The Democratic/progressive/news media freakout over Trump’s election has become an ethics story itself, as the foes of a man whose lack of impulse control and respect during the campaign drew deserved rebukes now emulate him. This is, Ethics Alarms will soon explore, an effort at deligitimzing Trump’s presidency before it begins, just as the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bush v Gore was employed by Democrats to legitimize Bush, and the various Muslim and birther smears were aimed at Obama by conservatives to undermine Obama. The tactic is un-American and despicable, and never has it been so thoroughly embraced by so many, with such smug self-righteousness.
My thanks to Steve-O-in-NJ for his Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz: Trump’s Tweet On Fidel’s Demise, which is timely and helpful:
I thought I was done with ranting about the election. I also thought everyone else was mostly done and the fire of outrage and self-pity that had followed had burned itself out. It probably didn’t hurt that most students had gone home for Thanksgiving.
Now Jill Stein, an extreme leftist who wasn’t even on the ballot in several states and had zero chance of winning, decides to demand a recount in not just one, but three states. Hillary pretends not to want to join in, but then says, well, ok, if we’re doing it anyway.
Keep a few things in mind:
–The deficits in all three states are higher than have ever been overcome by recount. This is a matter of tens of thousands, not a few hundred.
–There is no evidence of a hack, even the advocates of the recount say that.
– Obama himself doesn’t believe there was large scale rigging and says he believes in the results.
–The fact that Jill Stein raised so much money, so fast, reeks of either a scam or of super-wealthy donors trying to play kingmaker.
–Hillary herself said a month ago that Trump needed to accept the results of the election and to do otherwise would be frightening. Now she is doing the very thing she said would be frightening.
–We did this once before in 2000, over a lot fewer votes, in one state, by a candidate who had not already conceded against a President-elect whose transition was nowhere near as far underway. It changed nothing beyond dragging this nation to the brink of a constitutional crisis and allowing Democrats to say “selected, not elected” for four years.
–This smacks of desperation. A party that ran the second most despised candidate with the most baggage ever on a platform of name-calling and division saw their blue wall crack due to those very tactics. Now they want to try litigation and conspiracy theories instead.
–This smacks of disrespect for the process. The electoral college is clearly spelled out in the Constitution and it’s well known the presidency is not a direct popular vote. The processes for changing that are also clearly spelled out in the Constitution. You don’t get to change the rules in the middle of the game, leave alone after the game is played, because you don’t like the result.
–This, together with the ugly recent protests, smacks of proto-totalitarianism. Essentially one side is saying we will use the process as far as it takes us, then we will turn to litigation, rioting, low level terrorism, or whatever else it takes, but we will go all the way come hell, high water, or the people’s vote.
– This smacks of what I will call taffy ethics. Either the process is in danger from a challenge or it isn’t. Either the process is worthy of respect or it isn’t. Either a concession means something or it doesn’t. These holdings aren’t made of taffy. They only stretch and bend and twist so far. Twist them farther and they break.
– This smacks of an attempt to delegitimize the President-elect before he is even in office. Ironically, a lot of those pushing this effort are the same people who said that crossing, disrespecting, or opposing Obama was either racist or treason, and would have said the same about Hillary, except substitute “sexist” for “racist.” Either this kind of conduct is ok or it isn’t. It doesn’t become ok when the elected leader is of the party you oppose.
– Those who get behind this effort need to check their ethical compasses. It’s all well and good to say you’re the party of equality, the party of removing barriers, the party of lending a helping hand to those who need it, the party of making those doing well lend more of a hand, and so on. Does all that justify also becoming the party of protests that turn into riots, selective enforcement, working around the law when you can’t work within it, and ethics that bend and twist like plasticine? Does it justify calling for respect for the process and then disregarding the process, talking of unity and trading on division, calling for protection and practicing bullying? If you think it does, then I submit the party of blue is headed towards becoming a very different shade of red than the GOP.