One-stop fix to the election rejection scam: Demand candidates must accept the outcome—or else

If we don’t stop this scourge of election rejection, then the future (and innate rights) of citizen voting are bleak.

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Ditto, have voters formally agree to honor majority rule and vetted, indisputable outcomes

Crunch time to save functional elections from going extinct. All we must save are ourselves. Every complex, orderly human action must have clear, enforceable rules—otherwise, cheating, chaos and/or criminality rule. That truism applies whether managing traffic laws, public health, monitored judicial “truth,” or applying for a passport. What separates the jungle from civilization are formal, consensual rules, namely regulations and laws. The difference between functional nations (democratic or not) and abusive horror shows comes down to consensus about legality, methods of policing, and enough rational adults to insist on enforcement.

Because running for office—and voting—are both rights and privileges, only much clearer roadmaps will eliminate intolerable Trumpian cheating, still smacking us in the face. This heinous right-wing vendetta—to defy election outcomes, thus majority power—combines system-busting contrivance with farcical connivance. And suckers galore. Despite the extent of this epic hustle, such blatant cheating invites a simple, one-step solution: demand that every candidate, as a basic qualification, pledges to honor certified results. Either that or right-wing mayhem mucks up majority rule—and governance withers.

Any prospect who objects self-disqualifies, should be banned from running, and never be allowed the prestige of being a “lawmaker.” Dump subversive candidates before they corrupt the system, for they put democracy on a suicide watch. Denying legitimacy unless your side wins is a cosmic contradiction, whether in politics, sports, or playing the stock market. The world, if not language and logic implode when losing is twisted into winning and failure distorted into success. Only impaired adolescents or demonic schemers throw tantrums when losing—and must be told “No”—even banned from the game.

If winning isn’t winning, let’s call the whole thing off

Losers don’t have to concede, nor be gracious, nor give up trying, but democratic systems die without peaceful transfers of power. All but the losers lose whenever a predatory also ran insists he’s won because his ego or bank account or gut instinct bellow. How difficult would it be to enact regulation that only candidates who accept the results, after appeals are exhausted, be granted the hallowed position as “public servants”? Or mandate severe penalties for torpedoing the legitimacy and laws that preserve the act of voting to decide rulers? Let’s see how many whiners will risk 1) harsh financial penalties and 2) disqualification from any public office. Okay, capital punishment is a bit much for these democracy assassins, but overwhelming penalties will stop the unscrupulous election rejection syndrome in its tracks.

Certainly, had cowardly Senate Republicans convicted Trump on either justified impeachment trial, he’d now be permanently disqualified and exiled (think of that blessing). But these days no bad deed goes unpunished and only rank partisanship allows Trump poison to spew at large. Indeed, rigorous penalties (stinging only private holdings) for election rejection would have stopped make-believe Trumpist rants cold. Absent this scurrilous lie, how many fellow dimwits would have joined this darkest of rat holes wherein contestants absurdly decide the outcome?

And yet mixed results emerge. Who but the diminished Trump would have self-indicted himself by crudely merging contrivance with connivance? Who but Trump would have dared undermine election credibility simply to sustain political standing from crumbing in the dust? Trump showed himself incompetent (and criminal) as president, then appallingly weak as re-election campaigner. Few alive will again see any politician fumble at the goal line the golden, redemptive chance the pandemic presented.

Nevertheless, Trump exposed a massive vulnerability no one else was ignorant, foolish, or brash enough to chance. The leverage of demonizing elections (and de-legitimizing winners) represent a body blow to the unassailable electoral heart of “We, the people.” What creepy devil goes through the charade of campaigning, fundraising, and gallivanting everywhere, only to then declare null and void a finale that slights his own petty ambitions? However much now in horror, let us concede this Trump earthquake both undercut and clarified the essence of being a voter/citizen—let alone whether the populace, or devious connivers, decide our leadership.

Enacting new candidate requirements should not be especially daunting. Since states decide candidate qualifications (no felons, terrorists, non-citizens or non-residents, nor those under age), why not a simple demand all wannabes must sign a pledge to accept final, certified results? I doubt courts will interfere with reasonable state privilege on qualifications. What’s more logical, moral or democratic than to banish any sleazy, scoff off loser from seizing power and furthering the rip-off? Is it too much to ask candidates and voters commit to the most self-evident of truths, that “the winner” (you know, the one with more votes) takes the cake, thus deserving the status of “lawmaker”? Any potential “lawmaker” who knowingly defies the whole point of elections – to decide winners (and to stop permanent campaigning)—is thus self-disqualified. Q.E.D.

Elections that don’t count aren’t elections

Further, the imbecility of denying failure after an open, transparent contest should invite political disqualification. Apparently, the majority of primitive right-wing voters missed this high school nugget of civic logic and law, if not common sense. Election rejection is outright cheating, alleging fraud to hide blatant dishonesty. Just like joining a pick-up basketball game, then deciding halfway through only your baskets count—not the other team’s (because by this perverse logic all winners must be cheaters). Just like the fraud of verifying the accuracy of your mortgage, auto license or tax return while lying through your teeth. Just like giving a hospital permission to operate, suddenly departing midway, then suing the hospital for negligent incompletion. When contestants alone decide winners, elections are kaput—merely a charade.

If there is a worse wickedness by a failed, malicious candidate, other than an election night assassination of the winner, I’d like to know what it is. If there’s a more corrupt way to shred elections of legitimacy, I’d like to know what surpasses transparently calculated whoppers—before, during and for years afterwards—that any losing, rigged election deserves a redo. Redoing a fair election is a sacrilege.

If we don’t stop this scourge of election rejection, then the future (and innate rights) of citizen voting are bleak. We know what happens when elections are delinked from majority will: thugs move in and might make right. But might is about violence and intimidation, the opposite of right, and then only the predatory fascist wins. If that is America’s future, the naysayers who put down American institutions as irretrievably broken will be correct. Short of a national brain transplant, especially if one-third forego the sovereignty for which countless ancestors sacrificed, only proposed changes akin to mine will save the day. After all, what modern government (business, university, whatever) runs on similarly insipid magic thinking, the sort on full display when Trump blew the pandemic crisis with fantasies? Didn’t we just escape that dead-end, four-year nightmare? Only confidence in elections can save us—and that now demands simple, prudent solutions. Write your state reps.

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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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