Following the second presidential debate, the news media savaged Donald Trump for refusing to say whether he would accept the outcome of the presidential election, regardless of the results. Hillary Clinton, true to her promise made in the same debate, has accepted the outcome of the election with grace and dignity, at least in public. Many of her followers have chosen not to show so much class. As Donald Trump threatened to do, they are so far refusing to accept the election results.
Not that they don’t have the right to protest the election outcome. According to news reports, in a few scattered incidents Trump supporters have been beaten or otherwise subjected to violence (and I thought it was Trump’s supporters who were supposed to be the violent ones—silly me). But aside from these apparently isolated incidents, most acts of resistance have been constitutional. Whether they’ll serve any useful purpose other than to boost Trump’s political strength by exposing the hypocrisy of Hillary’s supporters remains to be seen.
Consider, first and foremost, the attempts to persuade members of the Electoral College pledged to vote for Trump next month to switch their votes to Hillary. Some electors are reporting being inundated with email making the case for Hillary. The actual probability that any will violate his or her pledge to vote for Trump is almost nil. After all, all the men and women elected to the Electoral College were nominated by their state party organizations and had to demonstrate commitment to their respective parties. Republican electors are no more likely to vote for Hillary than her electors would vote for Trump. By the way, it must be asked of the protesters trying to overturn the electoral vote—why is it okay for you to challenge the election results and it wasn’t for Trump to hint he might do so if he lost?
Consider also the various mass demonstrations and other protests against Trump. Trump won enough popular votes among white male blue collar workers who used to vote Democratic to carry previously blue states for the Republicans. Michigan and Pennsylvania, for example, went Republican for the first time since 1988, and Wisconsin since 1984. It’s safe to assume the protests will in no way make these disaffected Democrats think they were wrong to vote for Trump. And it’s even safer to say that those who voted for Trump because he rejected political correctness will not be swayed by the spectacles of campus crybabies—snowflakes—demanding their safe spaces, warm milk, warm puppies, and coloring books, from university administrators who themselves have less backbone than jellyfish. To many Trump supporters the protesters will confirm the wisdom of their votes in the first place.
America’s cultural elite are getting into the act of rejecting Trump too. “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady.” So said fashion designer Sophie Theallet. Will this win more sympathy for Hillary—or Melania? By the way, I think Ms. Theallet, however arrogant or self-righteous she may be, is well within her rights to choose whom, and whom not, to do business with, even though Christians in the wedding industry apparently lack that right.
And what about the way the cast of Hamilton chose to school Vice President-Elect Mike Pence when he saw the show over the weekend. The New York Times reported that breaking character:
“Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Vice President Aaron Burr, took a microphone and pointed toward Mr. Pence.
“’You know, we have a guest in the audience this evening — Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out but I hope you hear just a few more moments,’ Mr. Dixon said. As some in the audience booed, Mr. Dixon hushed them, then added, ‘Sir, we hope that you will hear us out.’
“As Mr. Pence stood by the exit doors, Mr. Dixon said, ‘We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.’”
Talk about being blindsided! The cast was acting well within its constitutional right of free speech to sandbag Mr. Pence, and its spokesman acted as if he were being respectful. But I suspect that had the Vice-President-Elect been forewarned and given a chance to respond, the confrontation might have seemed more fair. As it is, a backlash against Hamilton may be growing.
Among losing presidential candidates, Hillary is in a small minority. It is projected that when the final votes are counted, she may have won about two million more popular votes than Trump. Should she choose to join the small group of losing presidential nominees who successfully won renomination—William Jennings Bryan, Thomas E. Dewey, Adlai Stephenson, Richard Nixon—she might well be on the way to achieving what Nixon did: Winning the second time around. But her supporters, with their futility, infantilism, and arrogance, are undermining her chances at a comeback. Trump and his supporters should urge them to keep it up.
Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present). He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014. He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.