I’d hope every voting age American (and those on the cusp) would listen to this telephonic coup attempt by President Trump. If it were not certified accurate by the Washington Post, I’d suspect a fake. Can any U.S. president be that blunt about overturning a valid election to keep himself in power?
The elections of 1876, 1888, 1960 and 2000 were among the most contentious in American history. In each case, the losing candidate and party dealt with the disputed results differently but constitutionally.
In 1876, Republicans nominated Ohio Gov. Rutherford B. Hayes, and Democrats chose New York Gov. Samuel Tilden. Tilden seemed to win. But due to widespread allegations of intimidation and fraud, the election boards invalidated enough votes to give Hayes a 185-184 majority in the Electoral College. Republicans, in return for getting Hayes in the White House, agreed to an end to Reconstruction and military occupation of the South. Hayes had an ineffective, one-term presidency.
In 1888, Democratic President Grover Cleveland of New York ran for reelection against former Indiana U.S. Sen. Benjamin Harrison. In a recognized vote-buying scandal, Cleveland won the national popular vote by almost 100,000 votes. But he lost his home state, New York, by about 1 percent, putting Harrison over the top in the Electoral College. Cleveland did not contest the Electoral College outcome and won a rematch against Harrison four years later.
Then we come to the 1960 election pitting Republican Vice President Richard Nixon against Democratic U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy. The popular vote was the closest of the 20th century, with Kennedy defeating Nixon by only about 100,000 votes. Many Republicans cried foul. While Republican-leaning newspapers proceeded to investigate and conclude that voter fraud had occurred, Nixon did not contest the results. He ran for president again in 1968 and won.
In 2000’s election, the national media discovered that a “butterfly ballot,” a punch card ballot with a design that violated Florida state law, had confused thousands of voters in Palm Beach County. Many who had thought they were voting for Democrat Al Gore unknowingly voted for another candidate or voted for two candidates. Gore ended up losing the state to George W. Bush by 537 votes – and, in losing Florida, lost the election.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had set a deadline of that date for states to choose electors, so there was no more time to count votes. Bush was the beneficiary. Gore conceded the next day.
Donald Trump is not conceding. He’s saying “we won big.” He says as evidence “look at my rallies, 25,000, 30,000 people. My opponent — about 100. They’re already waiting in line for me for my Georgia rally Monday” [Jan 4].
If Trump were the president or chairman in Venezuela, North Korea, Bolivia or the Ivory Coast, he’d just declare himself the winner, the military would back him, and that’s that. It’s what the citizens of many countries have come to expect and accept.
But here? Every living former Secretary of Defense has signed a letter saying Joe Biden is the winner and the election is over.
Donald, it’s over brah! Get thee gone!