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Reprinted from otherwords.org
Trump's insidious rhetoric on the election won't stop Biden from taking office, but it's not harmless either.
By Mitchell Zimmerman | November 12, 2020
Donald Trump's refusal to accept the judgment of the American people might just seem like denial. But in denying the legitimacy of over 77 million votes against him, Trump and leading Republican politicians are implementing a design more sinister than poor sportsmanship.
Trump and his party have declared war on the fundamental principle of American constitutional democracy: When an incumbent loses an election, they leave office. A peaceful transfer of power follows.
Republicans know full well that Biden won. Republican as well as Democratic election officials from across the country confirm there's no evidence of voter fraud. The election was not stolen.
Nonetheless, Trump and Republican politicians are scheming to persuade tens of millions of Republican faithful that our elections cannot be relied on and that Joe Biden is an illegitimate president.
In doing so, they are undermining the bedrock of American democracy: trust in peaceful elections in a constitutional order. And they demonstrate their animosity to electoral democracy itself.
Trump himself made his views all too clear before the election, when he repeatedly refused to agree he would accept it if he lost. His excuse was that mail-in votes were going to perpetrate a massive fraud. Consistent with that fabrication, he now asserts he won the election.
Voting by mail is allowed under the law of every state in the union, and citizens have voted that way for decades without fraud or other issues. In all their lawsuits, Republicans have presented zero evidence of even remotely significant fraud.
Trump's insidious rhetoric on the election won't stop Biden from taking office, but it's not harmless. For if the election was "stolen," the hate groups Trump asked to "stand by" could well take it as a signal to move against the new government and its supporters.
Of course, this is not the first time Trump and the GOP have disputed the legitimacy of a Democratic president. When Barack Obama became the first Black president, Trump built his political career trumpeting baseless claims that Obama was born abroad and wasn't a U.S. citizen.
And it's not the first time they've fomented violence either.
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