Ciboski: How Committed Is Trump To Democratic Rules?

Mar 21, 2018

Some behaviors of President Trump have caused political scientists, historians and other observers to wonder how committed he is to the democratic rules of the political game. Early in the election campaign, he had praise for Russian president Vladimir Putin and he displayed a fascination with other autocratic leaders such as Kim Jong Un of North Korea. 

During the campaign, he suggested that he might not accept the election results if he lost. He said that large-scale voter fraud occurs before and on election day. He asserted that voter fraud could occur with millions of illegal immigrants and dead people voting for Clinton. One poll indicated that a large number of Americans thought that the election could be stolen from Trump. His website proclaimed, “Help me stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election.”

Another violation of politically civil behavior was his toleration and encouragement of violence at political gatherings where he spoke. Partisan violence can be the beginning of the breakdown of a democracy. During the campaign, he suggested to his audience that if you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, just knock the crap out of them. Then, he said, “Seriously, just knock the hell out of them. I promise you I will pay the legal fees.” He stated that the country is now going to hell with being politically correct as demonstrators at political meetings are getting by with murder. 

Trump also attacked the press. He said that the media were the most dishonest people he had ever met. He said that he would open up the libel laws so that when the media write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, “we can sue them and win lots of money.” Specifically, he mentioned The Washington Post and The New York Times.

And still, these are just a few of the many ways Trump has shown he’s playing a game outside the normal boundaries of a political democracy.

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