Throughout the past four years, the Trump Administration has been among the most confusing cases of revolving doors and executive disorder in the history of the United States. Before this, the democratic structure of the country has not been tested to such an extent, as many of the reaches have been stopped by the ‘bubble’ of precedent, or by law. Today, it is not uncommon to hear of another executive order or breaking of norms. Through selfishness and blind partisanship, President Trump has exposed the flaws in American democracy and highlights problems that have been onset with the process of begetting a two party system that we see today.
Every president before Donald Trump has accepted the results of the election as it comes, respecting the democratic processes and the counting of ballots, along with the peaceful transition of power from president to president-elect. With taking the results of the election to court, however, President Trump snaps a long-unspoken precedent, paving way for this to be the new norm. Never before, other than the 2000 election, has the results of an election been disputed even remotely to the lengths that it has today. President Trump and Rudy Giuliani are hoping to win back the presidential election by state courts, and hoping to invalidate the results of the ballots and votes . To note, there has been no problem with elections that have to do with “rigging” such as against a political candidate, especially not to such a scale as aforementioned by the President; with nearly 13,000 counties in the US, the likelihood that a widespread plot to rig an election against a candidate seems nearly impossible. This very action of doing so breaks precedents long thought to have been untouchable by rule of respect for democratic processes.
To continue, the peaceful transition of power has been widely arranged as a typical consignment between two differing parties, allowing the other candidate a smooth entry into office, and respecting the democratic process as a result. Even in the 2000 election, with Al Gore winning the popular vote to George Bush, but losing the electoral vote, Vice President Gore eventually conceded to his opponent, saying “And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession”. This has been the case for every single presidential election up until the most recent, where President Trump refused to acknowledge the win of President-Elect Biden, subsequently declining him any access to top secret documents by which will be necessary to formulate a stronger nation and maintain national security.
In addition to this, precedents have been a staple of American Democracy, with the two-term limit, to restrictive use of executive orders, to the conservative pardoning of convicted criminals. President Trump has disregarded all three of these precedents. Firstly, when speaking of the two-term limit, the President has been cited as joking about running for a third term, clearly breaking a long-untouched upon law of a two-term individual presidential career. The only person to have run for three terms is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by which a law was enacted to counteract this presidential overreach. Even as such, FDR did so in war times, not in times of disaster and turmoil.In terms of executive orders, the current president has used the most amount of these of any before him (478 to date), many of which redact executive orders of his predecessors . This not only removes the precedent of conservative usage of executive orders, but sets a scary new one, in signing many more executive orders at will, seemingly disregarding the American political process of passing laws through Congress. To continue, in the past, there have been a very conservative amount of judicial pardons, and even less being that of a colleague to the President. This was, until he had suspiciously pardoned convicted criminals such as Roger Stone, who had been on his staff for a long time before being convicted on tax evasion charges. This, combined with the aforementioned factors prior to such bring forth a glaring discrepancy within the American democratic system.
There are many flaws in American democracy that President Trump has highlighted; the first being the idea that all votes are equal. The American democracy puts the same faith in the educated as we do the uneducated, and the upstanding citizen is the same as a potential felon. Even though all people are created equal, all environments are not, thus all character is not . When valuing everyone’s opinion equally, it is assumed that these opinions are rational and able to reach an informed decision. Trump has played into this by convincing uneducated citizens in rural areas that his policies are substantially more effective than his opposition, despite the result that they have caused.
Secondly, populism is horrendously overused and corrupted, as demonstrated. In proposing policies that appeal to those that a candidate is trying to garner votes from, Trump has talked about “Draining the swamp”, “Building the wall” and removing outsourcing from the agenda and bringing jobs back to the United States. As of today, none of these have happened (to such an extent as promised), however the President has played it as such it does not matter, and is still a close candidate in the 2020 presidential election, win or lose.
