refusal to accept election results

An Election Paradox

An Election Paradox

            Robert A. Levine 11-2-2022

When is an election not an election? When one of the candidates refuses to accept the results of the election even before it is held. There are currently a host of Republican candidates for federal, state and local offices who deny that the results of the 2020 presidential election were valid and state that Donald Trump actually won the election. Some of these so-called election deniers are claiming that their own elections for office in 2022, which have not even yet been held, are also rigged and that they will not accept the results if they lose. What is the point of taking part in an election if you will deny its legality if you do not win. You may as well appoint yourself to the office for which you are running.

Among the candidates who deny that Joe Biden was elected legitimately in 2020, and are now running for office in 2022 and refusing to say they will recognize the results if they lose, are Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for Governor of Arizona. She said she will accept the results if she wins. Other gubernatorial nominees who refuse to commit to honoring the balloting are Geoff Diehl in Massachusetts and Tudor Dixon in Michigan. Senate candidates Blake Masters in Arizona, Ted Budd in North Carolina, Kelly Tshibaka in Alaska and J.D. Vance in Ohio have also not agreed to respect the results of their elections. These candidates all support Donald Trump’s election denial and are all supported by Trump in their quest for office.

According to the political site Five Thirty Eight, 60 percent of American voters will have an election denier on the ballot in the 2022 election. Two hundred of 532 Republican candidates for office fit into the category of election deniers, despite the lack of evidence of fraud and sixty court cases that did not validate Trump’s claims. These politicians stoke distrust in American democracy by ordinary voters. This particularly true of Republicans, two thirds of whom in an NPR poll last year thought elections were unfair. Nine in ten Democrats and 60 percent of independents believed that America’s elections were indeed fair.

It is time for Congress to enter the arena of election denial. A law needs to be passed that mandates every candidate before the election to accept the results of their contest no matter who wins, in order for them to run in the first place. If nominees are unwilling to commit to recognizing the choice of the electorate, they should not be allowed to run. Their refusal to abide by the decision of the voters diminishes the sanctity of America’s elections and demonstrates a disregard for the democratic process. This should disqualify them from running or holding any elective office.

With the election deniers and those who refuse to accept election results all being Republicans, it may be difficult to pass an adequate law on the federal level, since bipartisan support would be necessary to overcome a filibuster. Perhaps it can be passed by referendum on a state to state basis. Being excluded from the ballot in some states would make it difficult for presidential and vice-presidential candidates to run unless they agree to accept the election results.

Election denial and refusal to abide by election results is a direct threat to American democracy and increases partisanship and divisiveness among the electorate. This threat needs to be pursued aggressively and eradicated by men and women of good will in both parties. However, convincing Republicans of the need for this law may be difficult since they worship at the altar of Donald Trump and are afraid of incurring his wrath. However, it is merely common sense not to permit candidates to run for office if they won’t commit to accepting the results.

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