Trump Has Now Disqualified Himself From Holding Office.

It is now apparent that Donald Trump thinks the decision to agree to a peaceful and orderly transfer of power if he loses this November is optional.

In his usual style of advance prevarication he has recently announced that he will wait and see before deciding whether to leave.

In other words, Trump has declared that the validity of the election is somehow contingent upon whether the outcome is favorable as opposed to fair. No such power exists in the American presidency or indeed in our democracy.

The outcome of an election like other fundamental decisions in our political system is not intended to satisfy or please the powerful but to reflect the will and intent of the people.

Just as we are a government of laws and not of men, certain necessary conditions must exist for democracy to breathe and live: one of them is that no single person — not even a president — can judge the validity of the exercise of the political franchise or its results once the people speak.

The American political tradition reflects this tacit agreement that those in power hold it only at the people’s sufferance and this is exhibited through the willingness of losing candidates to readily acknowledge their loss.

Indeed, it is the acknowledgment that such contestants are only “candidates” and not perpetual leaders that perennially enhances the values of democracy and reminds us that here the people rule and that our office holders are only temporary trustees of power.

As soon as a political leader in this Nation declares that he reserves the right or the power to decide the legitimacy of the demonstrated will of the people the people’s will will have vanished. And despotism shall have taken its place.

We allow our leaders to hold power with this proviso perhaps otherwise unwritten, but not unspoken. It is a so far unbroken covenant between the living and the dead in this nation born ever anew out of its conflict and blood, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Any person unwilling to live by that creed is not worthy of gaining or ever keeping high office. In fact, they have shown in advance their enmity to democracy and unfitness for its trust. They must then be removed.

-atg