A Wake-Up Call

Trump giving a speech on the campaign trail.

A recent poll from respected pollster Angus Reid shows that 46% of Democrats won’t accept the 2024 election results if Joe Biden doesn’t win – and 7% will doubt the results no matter the victor.

The problem for American democracy is not whether the Republicans or Democrats are in power; Rather it is that neither’s core constituency is willing to allow a peaceful transfer of power to the other. While many leading politicians remain committed to a peaceful transfer for now, the pressure from the base to retain control of the government is slowly trickling up. If this continues, events such as Jan. 6 may become the norm rather than the exception.

The peaceful transfer of power is an all-important tradition of what makes America, America. If we are truly a nation defined by principles, as we say — as opposed to a nation defined by race, religion, or language — then the driving principle that defines us is the peaceful transfer of power that started back in 1797 with George Washington’s retirement.

There must be at least two parties that can responsibly wield power: that way when one party makes a mistake and becomes unpopular, there’s another party there to take its place. If there aren’t two parties that can govern, then we will undoubtedly fall into a one-party system. Even if that one party proclaims “democracy” to be its guiding value, if it offers no choice to transition between multiple parties, then that claim is empty. A one-party state led by a “Democratic” or “Republican” party is really an autocracy with a nice name slapped on top.

Before proclaiming that you want your party to win every election for the next 50 years, consider whether you actually value democracy. Such a nation is not a democracy.

Ever since 2000’s Bush v. Gore, Americans have been taught to distrust the election results. Each side feels justified in its rejection of the election results. (I have repeatedly noted that the true 2000 results are unknowable and that the election was thus not “stolen” from Gore, contrary to what many of my readers have been falsely taught.) One side believes that the election is structurally rigged against them, that election officials seek to disenfranchise their voters, and that the other side wins only because of the support of wealthy elites: and the other side is the Republicans.

As long as election results aren’t accepted, we cannot have a peaceful transfer of power. Without the peaceful transfer of power, we do not have a democracy. For as long as we do not value democracy, we cannot claim to still be guided by our founding principles as a nation.

Americans need to ask themselves: do you still want to respect the peaceful transfer of power?

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