Trump’s refusal to agree to a peaceful transition of power

On Nov. 3, hundreds of thousands of Americans will be anxiously awaiting the presidential results that will decide the fate of the country. Throughout history, the candidate who loses respectfully concedes, establishing a peaceful transition of power. Despite this, President Donald Trump has never fully guaranteed he will accept a peaceful transition of power.

According to Politico, Trump cast doubt on the election infrastructure during a White House news briefing on Sept. 23.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” the president responded to a reporter. “You know, I’ve been complaining about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.”

Given Trump’s history with the entertainment industry, one might have doubts on the credibility of his statements. Political Science professor, William Parsons, thinks that Trump’s statements should be taken seriously.

“The rhetoric that he’s using is new because he implies that if he doesn’t like the results, he won’t leave The White House. The only acceptable result is he wins, and the unacceptable result is that he loses and so it’s the rhetoric. I can’t tell you how serious that is, and we haven’t been in this situation before,” Parsons said. 

Junior, Kiersten Housenga, thinks Trump’s refusal to say whether he will accept the results or not is nothing new. 

“His statements mirror how his campaign is run and structured. He doesn’t want to give a solid answer to anything and that’s always how his whole campaign has been,” Housenga said. 

Parsons also emphasizes that although Trump’s rhetoric surrounding the election is new, challenging elections has been done before.  

“People should not look at this as if it’s something out of the ordinary, elections get legally challenged in The United States not just at the presidency, but all the way down to local government. It has nothing to do with it being wrong, it’s just by law, they try to make it accurate,” Parsons said. 

It is important to note that although The United States Constitution provides a framework for our government, it does not guarantee a peaceful transition of power. 

“The Constitution does not guarantee it. It provides a mechanism for it to be peaceful, but it really comes down to norms that have been established by past presidents and societies willingness and commitment to adhering to the constitution,” Parsons said. 

There is a possibility that even if Trump loses both the electoral college and popular vote, he could maintain the presidency. Although it is highly unlikely that will happen, it is still possible. 

“That comes down to the states. For instance, Pennsylvania has a Democratic governor, and the legislature is controlled by Republicans. Even if the Democratic governor certifies the vote, the Republican legislature could pass a resolution saying they don’t trust the governor of Pennsylvania. It’s then resolved by the House of Representatives to pick the President if no one is at 270 in December when the electors meet, and each state gets one vote to cast for president.  To become President, you need to have 26 votes in the house. Right now, Republicans have control of 26 states and so they could come in and pull their delegations and Trump could be president,” Parsons said.

Whether or not all of that will happen is hard to predict, but Trump continues to question the legitimacy of the election due to the increase of absentee ballots this election.

“The mail-in voting ballots give underprivileged communities the access to vote. Primarily it’s the black community that cannot get out there and vote, and those are the people who don’t like him. I think he questions the legitimacy of it because he knows he won’t win, and he wants to find something to get after,” Freshman Jaylon Foster said. 

The polls in Iowa will be open until 9 p.m. on Election day, Nov. 3. If you are not registered to vote or want to change your registration to Iowa status, you can do it on Election Day in Iowa. All you need is one form of identification and proof of residency. Ambrose students can go to the Residence Life to get their housing contract.