Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot argued that elections aren't the only measure of a democracy and President Donald Trump is intentionally trying to undermine every piece and part of it possible.
Writing Thursday, Boot explained that many dictatorships pretend to have elections. The true test of democracy he said is if leaders in that democracy respect the will of the voters. In the case of Trump, it became clear on Wednesday that he's not prepared to acknowledge he lost, even if it is clear he did.
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said when asked about a peaceful transition of power. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
Trump went on to say we should "get rid of the ballots" and then he'd conceded to a peaceful transfer of power. Boot called it outright dictator talk.
"The real test of a nation’s political system is whether politicians respect the will of the voters — and in particular whether the most powerful leader, the one in control of the armed forces, willingly gives up power after losing an election," he wrote. "This is a test that countries such as Belarus and Zimbabwe have failed, and that the United States has passed, in good times and bad, for more than two centuries. Indeed, few presidents are even asked about their willingness to give up power because the answer is so obvious."
It's never been a question before 2020. In the 244 years of America's democratic experiment, no president has said anything like what Trump said. Boot noted that even if Trump was the best president in history it is something that should be disqualifying. It'll never happen, he noted, because for the past four years Americans have been forced to deal as "Trump erase[s] one red line after another."
He cited the recent piece in The Atlantic that explained Trump's rub with mail-in-ballots is that they're more likely to be cast by Democrats and there will likely be a substantial advantage for Biden over Trump.
"This year the 'blue shift' is certain to be even bigger, with more people voting by mail than ever before — and more Democrats than Republicans expressing a desire to do so," wrote Boot. "By calling the mail-in ballots a 'hoax,' Trump is laying the foundation for throwing them out and demanding that he be declared the winner based on ballots counted on election night."
Trump's strive to get his Supreme Court Justice installed before the election is about his assumption that the election will be like 2000 and he'll turn to the courts to adjudicate it.
“I think this will end up in the Supreme Court. And I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” Trump said Wednesday.
Boot explained that Trump is clearly trying to hold onto his power at all costs, and it's the "the stuff of nightmares."
"Already social scientists warn that we may be backsliding into autocracy," Boot wrote. "Now we may be facing the worst threat to our democracy since the 1930s — the period that is the setting of the dystopian novels It Can’t Happen Here and The Plot Against America. It can happen here, and the plot against America has already been set in motion by a real-life analog to Berzelius 'Buzz' Windrip or Charles Lindbergh."
The only way to ensure Trump doesn't steal the vote, Boot closed, is for Joe Biden to win so overwhelming that Trump has no choice but to concede.