What happens when Americans lose faith in the ballot box?

minuteman630x354

(AP)

In a new Quinnipiac poll released this week, voters were asked what ought to be a totally innocuous question:

“If your candidate loses in November, would you think that the outcome was legitimate or would you think that the election was rigged?”

Most Clinton supporters — 78 percent — said they would accept her defeat as legitimate. They wouldn’t like it, of course, but they would accept it as the verdict of the people. Only 11 percent said they would reject her defeat as rigged.

However, a plurality of Trump supporters –some 46 percent — say they would consider a Hillary Clinton victory to be illegitimate, the result of a rigged process. Just 43 percent said they would accept it as legitimate. Those numbers suggest a profound and dangerous disenchantment with our current constitutional system among a substantial part of our population.

That worries me. It worries me more than the prospect of a Trump presidency, and that says a lot. Because what those voters are questioning is not Clinton’s legitimacy, but the legitimacy of any system that produces an outcome they don’t like. For all their talk of constitutional government, they have lost faith in that Constitution and in democracy.

You see that same sentiment percolating up in a lot of different ways. You see it in birtherism, the concept that Barack Obama was never a legitimate president because he was somehow born overseas. The theory had no basis in fact, and was dispelled by overwhelming documentary evidence. Even if Obama had been born overseas to his American mother, he still would be every bit a natural-born citizen as Sen. Ted Cruz is.

But birtherism offers an outlet, an excuse, for those who refuse to grant Obama the status of a legitimately elected president. It offers them a means to reject the results of two consecutive presidentail elections. To this day, polls say that more than 70 percent of GOP voters still question Obama’s citizenship.

You saw that same sentiment at work last weekend in insurrectionary statements by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. He warned an audience of evangelicals at the Values Voter Summit that if Clinton wins this election, the threat to freedom would grow so dire that Thomas Jefferson’s famous “tree of liberty” might have to be refreshed with the blood of tyrants and patriots.

And you hear it in the growing mutters in conservative media about preparing articles of impeachment against Clinton, so that if she’s elected they can immediately begin to undo the voters’ decision. Writing in National Review, one of the “reasonable” conservative political organs and a champion of the #NeverTrump movement, Andrew McCarthy even urges congressional Republicans to impeach Clinton now, today, even though she holds no office.

“The proceeding against Clinton would not be a presidential impeachment,” McCarthy writes, “it would be an impeachment based on her abuses of power as secretary of state, which would have the constitutional effect of disqualifying her for the presidency.”

Note the common thread: Claims of rigged elections, birtherism, mutterings of insurrection and pre-emptive impeachment are all at root a rejection of governance through the ballot box, by people who have lost faith that the ballot box can get them what they want. That’s a dangerous thing.

Reader Comments 0

1119 comments
charles28
charles28

Four legs good; two legs bad.  Lock her up.  The chants of pigs resonate.  


Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Russians ready to release Biden's e-mails this should make the DNC shudder and Hillary cringe 

Impeachment in this situation would result in her removal from office. Which office. She's neither Sec of State nor President.

YouLibs
YouLibs

Hello?


Did the rapture happen? I thought at least td would be left behind.

YouLibs
YouLibs

These responsibility abdicating da's are going to rue their decision not to hold hearings on Garland.

ccrider27
ccrider27

What happens? Simple.

We go back to how we used to do it. Paper ballots.

Can't be hacked.

Computers are great, but they don't solve every problem.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@ccrider27

Cast your vote, kill a tree?

I don't think progressives would like that either.

leomoore
leomoore

@ccrider27 But they can be stuffed into ballot boxes.  That's how elections use to be rigged.

6043
6043

In the article by Jay Bookman "Loosing faith in the ballot box" I believe that no matter the outcome there are those who absolutely will not believe the result as being honest.  If things do not turn out as they want it must be crooked.  No matter how much truth you throw at these people they will not believe any differently.  What has happened in our country is we all have been given so much "Mis-Information" that we now suspect everything to be somehow "Fixed".  We have allowed politicians to make statements over and over again that they know to be false only to make people believe it is true.  "If you say it enough time it become true". 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@rimsky “He’s got a 12,000-page tax return that would create … financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would detract from [his father’s] main message,”...

Like nationalization experts. Military experts. Law experts. IT experts. Truth experts.


Do they whine when they get their way?

rimsky
rimsky

 September 15th, 2016

Dr. Oz: Donald Trump is healthy enough to be president, per test summary               Hey Oz  how much did Trump pay you to say that.

rimsky
rimsky

 Donald Trump Jr. defended remarks about the media "warming up the gas chamber" on Thursday, clarifying to NBC News that he was referring to capital punishment and not the gas chambers used by Nazis to murder Jews.....

The remark drew sharp criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, which advocates against hate speech.

"We hope you understand the sensitivity and hurt of making Holocaust jokes," the organization tweeted at Trump from its official account. "We hope you retract."

