This commentary is by Tom Evslin of Stowe, an entrepreneur, author and former Douglas administration official. It is republished from the Fractals of Change blog.
The only certainty about Tuesday’s election is that almost half of us are certain to be disappointed by the results. If Rs win the House and Ds keep the Senate, more than half of us will be disappointed. Local results have the potential to add each of us to the disappointed ranks.
So are we going to act like Donald Trump and Stacey Adams and refuse to recognize defeat? Are we going to question the legitimacy of those we didn’t vote for? Are we going to blame fraud, lies, media bias, advertising, the Russians, or someone else? Are we going to help assure that elected leaders fail or will we hope they succeed for the good of the country even if we’d like to replace them in the next election?
There have been and will be fraud, lies, media bias, advertising and the Russians at least exist. There should be recounts in close elections. There should be swift and thorough investigations of fraud and suppression allegations with prosecutions of any guilty parties resulting. Faith in elections must be constantly validated.
Media bias and lying politicians of all stripes have been with us since the birth of the republic — and in its predecessors. They don’t invalidate elections. We’re the jury and we must decide whom to believe about what. That’s the way democracy (and advertising) works.
In these very polarized times (but not most polarized times — we did have a civil war), it’s easy for people on either side to be incredulous that the other side really won. “Everybody I know voted for HRC. Trump could have only won because the Russians got to the deplorables.” Or “Everybody I know voted for Trump. Biden could only have won because of boatloads of fake ballots and rigged voting machines.”
Back when I was a kid in Brooklyn, we knew the Dodger’s woulda won if we wuzn’t robbed by duh tree blind mice (umpires). We didn’t take ourselves too seriously, though, and learned to wait until next year.
Voting is the best defense of democracy; neither side has a monopoly on either democratic virtue or totalitarian vice. Policing elections against both rigging and intimidation is essential and is nothing new. Accepting the fact that your fellow citizens decided to vote differently than you and everybody you know wants them to act is what ultimately makes this country work. Then you wait for next year and work like hell to vote the bastards out — assuming you haven’t changed your mind.
Good luck to the USA Tuesday. May the best people (or the lesser of evils) win every race.