CW: Trump’s comments about sexually assaulting women are mentioned below.
According to an article published to CNN Money on Oct. 17, Donald Trump, the GOP’s nominee for President of the United States, pledged to “stop” the media, presumably because he’s tired of the industry being mean to him. At Wednesday’s debate, he refused to say whether or not he would accept the election results, and the next day he said he would accept them—if he were to win, according to an article published to CNN on Oct. 20. This kind of rhetoric goes beyond the realm of acceptability. It represents a threat to the American system of democracy, whether he means to or not.
Before I go forward, let me make it perfectly clear that I am and have been a supporter of Hillary Clinton since she declared she would run for president. Doubting that it is possible, I nevertheless ask you to throw away your political orientation for the remainder of this article and look at what I have to say as objectively as possible.
The last presidential debate of the 2016 election season epitomized the entire cycle. Trump continued his at-times-deranged barrage while Clinton remained composed and presidential. The former’s rhetoric, unhinged as always, has always been dangerous. He’s previously threatened to have his opponent thrown in jail and makes outlandish claims about the media rigging the election.
Those critical of the media are not wrong when they say that the industry is biased. All of the major outlets are biased in one way or another, but the pile-on that Trump is complaining about is solely the result of his own brashness and tendency to say inflammatory things. If Clinton said that she would jail her opponent if she were to win, the media would capitalize on that. If she said that she would stop the media from saying mean things, the media would capitalize on that. If she were to deny the legitimacy of the American democratic system, the media would capitalize on that.
But Clinton didn’t say these things. Trump did. Hillary didn’t brag about sexually assaulting women. Trump did. The media is piling on Trump because a number of women have come forward saying that he did to them similar things to what he said on tape.
Clinton has said nothing and done nothing to draw the ire of the media in such a fashion. We’ve never had a candidate like Trump in American history. Even when something arises that implicates Clinton, the most recent development on Donald’s end trumps it.
So no, Donald, the media is not rigging the election against you. You’re just continuously shooting yourself in the foot on the national stage.
To continue to claim that the election is already fixed in favor of his opponent underscores not only Trump’s inability to comprehend losing, but also his indifference to how our election system actually works. He didn’t help his cause by saying that he would accept the results of the election if and only if he were to win. If he loses, what happens then?
Personally, I believe when push comes to shove he will accept the results regardless of what happens, because in the end he’s really just looking to make headlines. I don’t think that he believes much of what he says, especially that concerning the legitimacy of this election. Saying things that run contrary to American democratic values on live television? That draws headlines. My problem is not with what says he will or will not do on election day, because he’s only one person. My problem is with his rhetoric and the people who rabidly follow it.
It is hard to find someone so taken by the Trump presidential brand at Brandeis who would not accept the results of this election, but I fear that those he has empowered—white supremacists, the alt-right, disenchanted GOP voters and the like—will take his words to heart and wholeheartedly reject the election results should Hillary Rodham Clinton become the 45th President of the United States of America. To have one man undermining the system is insignificant; to also have a bloc of the electorate that voted for that man doing it is what makes all this scary.
It is almost impossible to consider the consequences of people rejecting the results of the election, because this just does not happen in the United States. It’s a dangerous line of thought that I should not have the need to explore, but Trump, his rhetoric and his supporters have made it a possibility.
The rhetoric, bad enough as it is now, will pass if he loses, in my opinion. There may be a portion of the electorate that will reject the results, but as Trump (hopefully) fades into obscurity, so will that feeling. If he is elected President, though, that rhetoric won’t stop. He won’t stop going after the media because the media won’t stop going after him. We all know how he behaves. He whines when he doesn’t get what he wants. That will be characteristic of his presidency, which will continue to empower a part of the electorate that is loyal to him and his ideas, not to their country proper.
We cannot allow that to happen. We cannot allow this man to become President.
With all he’s said and done, with all he’s pledged to do and with all of the indifference for the American electoral system taken into account, I ask you this, out of basic human decency and respect for the way we conduct our American democracy, how can you justify electing Donald Trump as President of the United States?