Donald Trump’s campaign was born in hatred and conspiracy, and it will die in hatred and conspiracy.
Since the publication of audio of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, his campaign has essentiallyimploded. Republican endorsers have abandoned him in droves, Americans have turned against him and those conservatives who were supporting him only as an alternative to Hillary Clinton have jumped ship.
How has Trump responded to this? Did he apologize, reorganize his campaign to accommodate for the losses, or double down on the moderation that caused his polls to rise?
Of course not. He completely lost his mind. In the days since the leaked audio and his poor performance in the second debate, he has had one strategy: keep his base loyal at all costs — forget everyone else.
There have been no attempts to reach out to moderate voters. There have been no attempts to convince Republicans that their ship is not sinking. There have been no attempts to convince anyone that Trump is capable of holding the presidency.
Instead, Trump has said that Republicans who unendorsed him are worse than Clinton. He has repeatedly claimed that the media is trying to defeat him. His defense against the women who have come out against him is essentially that they’re not pretty enough for him to assault. He has often tried to bring up Bill Clinton, ignoring that comparing himself to Bill Clinton isn’t an excuse for his behavior.
Most dangerously, though, and what I wish to focus on, is Trump’s assertion that the election is rigged. Of all the things said and done during the election, I must confess, this disgusts me the most.
For 240 years, our republic has been held together by the idea that our elections are free and fair. Even when the Confederacy seceded, they did not question the legitimacy of the election. Yet, Trump is fanning the flames of this perception of illegitimacy.
A presidential candidate claiming that his impending loss is the result of corruption is nothing less than a disgusting disgrace to our identity and our principles. We have seen time and time again that Trump and his supporters do not care about the lasting damage they are doing, not only to their party, but also to America itself.
We are citizens of this great republic. We are supposed to be an example for the world, not a cautionary tale. This should not be our behavior.
When Mitt Romney lost in 2012, he did not claim illegitimacy. He did not blame his party. He did not blame the Republicans who stayed home on voting day and cost him the election. He did not encourage his supporters to throw temper tantrums, nor did he encourage violence or bemoan the future of our country. He graciously stepped aside and bent a knee to American democracy.
As Trump and the supporters of this paranoia need to be reminded, that is how Americans should act.