Sympathy for the Devil

The “big takeaway” from last night’s third (and, thank God, final) Presidential debate of 2016 was, of course, Donald “the Donald” Trump’s refusal to agree in advance to abide by the results of the election (presuming, of course, that, please God, he loses); indeed, the Grey Lady’s take on it is Mr. Trump has contempt for democracy.
I will just say this: show me the part of the Constitution that obliges Mr. Trump to “personally accept” the results of an election– indeed, any election (one of the bases for his popularity among a certain set, for example, is his steadfast refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the 2012 election, because, of course, Barack Obama is a Black man). That said, just because he has unlimited contempt for women, and the likely 2016 election winner will be Hillary Clinton,,, where in the Constitution is he required to acknowledge that he lost, concede, say a nice word, recognize that the “people have spoken”, or anything like that? I’ll tell you where: the same place that requires him to release his tax returns, or that requires him to use traditional code words to “wink wink” over the unfortunate racist/white nationalist/xenophobic/sexist/atavistic streak in an apparently large portion of the electorate, whose imagination Mr. Trump has captured, or that requires him to have the most rudimentary conception of how our constitutional system works (such as his irritating insistence that a single junior senator in the minority party can single-handedly enact major and controversial legislation.) In short– he is allowed to do these things.
And if the voters– as reflected in a majority of electoral votes, anyway– back him– he’s the President. Yes, yes, I get the fact that potentially mobilizing millions of angry and presumably heavily armed people to deny the legitimacy of an American election would be “bad” (and, honestly, Trump’s calls for racist thugs to act as “poll watchers” does bother me, though it is not likely to deter me from taking my law degree and my body down to swing state Pennsylvania on Election Day (as it did in ’06 and ’08) to poll watch for the flawed but serviceable Hillary Clinton.)
Alrightie then. The Establishment has a series of assumptions as to how presidential candidates behave with no particular basis in any written law, or for that matter, in anything other than what can be construed as the secret handshakes of the elites themselves. Yes, we were hoping that as a matter of societal consensus, the civil rights era had locked in certain assumptions and had put at least many aspects of overt bigotry in the rear view mirror… but apparently, they haven’t.
Don’t get me wrong: Trump– a man who has not an ounce of anything redeemable in him– calls Hillary Clinton the devil. She is not: she is problematic, duplicitous, indecisive, evasive… but she is nonetheless a knowledgeable, competent politician,,, and most critically, she does not fancy herself a fascist banana republic dictator, who will likely use the awesome power of the American presidency to play out personal vendettas– which Trump has not only indicated he will do in his campaign, but it is how he has lived his entire seventy years.
If anything, his campaign– at a gestalt level– has been refreshingly honest. He’s not hiding how he’d govern. He’d rubber-stamp the most backward, atavistic legislation republican majorities would place in front of him, and he’d play out his personal grudges and vendettas. And, certainly, racial minorities, be they Muslims or Mexicans, or really, anyone not White (and presumably not male)… can expect to be on the receiving end of his vindictiveness.
That said… while it is “a tradition” that the loser– even, a sore loser as in Trump’s case– “accept” the results of an election… there is no such requirement. Nonetheless, it is at least an aspiration– one that hopefully, enough of the electorate will recognize to place Mr. Trump’s political aspirations, and eventually the man himself, in the dustbin of history, and maybe we can start to heal some of the open sores he has exposed in our social matrix.