John W. Eyster: Principle of integrity of US Elections
Very disappointed by the undermining of our American democracy by Republican candidate for U.S. President, Donald Trump, repeated again last night during the Presidential Debate. I've read, studied, watched the 2016 Presidential Campaign with amazement and disappointment in both candidates. I've avoided posting on my WE THE PEOPLE opinion column due to my own confusion as to what's really been going on.
The refusal of a candidate of a major American political party to accept the PRINCIPLE of accepting the outcome of our election is OFF THE CHARTS and VERY OFFENSIVE! Donald Trump has, in my opinion, undermined his own election and, in reality, that of many Republican candidates with his refusal to accept our American political system, including elections.
I majored in Political Science & International Relations in the School of International Service and then majored in Christian Social Ethics and the American Political System at Wesley Theological Seminary, both on the campus of The American University, Washington, D.C. through most of the 1960's. Subsequently, I taught Political Science both at Parker High School, Janesville with my WASHINGTON SEMINAR (1971 – 2000). I moved into the University of Wisconsin system, including the Advanced Placement Seminar for Teachers of AP US Government & Politics in the Summer Institute at UW-Madison through the rest of my active career (2000 – 2014). I'm now teaching online sections of Viterbo University's seminar. I have studied and been engaged in our American political system for just over 56 years.
There have been very interesting Presidential campaigns over these decades. There have been controversial Presidential campaigns over these decades. NEVER has there been a campaign in which a candidate for U.S. President did NOT provide WE THE PEOPLE of the U.S. with assurance that s/he would accept the outcome of our election system until NOW. I think we need to remind ourselves of the VERY SIGNIFICANT CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS in the 2000 Presidential Election when the George W. Bush v. Al Gore case in our U.S. Supreme Court led to the election of George W. Bush by our Electoral College. While I do not think the U.S. Supreme Court had the authority to intervene in the FL election process, I must remind us that Al Gore accepted the U.S. Supreme Court's decision so that we did NOT have a MAJOR CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS! Furthermore, it is a fact that Al Gore had the POPULAR VOTE. It was the FL electoral votes which elected George W. Bush. THAT'S OUR U.S. CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM!
While consistently asserting loyalty to our U.S. CONSTITUTION, Republicans are now represented by Donald Trump as their Presidential Candidate who has not only asserted his unwillingness to accept a key principle of our U.S. CONSTITUTION with the Presidential election, but, to my mind, has clearly articulated ignorance of our U.S. Constitution. In my opinion, Donald Trump could NOT pass an Advanced Placement U.S. Government & Politics class. In fact, he could not pass a regular U.S. Government & Politics class. If you don't agree with me, review his statements which articulate ignorance of our U.S. Constitution. I suggest “Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide.”
While I've been concerned about the attitudes and behaviors of both Presidential candidates this year, I am MOST concerned about the claims by Donald Trump that our U.S. Presidential election is and will be RIGGED. Experts of every political stance testify with definitive evidence that it is impossible to RIGG a U.S. Presidential election at-large. Some minor voting irregularities can happen, but they are extremely few and far between. There are journalists who join the experts denying possibility of rigging a U.S. Presidential election at-large. Some journalists blame the Republican Party for the challenge of Trump since they've used the claim that U.S. elections can be rigged to shutdown voter participation. This includes, to my mind, the WI voter ID law which the Republican controlled legislature with Governor Walker put into place.
Finally, even politicians throughout the country are denying the possibility of rigging a U.S. Presidential election at-large. In fact, IF rigging is a real threat, every candidate for every office, including all 435 members of our House of Representatives and all 34 U.S. Senators to be elected this year (NOTE: 24 are Republicans, 10 are Democrats), should be echoing Trumps claim of a rigged election with announcements that they may not accept the outcome of their respective elections. I have not found one single House or Senate candidate who agrees with Trump on rigged election? Have you? If so, please ID with citation of source. I'm much interested to know.
I read with enthusiastic agreement the Washington Post's editorial posted after the Presidential Debate last night, "Trump's breathtaking repudiation of American democracy." I urge YOU to read it. Your comments are invited. I promise to read.
Countdown to Tuesday, November 8, OUR U.S. ELECTION DAY: 19 days after today and counting. I myself voted on Monday, 10/26 in my Town of Fulton, Rock County, WI. I was the first in person absentee voter. I urge YOU to be sure to vote. However YOU vote, it is very important that every eligible citizen VOTE. Remember that the fact is that a MINORITY of American citizens who would be eligible to vote will actually ELECT the next President of the U.S. Voter turnout for Presidential elections is the highest in our elections, but it was only 54.87% in 2012. That was down from 58.23% in 2008. If you want to check other years, I recommend the “American Presidency Project” with its “Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections: 1828 – 2012.”
John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.