The president vs. democracy: By refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, Trump threatens the very foundation of the American republic

By Daily News Editorial Board, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

The president, convinced his reelection was doomed as the country teetered on the edge, with Americans violently split amid racial animosity and charges that he had badly mismanaged an unprecedented national calamity that had claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands, wrote the following and had his Cabinet sign it sight unseen, bonding their pledge with their signatures:

"This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the president-elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards."

The words come from the only predecessor Donald Trump compares himself to, Abraham Lincoln, on Aug. 23, 1864, when he feared the Civil War was going badly and he would lose the November election.

The history lesson is urgent for all because Trump, a dictator in training, has again refused to promise to do what every president before him has done: turn over the keys to the White House and peacefully transfer power to his lawful successor. That very fact makes it imperative for voters to turn out in droves and vote him out resoundingly.


Wednesday evening, Trump answered a question about yielding the presidency, of which he is a temporary occupant, to Joe Biden should he lose, saying "We're going to have to see what happens," because, "you know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster." Then: "Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very peaceful - there won't be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation."

For the Republic, for the Union, vote him out.

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