Illegitimate voting system or whiny candidate?


Maddie Boone, Contributing Writer

While Donald Trump has changed the course of American politics in many ways, he is now attempting to erode citizens’ faith in the political process. He recently stated at a political rally that he will accept the election results only if he is victorious. Never before has America seen a candidate speak so blatantly in opposition of the voting system itself, rather than their opposing candidate. Trump’s statements following the third debate represent his attempt to shift the public eye away from his scandals and worsening poll counts and direct it toward a critique of the government, based on illegitimate false claims.

This behavior would seem far more typical coming from leaders of powerful authoritarian states, but is certainly unprecedented in stable democracies like our own. Contesting election results threatens not only democracy, but also the rule of law, inciting people to refute government authority.

In Trump’s first speech following the debate, he reiterated that he will only support the election decision if he wins, but that if not, he will contest it. Additionally, he referenced and compared his remarks to the vote recount in Florida that took place during the 2000 election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. However, unlike the 2000 election, Trump is saying now, weeks in advance, that if the outcome is not in his favor, this election will have been “rigged” against him; this is an argument that lacks any hard evidence and fundamentally subverts the heart of the American democratic system.

Trump’s conception of a “rigged” political election is based upon his belief that the media inappropriately and unfairly favors former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. The real irony is that Trump himself has used the media for years to establish his fame. However, when the media does not appear to be boosting his image, he decides that its information is inaccurate and biased. While it is no secret that media is biased, one cannot decide to call into question the legitimacy of the voting system based on whether they are receiving media preference.

In response to Trump, countless articles have been published in the past week referencing just how foolproof the election system is, and let me tell you: it is not so easily rigged. While our government could be more transparent at times, Trump has unnecessarily incited anger and fear on no legitimate ground. Yes, the media is more liberal, and yes, Trump has been picked on.

However, so has Clinton. She has received criticism every step of the way in this election, spending her entire adult life in politics and doing so as a woman in a male-dominated political sphere. Instead of blaming media condemnation and poor ratings on a “rigged” election, perhaps Trump should consider how it is his offensive comments and mannerisms that are in fact the reason the media, as well as many voters, choose not to support him.

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