The foundation of democratic trust is crumbling

120729_voting_booth_ap_605-1The primary condition necessary for a people to govern itself is the willingness to lose.

As long as you are willing to allow control of your government to be decided through free and fair elections, as long as you are willing to live by the result even if those opposing you may win, then democracy can survive. But that’s more fragile than we might want to believe.

It requires trust that the constitutional system and its institutions are strong enough to protect you and your rights even when you are on the losing end. It requires trust that what you have in common with your fellow citizens outweighs your differences. And unfortunately, trust of both types is wearing thin in these United States of America. Politics has taken on an air of desperation, as if the price of losing has become a price too dangerous to pay.

Look, I believe that Donald Trump is a bad man who will prove a very bad president, and that many who have supported him will one day cringe in shame at having done so. That said, some of the reactions I have witnessed on the left go well beyond a critique of that sort, with words such as “treason” and “Hitler” being bandied about. Those are nuclear terms, terms that imply the need for responses outside the bounds of the electoral and political system, and thus should never be used cavalierly.

Yes, socialist candidate Jill Stein demanded recounts in some states, anti-Trump protests popped up in some cities and some liberals launched an effort through social media and other means to convince members of the Electoral College to honor the outcome of the popular vote by voting against Trump. However, none of that was backed by the Clinton campaign or the Democratic establishment.

In fact, I have no doubt whatsoever that the reaction would be worse — much worse — if the roles were reversed. Imagine if Trump had been the one who overcame blatant foreign intervention and who won the popular vote by 2.8 million votes, yet had still lost the presidency? The man would have lost his ever-loving mind, and the protests from the right would have made those of the left seem mild.

Remember, Trump whined for weeks prior to the election that the outcome was being rigged, thus poisoning the minds of his followers against acceptance of potential defeat. Even now, in victory, he claims that the only reason that he lost the popular vote is because because millions of illegal immigrants were allowed to cast ballots. In effect, he remains unwilling to acknowledge the legitimacy of his popular-vote loss even though it is merely symbolic.

In North Carolina, where the GOP governor narrowly lost a re-election battle, things have really gotten weird. Republicans hurriedly called the Legislature into special session to strip the governor’s office of power before turning it over to the Democratic victor, the political equivalent of a retreating army burning down the capital city rather than letting it fall to the enemy.

Republican reaction to Russian intervention into our presidential election is even more troubling. As President Obama noted, those Americans who buy Russia’s denial of involvement despite unanimous confirmation by the U.S. intelligence community are making a choice. They “genuinely think that the professionals in the CIA, the FBI, our entire intelligence infrastructure — many of whom, by the way, served in previous administrations and who are Republicans — are less trustworthy than the Russians.”

As noted earlier, polls also demonstrate a growing Republican appreciation for Vladimir Putin, a fact explainable only by the maxim that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  Just as many Republicans who would otherwise despise Trump have instead embraced him as a means to defeat their most hated enemy, the Democrats, they are also embracing Putin, a murderous dictator.

That’s how much they have come to fear losing.

Reader Comments 0

11748 comments
JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

When will Democrats do something about Donna Brazil's and Hillary's cheating leading up the election?

Donna is still the acting DNC head.

And nothing on the airwaves about her and Hillary cheating when Brazil gave Hillary the debate questions in advance of the debate.

All the Dems can talk about is how Russia influenced the election, but say nothing of Hillary and Brazil.

Corrupt to the core.

Stinks on ice. 

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

got your deflection shields up huh lol

Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

@JohnnyReb Good grief.  Do you really think that revealing questions ahead of a debate is the equivalent of congressperson's illegal use of campaign funds?  Seriously???

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@BuckeyeGa  Yep - because Brazile giving a life-long friend a couple of questions is exactly the same as Trump's conflicts of interest.

YouLibs
YouLibs

Are y'all sitting down?


Sheets.

Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

So the Republicans are doing away with even the appearance of having ethics.  Showing their true colors, they are.

td1234
td1234

@Here's_to_Blue Exactly how are they doing away with the ethics committee in the house? What is the problem with making people actually put a name on a complaint? What is the problem of putting a bunch of government employees under the control of elected officials? 

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@td1234 @Here's_to_Blue  What is the problem with an ethics committee reporting to the people they are supposed to be investigating?

td1234
td1234

@PaulinNH We the people elected our representatives to ensure ethics within their ranks. We did not elect representatives to give that authority away to a bunk of government bureaucrats with no accountability to the elected representatives. Why do you want un-elected bureaucrats to have any authority over the people you elected to office? 


Now, if you want to talk about transparency and how the ethics committee process should be totally open to the public then I will bet will could come very close to an agreement. 

td1234
td1234

@KUTGF Anonymous complaints that are investigated and no oversight by elected officials. 

td1234
td1234

@Here's_to_Blue You and I are the guards of the hen house. If you do not like what your Representative is doing then run against him/her or get someone to run against them in the primary or general election. 

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

The focus of the various oversight committees for the next few years contrasted with their focus for the last 8 will show their true colors.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I guess the recess appointment isn't going to happen; news surely would've leaked by now. 

Oh well, I wrote, I asked nicely, I got others to do so as well.


Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Smart move is to leave him where he is. He sits on a powerful court, is relatively young, and has a lifetime appointment. Better for Obama to fix for a different fight.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Eye wonder

No no no no no.

(btw, he woudn't have to recess appoint his original candidate, he could appoint anyone.)

No, Obama needed something game-changing and disruptive and very very upsetting to the opposition, and this was his ace up his sleeve.

And he didn't have the balls to do it, which, yeah, pisses me off and is pretty much his MO. Continuing with the measured, incremental moves. Time for that crap is over.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@Visual_Cortex @Eye wonder 

No, Obama needed something game-changing and disruptive and very very upsetting to the opposition, and this was his ace up his sleeve.

-

Yes, but all of that presupposes that Obama really does represent an 'opposition'. 

Where are you getting that idea?

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Visual_Cortex @Eye wonder So apparently you were for Obama trying to make a SCOTUS appointment in the few seconds between the old congress ending and the new beginning.

And you think if he tries it would have withstood a court challenge?

What a p u t z !

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Yesterday Philo revealed something about himself that should be useful if I should wish to seriously needle and annoy him going forward. 

Just wondering, should I use this power for good or for evil?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Definitely evil. I've always said that Rs are evil, and Ds spineless. Time for 'evil,' then.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@PaulinNH

Eliminating any semblance of checks-and-balances on bad behavior. The GOP's big on that.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

The House committee could force the office to stop an investigation at any time, and the office would be prevented from accepting and investigating anonymous tips

Peachs
Peachs

@DoubleNaughtSpy what do you envision will happens this month?  If Obama got Trump into a war with Russia before leaving, it would be a gift to Trump.  Trump needs a distraction, bad!


What I see is a weak president who will be dominated by the GOP congress, and glad they are wiling to do the work. He will be blaming them for his handicaps by month end..

Peachs
Peachs

Trump's focus needs to be on domestic, he made a lot of promises, and those people are keeping score. 


The Democrats need to start using the state rights the Republicans craved out for them.  They have gotten drugs legalized on the state right paved road, now they need to be as independent of this weak president as they can be. 

Peachs
Peachs

The very first thing the Republican Congress wants to do is curtail the ethics commissioner's powers in Congress.  As Trump would say, isn't there bigger issues on the agenda?