Today, Donald Trump backtracked – if you can call it that – on his refusal to accept the election results and concede no matter the results. Today at a rally in Ohio, he declared that he will be happy to accept the election results, but only if he wins.
Trump pledges “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win”
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) October 20, 2016
If he loses, he says he would be asked to “waive centuries of legal precedent designed to protect the voters” and that he will “reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.” All of which is nonsense, of course, and is just Trump’s nascent authoritarian streak spinning hollow justifications for repudiating our nation’s proud tradition of peaceful power transition.
He’s been raked over the coals by politicians, pundits, and angry citizens for his dangerous talk, but still gleefully refuses to respect centuries of democratic tradition in his egotistical quest for our nation’s highest office. Refusing to accept the results of the election is a tactic common among dictators and other authoritarian strongmen – and the results of those power vacuum are often extremely violent and deadly.
Zimbabwean opposition leader Tendai Biti, who lost a rigged election to dictator Robert Mugabe, spoke out today and made it clear just how dangerous Trump‘s words really are – not just to our nation, but to the health of democracy across the globe.
“Donald Trump is a gift to all tin-pot dictators on the African continent. He is giving currency and legitimacy to rigging because if it can exist in America, it can exist anywhere, He has no idea what he’s talking about, absolutely no idea. It makes us cross because in Africa there’s real election rigging.”
Biti was arrested in 2008 on trumped-up treason charges after speaking out against Mugabe’s election rigging and was brutally tortured in prison.
Somehow, despite our best efforts to prove otherwise, America is still a beacon of freedom and hope to oppressed peoples across the world, a symbol of democratic success and peace. Trump’s comments are not only an insult to the values our nation was founded on but a blow to the hope of millions who pray that someday they will be able to have elections that don’t end in riots, ethnic cleansing, and civil wars just because one side refuses to concede.
Watch his astonishing remarks here:
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.