Wednesday, Donald Trump— during the 2016 presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, at the Thomas & Mack Center of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas— challenged, not a count or recount, but the very legitimacy of the Presidential election before it is to occur.
There is no equivalence — historically, politically, or morally— between the two events.
The election of 1800 was the fourth-ever American presidential election but the first-ever truly contested one —between John Adams of the Federalist party and Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican party. The Federalists wielded the executive power and, yet, they lost the election and accepted their loss —decided in the House of Representatives. And the world marveled at the peaceful transfer of power in this young American democracy. And so it has been since. Until yesterday.
Never before in 240 years of American history—not even in 1860, the election of Abraham Lincoln which helped spark the Civil War— has a major Presidential candidate refused to accept the legitimacy of an election outcome. With this, Mr. Trump has challenged the very bedrock of American democracy; he has veered close to sedition; he has disqualified himself from being President, let alone running for the office.
This blog —Yours For Good Fermentables— is a blog about beer (and wine and spirits). Only rarely have I used this venue to politically editorialize. Today, as a patriotic American, I am compelled.
Being vigilant is one thing. As is disagreeing or agreeing with a political position. Those are healthy for democracy. Government exists by the consent of the governed.
But a presidential candidate refusing to recognize the legitimacy of democracy itself? That's an entirely other thing. Donald Trump, with this heinous and reckless act, has disgraced the nation; he has threatened our constitutional survival.
Yours For Good Fermentables
20 October 2016.