Should Trump commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses?


Fact Box

  • On Wednesday September 23, President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if Biden won the election. He stated, “Get rid of the ballots, and you’ll have a very peaceful...there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”
  • In 2016, Trump had the same sentiment in the election against Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
  • In the 2016 US presidential election, nearly one quarter of votes were cast by post; that number is expected to rise for the 2020 election. 
  • According to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice, the rate of voting fraud overall in the US is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%. 
  • Election Day is November 3, 2020. Election night could continue for “a week or longer” because of the coronavirus pandemic changing voting habits and potential slow postal delivery.

Andrew (Yes)

Peaceful transfer of power is a fundamental concept for democracy. Elections in the United States are free, fair, and historically have had low rates of fraud. While President Trump is attempting to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election by asserting that mail-in ballots will lead to high voter fraud levels, there is little evidence to support his claims. The people speak with their votes, and elected officials must accept our democracy's results to be legitimate.

While the democracy of the United States is not perfect, it is ranked highly in annual surveys by organizations that study issues of ballot access, voter suppression, and other benchmarks of democracy. These organizations monitor the freedom and fairness of elections, reporting on any irregularities. Because the United States is consistently rated as a strong democracy, President Trump must accept the November election results.

If President Trump were not to accept the election results, it could throw the economy into turmoil. Uncertainty is a factor that leads to poor market performance, and few things could be more uncertain than a president rejecting the results of an election. This uncertainty could turn into violence, with several top military officials publishing an open letter asserting their willingness to remove the President forcefully if necessary. This violence and any protesting or rioting would damage personal property and businesses, hurting the economy.

The United States has a robust and fair electoral system, and a peaceful transfer of power is essential. President Trump must accept the election results to preserve democratic norms and avoid massive disruption.

Simone (No)

Donald Trump should not peacefully transfer the POTUS station to Joe Biden in November until it is confirmed he has not won. There are too many factors that point to the potential of there being a rigged election. Likewise, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has exhibited some genuinely worrying behavior, showing he is not able to carry the office. He increasingly comes off confused and dazed; he has forgotten where he is, key American historical phrases, the word 'coronavirus,' the current year, and that he is running for POTUS; he has rambled through questions illogically, and seems generally unaware. If he is experiencing cognitive decline, it would be irresponsible to leave the American people in his hands.

Another area for serious concern is the push for mail-in balloting. Unlike absentee voting (originally created to service the army's personnel stationed away from home), mass mail-in votes are only to accommodate those who don't want to leave their houses to attend nearby voting stations. There have been months of murmuring regarding how easily mail-in balloting could rig the election's outcome. In the 2016 race, Donald Trump won the election in spite of exit polls projecting a Democrat win. This is due, it seems, to what Trump refers to as his silent majority—citizens who secretly voted Trump even though they proclaimed to vote Hilary upon exit. Based on this, there is a chance that, even if Joe Biden wins in November, and even if the exit polls match this outcome, those same polls could be false. This in addition to the recorded instances of voter fraud, these are genuine areas that could cause concern for a rigged election.

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