Why a Contested Election Would Be a Good Thing
For months now, Democrats and other opponents of Donald Trump have been sounding ominous warnings that Trump may refuse to leave the White House even if he loses the election.
This, however, has never been a remotely plausible scenario if Biden is the clear winner. In other words, if Biden wins a decisive or obvious victory, neither the secret service, nor the White House staff, or any government department will do anything to keep Trump in the White House.
Rather, the only way there could be a meaningful dispute over who is the winning president is if the outcome itself is contested and unclear. In that case, a sizable portion of the population would insist Trump stay put in the White House while many others insisted Biden was the real winner. Potentially, the result could be two full month of lawsuits, recounts, and accusations of fraud before a winner—which wouldn’t necessarily be Trump or Biden—would be chosen. Even then there’s no guarantee that the general public would consider this to be a fair or legitimate outcome.
A contested election could undermine the perceived legitimacy of the US regime itself. Or, put another way: there is a whole lot of upside to a contested election.
There are several reasons for this. A contested election is likely to be quite damaging for a variety of myths about democracy to which the public clings. When elections are contested, more voters may conclude the outcomes of elections do not reflect “the will of the people,” and it becomes more clear democratic contests have no theoretical or moral answer for the problem of a “tie vote.” No matter the outcome, more Americans are likely to begin questioning if national elections are rigged, unfair, or otherwise unreliable.
First, the Downside
But before we look more closely at the upside, we have to consider the very serious problems that could result from a contested election: riots, lootings, and other forms of violence that could destroy lives and property.
America has certainly endured this in the past.
Many have already pointed to the contested election of 1876 as the last time a contested election “tore the country apart.” Americans at that time really were talking about setting up two competing presidents in two different capitals.
The election of 1876, though, was just one of several closely contested elections—i.e., 1876, 1880, 1884, 1888, and 1892—during a period of frequent riots and threats of “civil war.” In 1876, the Democrats won the popular vote but lost the election. Eight years later—as Democrat Grover Cleveland and Republican James Blaine faced off—the Democrats weren’t in the mood to lose yet another close election.
In 1884, as the votes were being counted it quickly became clear that New York—was going to be a key state if Cleveland was goin
Article from Mises Wire