Trump and Bevin: Insulting American Democracy

The following excepts are from Daily Beast writer John Avlon. He says that in the final presidential debate, Donald Trump disgraced himself and our democracy by refusing to say if he’d accept the election results. Avlon calls him “a demagogue with a dictatorial streak.”

Avlon writes the following:

The most troubling rumble from Trump’s flailing final weeks has been his suggestions that maybe he wouldn’t accept defeat. He teased this riff repeatedly to crowds only to have it be denied by his designated straight man, Mike Pence. But Trump went full wingnut with his comments in the third debate, refusing to say whether he would accept the results of the election if—as the polls show is likely—he loses on Nov. 8.

The most generous explanation is that Donald Trump just doesn’t have the psychological capacity to admit defeat. The prospect of being defined in the history books as a loser—possibly on an epic scale—is too much to bear. And so the only face-saving play is to say that the whole system is rigged against him. This is the ultimate expression of the conservative-as-victim card.

I know this is hard for Trump to compute, but some things matter more than himself. The real damage comes when his anti-democracy defiance is heard as validation by extremists looking for an excuse to make the culture wars even more real.

 

bevinbloodshedpicOne month ago Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin referenced Timothy McVeigh’s favorite Jefferson quote—“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”—before talking about how America could survive a President Hillary Clinton only if the blood of patriots were shed as well. “Whose blood will be shed?” he asked in a speech. “It might be that of our children and grandchildren. I have nine children. And it breaks my heart to think that it might be their blood that is needed to redeem something, to reclaim something that we, through our apathy and indifference, have given away.”

Got that? The governor of one of our 50 states was actively musing about civil war and the bloodshed it could cause in his family if Hillary Clinton is elected president. Spin that any way you want—and Bevin tried to say that he had been talking about a foreign war—but the audience at the Values Voter Summit heard him loud and clear. Losing an election is akin to living under tyranny, and it will be up to patriots to take down tyrants to make America great again.

The point is that none of this happens in a vacuum. Calls for massive resistance to democratic processes and legal decisions have been a repeated riff in conservative populist circles for decades.

 

Read the full story here.

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