Note: For those who believe my posts about the election aren't investment-related, I suggest you ponder the investment environment under a Trump Administration.
Donald Trump is a threat even if he loses
As I’ve written before, I strongly believe that Donald J. Trump is unfit to be president and that his election would be threat to our constitutional system of representative democracy. However, Mr. Trump may be a danger to our democratic system even if he loses the election. His comments about the electoral process have fanned the doubts among his supporters, and his conduct is threatening to undermine the legitimacy of the next president and our democratic system.
Sadly this is not Mr. Trump’s first attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the presidency. For many years, even after there was incontrovertible evidence, Mr. Trump continued to claim that President Obama was constitutionally unqualified for the presidency because he was not a natural-born citizen. Mr. Trump may be the first candidate in the history of US elections to undermine the result and the constitutional system of transferring executive power. Even in the closest and toughest of elections, the losing candidates have upheld the process and transition of power.
The elections of 1960 and 2000 were extremely close and controversial, but the losers in those elections – Richard M. Nixon and Albert A. Gore – made clear that they supported the result and the American constitutional system. Here’s Richard Nixon’s brief concession on November 9, 1960:
As I look at the board here, while there are still some results still to come in, if the present trend continues, Mr. Kennedy, Senator Kennedy, will be the next president of the United States. I want, I want Senator Kennedy to know, and I want all of you to know, that certainly if this trend does continue, and he does become our next president, that he will have my wholehearted support and yours too. (emphasis added)
Within hours of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on December 13, 2000 to halt the recount in Florida, Al Gore said:
Almost a century and a half ago, Senator Stephen Douglas told Abraham Lincoln, who had just defeated him for the presidency, "Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I'm with you, Mr. President, and God bless you." Well, in that same spirit, I say to President-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this country. Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road. Certainly neither of us wanted it to happen. Yet it came, and now it has ended, resolved, as it must be resolved, through the honored institutions of our democracy. (emphasis added)
While we do not know the outcome of this year’s election, Donald Trump has continually questioned the electoral process. After assuring Americans during the first presidential debate that “if she [Hillary Clinton] wins, I will absolutely support her”, Mr. Trump has started questioning the electoral process again.
This past Friday, Mr. Trump said that voter fraud is “a big, big problem in this country” but “nobody has the guts to talk about it.” And in the New York Times, Mr. Trump said that he is reconsidering his debate response: “We’re going to have to see. We’re going to have to see what happens. We’re going to have to see.”
According to a recently released Associated Press - NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, half of Trump supporters do not trust the electoral process and think fraud is a pervasive problem. Mr. Trump is fueling these doubts even though there is no evidence of systemic or pervasive fraud in our electoral system. Donald Trump is sowing the seeds of doubt that will undermine our democracy even if he loses.