The headline on the October 20 edition of the Washington Post blared, "Trump won't vow to honor results," referring to the election that the Post devoutly hopes will go to his opponent, the corrupt and criminal Hillary Clinton. The Post's exaggerated headline is only symptomatic of the hyperventilating on both sides of the aisle over Trump's refusal to commit to personally accepting a negative election result. The fact is, Trump's position is both quite logical and constitutionally inconsequential.
Most obviously, Trump believes, with some good reason, that the election process as a whole is "rigged" against him (and by extension any Republican candidate). In light of Trump's having stated that position, and supported it at least in part, it actually is rather absurd to expect him to have answered Chris Wallace's question during the debate other than how he did. Would it have been better for Trump to have said something like "Well, sure, Chris – even though I believe that Hillary belongs in jail, the Democrats are engaged in voting fraud, and the mainstream media has abandoned any hint of objectivity in order to see an utterly corrupt candidate elected, I'll accept the results of the election, no matter how egregious, unethical, immoral, unfair and criminal they may be"? That would have been an illogical statement.
Politically, perhaps, it would have been advisable – a debatable point, given Trump's appeal as someone who tells it like it is – for Trump to have simply said, "Yes, I'll accept the result." That he did not was not only rational, but ethical.
Trump is not delusional, though the Democrats and the mainstream media do all they can to make it seem that way. Trump says the election is "rigged," and that is a not unreasonable position. It cannot by any objective standard be conclusively refuted.
What does "rigged" mean? Does it mean active voter fraud operations? Yes. Those are relatively rare, but they do occur, and there is proof that voter fraud is occurring right now. The scale is unknown, but to say as the left is wont to do that Trump's allegations are myth is absolutely mendacious.
But rigged in common terms also means much more. If the reporters and editors of the mass media, who tout themselves as objective journalists, in fact are in the tank for Hillary Clinton and use their power overwhelmingly to help the Democrat and hurt the Republican, isn't this also fairly described as rigging an election? When they call voter fraud a myth, when it is not (its scope and frequency reasonably disputable but not its existence), is that not attempting to rig an election?
If the controlled media of an autocratic state promotes only the favored candidate in a sham election, these very same "journalists" would have no trouble identifying it as rigging. When they do the same thing, not only out of ideological conviction in support of the government, but also for the perks and opportunities that the revolving door of government offers, they are not in any meaningful way different. So why is that not rigging an election?
Similarly, in a corrupt autocratic nation where the leaders milk the country dry for their own benefit but keep themselves out of jail though fraudulent peddling, again, these same journalists would have no problem labeling that as rigging. How are Hillary's machinations and the FBI's and Justice Department's refusal to prosecute clear criminal activity (that anyone else would have been long ago indicted for, if not already jailed) at all different?
Arguably the greatest moment in American political history occurred on March 4, 1797, when George Washington stepped down as president of the United States and, pursuant to the Constitution, handed power over to his elected successor, John Adams. Plenty of skeptics here and abroad could not conceive that such a thing would actually happen, that a man with immense prestige and power would voluntarily give it up on the basis of following some novel laws based on newly fashioned republican principles. But he did, and so, really, in that moment was the American republic if not figuratively born, then slapped and given its first real breath. We will not face a similar situation on November 8.
Nonetheless, the idea now bruited across the chattering classes, from the Democrat side and not a few Republicans, is that Trump's debate statement was an affront to our constitutional system. Hillary Clinton shrilly called it "horrifying" and "talking down our democracy." This would be laughable if its basic silliness were not automatically accepted by a large portion of a nothing electorate that actually listens to such drivel.
Who cares whether Trump accepts the results or not? What's he going to do? Call out the 82nd Airborne to seize Washington and arrest Obama and Hillary? Unlike George Washington or any sitting president, he has no position in government, no real or apparent legal authority, or any of the coercive power of the state. He is a private citizen and will still be one on November 8 if he loses. He can say what he likes.
Will he call out his minions to riot in the streets like the Democrats of Ferguson or Baltimore? Will President Obama and Elect Hillary give Trump's angry supporters some room to riot like the Democrat mayor of Baltimore? They won't have to, because riots are not going to happen.
But Trump's hard supporters, and many other Americans who like the man much less, will be justifiably incensed by the fact that regardless of whether the Democrats engage in active meaningful vote fraud, a sitting president, in contravention of everything George Washington stood for, ignored the law and the Constitution to secure his own designated successor despite her blatant corruption and criminality. He did this by abusing his executive power to absolve Hillary of criminal wrongdoing through the misuse and dishonest exploitation of the Justice Department and the FBI. The truly horrifying talking down of democracy was James Comey's July 5 statement that established a double standard of justice in this country – one for Hillary Clinton, President Obama's chosen successor, and another for everyone else.
If that is not rigging an election, I don't know what is. And there is no reason for Trump or any other citizen to "accept" a result in November that puts Obama's corrupt and criminal successor in power.