Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Megan Moutsatsos, Queens University.
The odds were stacked against Republican Donald Trump when he ran for president of the United States in 2016. Trump possessed no political background, which resulted in many Americans considering him unfit to lead. However, to the shock of millions, Trump prevailed. He defeated Hillary Clinton in November 2016, becoming the 45th American president. Since his election, Trump has encouraged division in the United States, stoking the flames of white supremacy and deepening America’s political divide. Trump has been vocal about his dislike for the Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, but as the 2020 election approaches, his disrespect has festered into something dangerous. Trump disrespects more than Joe Biden and the Democrats: he disrespects the entire American democracy with his efforts to suppress voting.
Democracy is a system of government in which the citizens of the nation decide laws, politics, and leadership. The word itself translates to “rule by the people” in Greek. Democracy in the United States technically came with the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but when George Washington peacefully stepped down and transferred power to John Adams in 1783, the United States was cemented as a democratic state. However, with Trump currently at the helm, America’s democracy is anything but stable—and it is partly due to his disrespect of Biden and the Democrats.
While Trump’s dislike of the Democrats can be attributed to the parties’ opposing viewpoints, he has made personal attacks on Democrats in his years as president, suggesting a deep disrespect for them as people. For instance, he ridicules the Democrats on Twitter, using inappropriate and childish nicknames for the party’s notable figures. To provide some examples, he refers to Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe,” Bernie Sanders as “Crazy Bernie,” and Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” a dig at Warren’s Indigenous heritage. Additionally, during the first presidential debate between him and Biden, Trump did more than constantly interrupt Biden: he also attempted to tarnish Biden’s tribute to his late son by interjecting with a question about the drug-addled past of Biden’s other son, which was highly callous. Trump’s blatant disrespect for Biden and the Democrats likely makes him despise the thought of losing power to them, thus feeding into his disrespect of democracy, as illuminated by his efforts to suppress voting.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans have opted to use mail-in ballots to vote safely. In an attempt to silence these voices, Trump has spread lies about the security of mail-in ballots. He tweeted that if the United States has mail-in ballots, “it will be the greatest rigged election in history”, as he believes that voter fraud is a problem. Trump claimed that people could steal ballots out of mailboxes and distribute them to voters. He also declared that a West Virginia mail worker tried to sell ballots. However, voter fraud is extremely rare. Justin Levitt, Loyola Law School professor, tracked United States elections from 2000-2014 and found 31 instances of fraud out of more than one billion, which is nowhere close to the widespread voter fraud that Trump is suggesting. In pronouncing mail-in ballots as a magnet for fraud when they are proven to be an effective way to vote, Trump is attempting to silence American voices when a democracy strives to hear every voice. Additionally, due to this “voter fraud,” Trump said he “has to see” if he will accept the results of the election in an interview, when he should be willing to peacefully transfer power to the Democrats, lest the vote be proven unfair. His uncertainty of whether he will listen to the vote is alarming, for he has no evidence to support claims of voter fraud, and thus has no grounds on which to reject a democracy’s principles.
Overall, Donald Trump’s disrespect of the Democrats translates into disrespect for the American democracy, as proven by his attempts to suppress American voting and his refusal to promise a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election. Trump claims to be the people’s champion, but considering democracy is the voice of the people, this statement is highly ironic. In fact, it is a lie, joining the thousands of lies that have infected Trump’s presidency and the United States as a whole. Only when Trump is removed from office will the United States be able to repair its country broken by Trump’s hate. Regardless of his attempts to meddle with mail-in voting, Trump will be removed by the people—for the people.
Blumenthal, S. (2020, July 22). Trump may not respect the election. We need a Democratic Senate more than ever | Sidney Blumenthal. Retrieved October 7, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/22/trump-election-democratic-senate
Cillizza, C. (2020, May 26). Here’s the *real* reason Donald Trump is attacking mail-in ballots. Retrieved October 7, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/26/politics/mail-in-ballot-vote-by-mail-trump/index.html
Mounk, Y. (2020, June 18). Is Donald Trump a Danger to Democracy? Retrieved October 7, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/18/books/review/masha-gessen-surviving-autocracy-eric-posner-the-demagogues-playbook.html
Rucker, P., Gearan, A., & Linskey, A. (2020, September 30). Trump incessantly interrupts and insults Biden as they spar in acrimonious first debate. Retrieved October 7, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/debate-trump-biden/2020/09/30/722499a8-0274-11eb-b7ed-141dd88560ea_story.html
Skidmore, G. (2016, October 29). [Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.]. Retrieved October 9, 2020 from
October 7, 2020, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/the-real-birth-of-american-democracy-83232825/
Image Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donald _Trump_(30023082644).jpg
Stromberg, J. (2011, September 20). The Real Birth of American Democracy.