the very idea of American democracy. The Republicans' central argument was: Give us the Presidency. Now.
   The GOP made it very clear that there were not going to give up, and that they did not give a rat's ass who had actually won, nor who had the most reasonable case. They got their supporters fired, up, they put together astroturf riots, they intimidate ballot-counters, they intimated that worse violence might be in the offing. Turns out they mostly won anyway...but what's really telling is what they were gearing up to do before that became clear. After Florida 2000, the GOP should not be considered a serious party with an actual commitment to democracy. And yet here we are...
   At any rate: it's basically happened before.
   I've dismissed worries about Trump "refusing to accept defeat" (as if he's going to have a choice...) up until now. But I started reflecting on Florida 2000 this morning, and now I'm all agitated and concerned. Not that I think they can do anything about the outcome...but because I think they can yet again weak our political institutions by casting doubt on them. In the past they've been perfectly willing to undermine American democracy and the faith and good will that sustains it in order to achieve narrow political goals. That's what Rush Limbaugh's career is built on. They'll be willing to do it again this time. They're tantrum could be epic...but it won't be contentless; it'll aim to convince people that our democracy is rotten.
   And that's the heart and soul of irrationality: giving up on the general because it doesn't yield a result you like in the particular. In this case: we won't get the (maniacal, idiot) president we want...so fuck the whole institution of American democracy. This is one way you know you're dealing with extremist lunatics: they refuse to be bound by universalization principles. They want to think what they want and do what they want in each particular case...and consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds... Any attempt to bring order to the chaos of their thoughts is just another sign that You Don't Get It.
   Well, now I'm all pissed off about something that hasn't happened and may not do so.

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