Thirdly begins the idea of partisanship, or being unnecessarily biased towards another of a differing view. While this has been an ever-growing problem within the US democratic world within a two-party system , it has come to a head with Trump’s blaming, naming, and claiming. In forcing an “us vs. them” mentality, it became readily apparent that Democrats and Republicans were going to butt heads at every occasion, with little room for compromise. This severely hinders the democratic process, with no side being willing to give any leeway to one another.
Finally begets the concept of corruption. While reasoning for corruption could be a stretch, there are many instances where cheating the democratic process is used to one’s benefit. From the case of Watergate to Baron Robbers to Trump’s pardoning of Roger Stone with little to no reasoning, corruption has been a formidable problem in US democracy. With the President’s recent shady tactics, it becomes alarming as to the holes and cracks that we see in today’s government, therefore providing an even stronger point to showcase how American democratic processes should be reformed, as to avoid such a blatant breach of constitutional values.
As we all continue, there becomes a widespread problem to all Americans as to the strength of our republic. With the loopholes and reparations that the President has engaged in, the erosion of democracy is a very real item that surrounds every citizen today. Dignity in the executive office has disintegrated, and the rest of the country will be soon to follow without significant change.
Times Co. 9 Nov. 2020 Web. 14 Nov. 2020.: CBS Staff, “Text Of Gore’s Concession Speech” CBS News. CBS, 13 Dec, 2000. Web. 15
Nov. 2020. Boyer, Dave, “Trump Tests Power, Outpaces Obama on Executive Orders” The Washington
Post. The Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2020. Web. 13 Nov. 2020 Staff Writer, “ What Are The Key Components of a Democracy?” Reference. Reference Co.
25 Mar. 2020. Web. 14 Nov. 2020. Editor in Chief, “16 Major Pros and Cons of the Two Party System in America” ConnectUS.
ConnectUS, 14 Jul. 2019. Web. 15 Nov. 2020.
Your post is very informed and articulate. I will disagree with you on one point, however. Although many of Donald Trump’s supporters do not have a college education, I would not label them uneducated. These denizens of the rural parts of the nation are blue-collar individuals, many of them small business owners. Life experience has educated them and that education may be more valuable than what is acquired through higher learning at times.
The numerous Trump transgressions that flout established conventions and norms within the political realm are not misinterpreted by American citizens be they educated urban dwellers or rural inhabitants of small towns. The level of education is irrelevant here because actions that run counter to democracy are immediately recognizable to any American citizen who has been inculcated with democratic principles from birth up to their present age. No, I will not exonerate what amounts to complicity by any voter who connives at blatant racism, measurable incompetence and indifference in regards to the pandemic, and clear autocratic tendencies during the span of his administration. Referring to these voters as uneducated makes them out to be unwitting dupes who are being deceived by Donald Trump.
What we are witnessing is a narcissistic man who has never demonstrated any real political acumen, only an ability to appeal to the growing anxiety many white Americans feel as they see their majority shrinking. These people are not unintelligent at all. They are seeing the trends that are eroding the security that they have enjoyed for generations. Despite all of Donald Trump’s flaws, he is fighting to preserve their self-interest, their privilege, their wealth. If it means disenfranchising African Americans that dwell in cities, then so be it. If it means undermining democracy and living in an unfree society, then so be it. None of what we are seeing is being misunderstood by anyone in America, on either side. Yet over 70 million people voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, a record only outdone by his opponent, Joseph Biden.
The de-democratization we are witnessing in this country is now being mandated by those 70 million rural voters who fully understand the implications of their support for Donald Trump. They are the reason that more Republicans have not come out openly to castigate Trump for his selfish actions. The 70 million voters are a check on the Republican Party. Any public disagreement with the president will bring about a quick rebuke that may be political suicide. They are no longer Republicans, they are Trumpians. The Senate is no longer a branch that can check any executive aggrandizement, it has morphed into a body of sycophants who enable the president in his autocratic endeavors. We have yet to test the integrity of the Supreme Court that has been packed with conservatives but I hope none of the newly appointed justices feel beholden to Donald Trump for their appointments.
