Political opinions and rhetoric have reached ridiculous levels of hyperbole in the past couple of years. During election season, I would get annoyed when #NeverTrumpers would describe then-candidate Donald Trump as “literally Hitler.” Not only was that comparison to a genocidal dictator unfounded, even upon loose interpretations of Trump’s most controversial words, it showed a disappointing lack of faith in our system of government and the basic principles upon which this country was founded. Sadly, it looks like I may have had too much faith in the American people, at least if a new poll reported by The Washington Post poll is to be believed.
It says that 52% of Republicans who participated would be in favor of canceling the 2020 presidential election and holding off the election of a new president until the problem of voter fraud is solved.
Please tell me you’re as horrified as I am by this.
Now, I’m barely going to get into the fact that voter fraud isn’t the problem that President Trump makes it out to be. Yes, it happens, but there’s no evidence that it happens on the scale that Trump claims. The real nightmare fuel here is the fact that the President of the United States has been railing against a problem (bogus or not), and there are Americans who would gladly let Trump stay in power without being elected in order to fix this. I love irony as much as the next guy, but I don’t appreciate the idea of throwing in the towel on the great American experiment by using fear of faulty elections to get rid of elections altogether.
Time to step back and take a breath. The poll isn’t exactly conclusive. The sample size is only 1,325 people, with just 650 identifying or siding with the GOP. And of those 650, 52% (just 335 people), said they would agree to this. That number took a modest jump to 56% (364) if the hypothetical situation included Republican members of Congress also supporting an election postponement. So it’s not like this is an imminent threat. Also, Trump never suggested doing this, so there’s no indication that he would even want this.
Still, this should be an alarming wake-up call to those who hold democracy dear.
Everything in our Constitution, everything in our government, everything that upholds our rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, is based on the core principle that ours is a government of elected officials chosen by the people. When in the course of human events people believe it to be necessary to dissolve that principle, all is lost. The real Hitler didn’t become a dictator until after he was elected to office. If Donald Trump or any future president has any interest in becoming “literally Hitler,” he or she would only be able to do it if we gave them the power to do so.
If you support President Trump, please vote for him in the next election. If you detest everything he stands for, please vote against him. If you’re somewhere in the middle, vote for anyone you like. But if anyone even suggests that you forfeit that right in the next election or any other, raise hell. I know I will.
Ronn Blitzer is the Senior Editor of LawNewz.com and a former prosecutor in New York City. Follow him on Twitter: @RonnBlitzer
[Image via Burlingham/shutterstock]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.