“Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him.”
— Hillary Clinton, 2016.
Can you imagine what Donald Trump must have been like as a student? Every time he earned a low grade due to laziness or plain lack of intelligence, he probably whined that “It’s unfair.” Or maybe he claimed to the teacher, “You just don’t like me,” which, knowing him as we do now, was a real possibility.
What is really frustrating about his most recent tantrum regarding the election results, claiming he got cheated or that some mysterious force stole the election from him, is that we all knew this was coming. When you consider the man’s character flaws, it is no surprise that he would pull every unethical and cowardly trick he could to avoid being labeled with his ultimate put down of “loser.”
It’s rather ironic that Trump’s current episode of cheating accusations and conspiracy claims is precisely the type of behavior that contributed to his election defeat. People, including many Republicans, simply could not stand the thought of four more years of such embarrassing leadership.
If the election had simply been a question of which candidate’s policies the voters favored, Trump would have likely won easily, even with the pandemic hanging over his head. If Trump had held fewer rallies and knocked off the Twitter foolishness, in other words, had just shut up and done his job, more voters would have stuck with him.
But, no, he persisted in pushing that the presidency was all about him, so as the twit tweeted ad nauseam, many of the electorate decided they couldn’t stand it anymore, and the only way to shut him up was to get rid of him.
Trump also loves to project the image of being a tough guy. Well, let’s compare Trump’s handling of his loss to Joe Biden to some past presidential election candidates who lost.
First, the losing candidates called their opponents to congratulate them right after the results were announced. In addition, here are some statements included in their concession speeches.
Jimmy Carter in 1980: “The people of the United States have made their choice, and, of course, I accept their decision. I have a deep appreciation of the system that lets people make a free choice about who will lead them for the next four years.”
After George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, he said, “Here’s the way I see it, here’s the way we see it, the country should see it: that the people have spoken and we respect the majesty of the democratic system.”
In his 1996 speech, Republican Bob Dole corrected his followers who booed when he mentioned Bill Clinton who won re-election, “No, no, no. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I’ve said repeatedly in the campaign that the president is my opponent not my enemy, and I wish him well and I pledge my support in whatever advances the cause of a better America because that’s what the race was about in the first place.”
Al Gore, who won the popular vote by over half a million votes in 2000, at first conceded, but later did contest the results due to some very weird stuff in Florida. He eventually did concede saying, “Just moments ago I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States. ... I offered to meet with him as soon as possible so we can start to heal the divisions of the campaign and the contest through which was just passed.”
On election night 2008, John McCain conceded after losing to Barack Obama. McCain said, “The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. A little while ago I had the honor of calling Sen. Barack Obama to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.”
Mitt Romney conceded to Obama in 2012 the day after the election, saying, “I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters. This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”
This is the way we do things in a democratic republic. In his Nov. 5 speech, Donald Trump had a chance to do the right thing as the 2020 results became obvious. He could have accepted defeat like a man — or, better yet, like a woman.
Let us not forget Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump. If any candidate has ever had reason to whine and make wild accusations about voter fraud, it is Hillary.
Remember, she had a massive lead in the polls. She received nearly 3 million more votes than Trump. Yet, magically, she somehow lost.
Add in the fact that three senior members of the 2016 Trump campaign, including Trump’s son, had secretly sought Russian help in the election… in Trump Tower … supposedly without daddy’s knowledge, and who could have blamed Clinton for proclaiming “rigged” to the world?
Yet, five minutes after Trump was proclaimed the victor, Clinton called him to concede. Later, in her speech, she told her supporters, “We must accept this result. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.”
So past presidential elections are filled with examples of true leadership. Of strong men and women who have the character to compete honestly and the courage to accept defeat graciously.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump has neither — that is why he lost re-election.
Mike Murphy of Pocatello is an award-winning columnist whose articles are syndicated by Senior Wire. He recently published a book titled “Tortoise Crossing – Expect Long Delays,” which is a collection of 100 of his favorite columns. It is available on Amazon.com.