Trump said and did a lot of unpleasant things during the third debate, including his usual stack of lies, and saying about Hillary, “Such a nasty woman”. I can promise you that, plus the “Excuse me; my turn,” cost him votes among women.
But frankly, the greatest concern of myself, as well as many other people out there, is that he’s still refusing to recognize the legitimacy of our electoral process, and has basically said that if he loses, it’s only because it’s rigged against him.
This kind of talk is extremely dangerous. Our democratic process remains intact only because people have stepped aside and admitted they’ve lost. That gives us continuity and gives our government, and our elected officials, legitimacy. It’s a required part of democracy.
Trump threatens all that. In Trump’s worldview, anything other than a win is a rigged election (he said as much today). That’s something that is unprecedented in American politics (but then again, so is pretty much everything about his rise to power), and it’s something that needs to be squashed immediately.
How does one squash it, though? Well, for starters, the Republicans need to loudly and often be on the air saying that elections are fair and proper and not rigged. Some have done a little bit of this, but all of them need to do a lot more. Trump’s base won’t listen, but it will help to tamp down fears among more mainstream Republicans whose support for Trump is perhaps a bit softer.
Then, assuming Hillary wins, the Republicans need to loudly and visibly cooperate with her on as many issues as possible. Stop being obstructionist, stop avoiding governance, and really stop with stunts like threatening to block any SCOTS nominations she puts forward. Stop it with all that crap. Make it clear that she’s our legitimate, elected leader, and that we all need to work to make her time in office a success, because, frankly, that’s the patriotic thing to do.
Now do I think the Republicans will actually do any of this? Of course not. They’ll continue talking about the integrity of our elections not in terms of how Trump has nothing to fear, but in terms of stoking those fears by passing more voter exclusion laws. They won’t come out and openly say that they think our electoral process is rigged, but everything they do will indicate they believe it to be.
Make no mistake: Trump talking about our electoral process as being rigged could damage our country for the next twenty-plus years. It’s up to the Republicans to keep that from happening.