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Essay: Trump’s Big Mistake

October 21, 2016
Plain English Version
Photo credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Photo credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

It was the 2000 election for president. Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush were on the ballot. The election results were very close. It came down to results from the state of Florida. The results were too close to call.

Advocates for both sides counted and recounted the ballots for five weeks. It was a tense moment in American election history. No one knew who would be president. The candidates sought decisions from state courts. Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case. The winner of the election was George W. Bush.

That was the decision of the court. The losing candidate, Al Gore said, “… for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy; I offer my concession.” He went on to say that the election was resolved “… through the honored institutions of our democracy.”

It is now the election of 2016. At the debate, the moderator asked Donald Trump if he would accept the results of the election. He said he might… or he might not.

Would he contest the election in the courts? Would he urge his followers to take some action? He would not say.

Almost six million votes were cast in the Florida election in 2000. George W. Bush won by 537 votes. If this 2016 election is anywhere near as close, there will be a lot of counting and recounting. What if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the election in a clear way? And there is no dispute over the numbers? What will be Donald Trump’s response?

This week Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, talked about the vote. He said, “We will absolutely accept the result of the election.” After the debate, he said, “If the vote is fair, I am confident that we will accept it.”

Who will decide if the election was fair or rigged? Donald Trump said about the result, “I will look at it at the time. I will keep you in suspense.”

Yesterday Trump said, “I will accept the results of the election if I win.”

America stands for the peaceful transfer of power. It is one of the great hallmarks of the American way. Donald Trump has said it might not apply to him.

An odd thought is that maybe Mr. Trump is just trying to keep the story all about him.

Election Day is November 8, 2016. It is the privilege of Americans to vote. Everyone should do so.

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