Charlie Pierce on Not Respecting the Election

Charlie PierceThe “takeaway,” as we say in the pundit game, was what Donald Trump said, or didn’t say, about “respecting” the results of the election. Good lord, people were fighting for space on the fainting couch all day on Thursday, too, and likely will be for the foreseeable future. Can we stop with the civics class pieties, please? Yes, what Donald Trump said on Wednesday night about keeping us all “in suspense” as to whether he’ll “accept” the results of the presidential election was a great soundbite and an easy way to emphasize further the fact that the Republican Party has nominated a petulant child for president. But enough with the shocked faces from the pundits who drape themselves in imaginary togas and weep on cue for this assault on the fragile American democracy. This is nothing new…

It has been an article of faith for the entire Republican Party for a quarter-century now that any elected Democratic president is prima facie illegitimate. Trump is just putting a layer of narcissistic varnish on the bucket containing all the historical deplorables. Further, the history of the country is replete with efforts, some of them violent, by politicians to avoid “respecting” the results of elections… We had a civil war because 13 states didn’t “respect the election” of Abraham Lincoln. And that fact is not mitigated in the least by the nice words spoken by Stephen A Douglas in the aftermath, when he declined to respond to losing by joining the Army of Northern Virginia. That’s a fairy tale.

Donald Trump is just being a little cruder about things than many of our television historians would like. Democracy is not a bedtime story, but the monsters within it are very, very real.

—Charlie Pierce
Why Are You Surprised Trump Won’t Respect the Results of the Election?

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