During the course of the contentious presidential campaign, members of the media and supporters of the Democratic nominee repeatedly expressed concern about whether or not Donald Trump would accept the election results. What they didn’t address was whether they would accept what they saw as unthinkable: the notion of a Trump victory.
It is ironic, but unsurprising, that many of the same commentators and rabble-rousers who expressed angst over what they perceived as an unprecedented threat to the democracy are now taking a very different approach. Election results are sacrosanct, they argued, and even alluding to the idea of contesting legitimate results was “incendiary” — if not downright dangerous. Now, it seems, this was all true only if their preferred candidate scored the victory they thought was all but certain. From the vantage point of the losing side, protesting against a clear-cut electoral victory is perfectly acceptable, after all.
In New York City and Los Angeles, in Detroit and Portland, and in many other cities from coast to coast, demonstrators have been gathering on an almost daily basis to express their fury over the Trump victory. It is perfectly understandable and even appropriate for immigrants, legal and otherwise, to call on the president-elect to soften the anti-immigration policies he asserted during the campaign. However, signs reading “Not My President” and chants of “We reject the president-elect” are indicative of a populace who prefer anarchy over the rule of law.
Many of these demonstrators presumably consider themselves to be Democrats, but in their zeal to reject the legitimate elections, are actually protesting against the very institution of democracy.
It must be noted that, to their credit, the two individuals who arguably lost the most in this election, Secretary Clinton and President Obama, chose the honorable path. The president welcomed Trump to the White House, and he and his official spokespeople have gone to great lengths to stress a peaceful transition and to refrain from making any public remarks that would undermine his soon-to-be successor. In her concession speech, Secretary Clinton declared that “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.”
But other leaders in the Democratic Party failed to follow their example. Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid released an angry statement lashing out at the president-elect, portraying a nation trembling with dread.
“White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear …” Reid declared.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) accurately described Reid’s remarks as “an absolute embarrassment to the Senate as an institution, our Democratic Party, and the nation,” and stressed that “Senator Reid’s words needlessly feed the very divisiveness that is tearing this country apart. … Unfortunately, there are some who forget that at times like these it is wrong to put party and politics above our country,” Manchin added.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sent out an email expressing how “deeply disappointed” he was to learn of Donald Trump’s victory.
“I understand your fears, and that the results have shaken your faith,” he wrote, and proceeded to list what he considers to be “the values New Yorkers share,” before concluding that “these values have never been dependent on any one person or any one office.”
It seems that this refusal to show an iota of respect for the man the American people — via the electoral process — chose to be their next president is one of the few areas that de Blasio and his longtime adversary and fellow Democrat, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, can agree on.
In an “Open Letter” to a New York City tabloid, Cuomo declared that “Secretary Hillary Clinton’s defeat on Tuesday was a particularly difficult experience, heartbreaking and bewildering and indeed frightening all at once.”
Unlike the mayor, the governor at least gave lip service to Clinton’s call of owing Trump “an open mind and a chance to lead.” But he also made sure to add that “this election was for the soul of America, and that is why today so many of us feel as we do today; we are soul sick.”
These liberal protesters would do well to learn from a conservative icon from across the ocean. When Winston Churchill became the prime minister of Great Britain, in May 1940, he declared that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” For five years, he heroically led the besieged country as it fought for its very survival against an enemy Churchill rightfully referred to as a “monstrous tyranny.”
In July 1945, months after the unconditional surrender of Germany, Britain held a general election. It is told that when early results indicated that England was voting for the Labor party, Churchill was taking a bath.
“There may well be a landslide and they have a perfect right to kick us out,” the wartime leader declared. “That is democracy. That is what we have been fighting for. Hand me my towel.”
Churchill was right, and it is high time for liberals in this country to throw in the towel and accept reality.