On the one hand, Donald Trump isn’t saying anything he didn’t say in 2016—I’ll respect the results if I win, and so on. On the other, though, there is one thing that’s very different: He’s president now. He wasn’t then. And when a sitting president refuses to commit to the peaceful transfer of power, that’s a flag that’s as red as red gets (and he gets a kick out of it, as the Beast reported). But this column isn’t aimed at Trump. It’s aimed at everyone else, especially this country’s elites, from politics to the business world to the military and beyond. Because it’s time now to ask the people at the top of this society: How much evidence do you need? What will it take for you to say “enough”?
Trump just vowed to try to end our democracy. Because that’s what not accepting a peaceful transfer of power is. It’s never happened (Andrew Johnson did not attend U.S. Grant’s inauguration, I think the only incumbent to refuse to show; but he did vacate the White House on time and of his own volition). If Trump loses and refuses to go, I guess someone, the Secret Service, will eventually drag him out. But there will be violence across the country. It could lead to a form of civil war. Maybe not with men in uniforms like the last one, but… well, with men not in uniforms, which when you think about it may be worse.
It’s 19-effing-32, America. By which I mean, there’s a certain country out there that had an election in the fall of 1932 that was its last for some time. Though I don’t expect Trump would build death camps, he would clearly like to make himself ruler for life and govern with broad emergency powers. Is this not frightening enough?