Money cannot cure stupidity Eric Trump.

rimsky
rimsky

Speaking of Syrian humanatarian crisis do we have any refugees from Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria crossing over the border in to Russia.  Just wondering.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky

Did you know that Russia is the second-largest immigration haven?

Until recently, I didn't.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky @FIGMO2

Yes! Not refugees though.

Southern Russia is home to Chechen muslims.

Germany's been complaining because radical Chechens are making their way into Germany. Some have even traveled to the ME in support of ISIS.

Why do you ask?

jimslemenda
jimslemenda

No one questions a requirement for basic voter ID.  The laws that are being questioned are those requiring unusual IDs and/or procedures for initial voter registration that many, especially poor, voters cannot easily provide.  Also, false voter registration is an almost totally non-existent problem anywhere in the US.   Laws created to fix non-existent problems are obviously put in place to satisfy hidden agendas, to use a phrase often put forth by those who have created these new laws.

hnbc
hnbc

The GOP loves to find solutions for problems that don't exist.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@hnbc They find solutions? I thought they either did nothing (Congress) or throw gas on the dumpster fire (Trump) !

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

The Secretary of State negotiates a cease fire agreement with his Russian counterpart in Syria, but members of his own government are out there openly trying to poison the deal and cut the ground out from under him. Their own Secretary of State! 

That in itself is evidence of the crisis described above : the blatant undermining of basic democratic principles by those charged with upholding them, in this case the principle of civilian leadership of the military.

The basic principles of democratic rule are rotting. Can you blame the people for checking out?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

WELL...Trump's testosterone level is mid-range.

Bummer.

schnirt 

rimsky
rimsky

@FIGMO2 Who cares.  Really figmo.  I vote on candidate's policies  not their testosterone or estrogen levels.

LoisatCanton
LoisatCanton

Americans may lose faith in the ballot box . A big factor you did not mention is the current administrations push to stop voter ID requirements. Almost anything you do in America requires a ID. The administration does not want this because it keeps them honest.

rimsky
rimsky

@LoisatCanton It is just the opposite.  It is the strict voter ID law that is pissing a lot of people off.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@LoisatCanton 

Lois, there is no evidence of voter fraud, except perhaps with absentee ballots. 

These restrictions do not stop any fraud, but DO keep eligible people from voting.

hnbc
hnbc

Many places that require id's have a much broader list than what is allowed as acceptable for voting. And if I'd is required for everything, why are there no I'd requirements for absentee voting. It's simplistic to say everything requires I'd.

youngfarm
youngfarm

@rimsky @LoisatCanton What can be considered so strict as asking for a government issued photo I'D? Those not having same, may vote provisionally. That's an easy, safe, simple solution. IMHO

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

(CNN)Russia's Defense Ministry said Thursday the United States was not fulfilling its obligations under the Syrian ceasefire agreement as Moscow and Washington pointed fingers at each other for violating what had appeared to be a peaceful lull in fighting.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/15/middleeast/syria-ceasefire/

Well that didn't take long. 48 hours give or take? 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@FIGMO2 

When significant sections of your own government are out there publicly badmouthing it, that tends to undercut trust.

elgrunir
elgrunir

A'ight, folks, I'm out for now.  Maybe later. 

elgrunir
elgrunir

REDNECK NICK GETTIN’ SOCIAL

In episode number one-forty-eight

Redneck Nick scores himself a fine date

Social skills in arrears

He goes back 60 years

And hits on Bewitched ‘s Louise Tate

elgrunir
elgrunir

Anyone know how many episodes of "Redneck Nick" limericks have aired?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@elgrunir 

Turn your gaydar on. This is a picture of the guy who set fire to the mosque in Florida.

http://tinyurl.com/gwef5be

When I read that Mateen (gay nightclub shooter) had attended that mosque, I wondered if the arsonist might be gay.

Anyhoo, the guy is Jewish and believes that all Islam is radical according to the article and his Facebooger posts.

Gay? I suppose a person could be gay, Jewish, and an islamaphobe rolled into one.

elgrunir
elgrunir

@FIGMO2 @elgrunir  Hmmm... I'm saying he is.  Quite some years ago, I spent some time in Saudi Arabia... if you wanted your gaydar to go off the charts, you went to the Al-Rashid mall in Dhahran on Friday nights.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@elgrunir @FIGMO2

I'll take your word for it. His eyebrows are meticulously plucked but short on the inside corner.

Could've gotten carried away with his

uni-brow.

elgrunir
elgrunir

@FIGMO2 @elgrunir  I hadn't focused on that feature, but you make a good point.  It also speaks to his meticulous, yet effeminate approach to his look.  Yep, I'm buying it even more.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@elgrunir @FIGMO2

Of course you didn't. It's a woman thing. I wonder if he knew someone at the club.

So now I'm asking myself which identity took priority in provoking his arson.

I'm a wonderer, a ponderer, and a wanderer.