In conclusion, I agree with most of your assertions in this post. I will not refer to these voters/Trump supporters as uneducated though. I realize the inference is that they are uneducated and somewhat country dumb (not yours but generally), easily mislead. I believe that these people are very educated in American history, politics, and sociology, even if not formally. Patriotism and Americanism are very strong amongst these people. Both of those are being encroached upon by people who are non-white and they are pushing back against that encroachment by any means necessary. The weapon they are using just so happens to be Donald Trump.
Throughout reading your post, you do a very coherent job at explaining the certain types of stances/perspectives the Trump administration has precedented onto the American people by exemplifying the flaws that he has engaged in in a very peculiar and lack-luster manner. By beginning your argument with the thought process of President Trump is the only President in United States history to discount a healthy and normal/peaceful transition in the lame-duck period, it helps to show the types of power he can have to make the country in a more miserable spot so that Biden has to take a significant amount of time to try and reshape/fix the damages done after Trump has asked for all these recounts and court cases. It doesn’t help that the major Senate Republicans and the GOP has backed up this behavior to try and set the behavior that the election was “rigged” even if Biden has won the popular vote by over five million and has over seventy more electoral college votes based on projections.
Your connection in regards to the election of 2000 is an important one to highlight the sort of mishap and confusion of a close-knit connection between Gore and Bush based on a couple of thousand votes in Florida being affected by the butterfly voting procedure. Even when Bush lost the popular vote, it was nice to include a quote from Gore congratulating and acknowledging his loss as examples of this can be seen in the past forty years with other presidential candidates coming forth stating their loss but Trump has yet to formally do an act such as this. In addition to this, I liked how you included three other measures where Trump has been under fire for ranging from the joking aspect of being president potentially for three terms to the ridiculous amount of executive orders that he has placed at an astounding 478 up to this day. Pardoning suspicious criminal victims and disregarding certain credentials that only Congress has the power to do are also pillars/points to show how no definite punishment has been given to the president for acts such as this which are too radical and may be deemed unconstitutional in the eyes of many citizens. All votes are equal stigma presented as a normal general idea in today’s society should be recognized as you states as a false narrative based on the environment and certain other features ranging from where you land on the socioeconomic scale of life to moral beliefs about voting procedures and ideas. Partisanship has seen a dramatic uprise since Trump has become president and you highlighted well the “us vs them” idea pertaining to the ideology of “either going my way or the high way” about certain wishes he has called for which seems out of hand and crazy. Lastly, wrapping up your idea with one of the largest concerns about the Trump presidency pertaining to political corruption was a solid way to compare to large political scandals in the past like Watergate as Nixon and Trump both had to go through the impeachment process during their terms in office.
Great post, Matthew! Right off the bat, your title was interesting and made me want to read into your post. You did a great job explaining the unprofessional manner in which Donald Trump is facing the loss of his reelection campaign. I honestly think it is a rather sad and immature look on his part.
Do you anticipate Trump supporters starting more conflict before inauguration day? Similarly, do you think that Trump will fight this loss until the very last moment, or will he learn to accept defeat? Regardless, I think it is important to try and undo the harsh political divide this election season has certainly caused. How do you think we can achieve that, if at all?
Your blog ends on a strong note on the topic of possible corruption. We have seen such cases in the past, as you mention with the Watergate Scandal. With such short time left in his presidency, we can only hope that something so extreme does not arise. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your blog and think that it discusses and important conversation the American people should be having.
Hi Matthew, I think overall your post was very well done. I enjoyed your title as it is intriguing and caught my attention. Your post was very informative. I think you did a great job describing how unprofessional Donald Trump has handled many situations, such as the transition of power to Joe Biden. It shows how immature he can be in some cases. I will have to disagree with you on how you believe many Trump supporters on uneducated and do not have a college degree. A college degree does not define a human being on how smart or educated they are and many people know a lot about politics who did not even attend college. I believe the point of how Trump has done shady things in the past is an extremely good point to bring up. He has done shady things and as citizens, we might not even know everything he has done. I agree with you that it is very alarming as we do not know everything Trump has done while being the president. Since the election has began, more allegations against Trump have come up on many different occasions about different things. I believe overall you did a good job!