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EDITORIAL: Trump's lack of concession, cooperation comes with real consequences

Damage of choppy presidential transition could be lasting

While President Donald J. Trump's refusal to concede may seem like petty politics, it actually comes with serious real-world consequences.  – Photo by Picryl

As we all know by now, former Vice President Joe Biden defeated President Donald J. Trump in this year’s presidential election. This is not arguable. Indeed, (President-elect) Biden is already compiling his administration’s top priorities.

“At the top of Biden's priorities is tackling the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which Trump faced strong criticism over throughout the campaign. Biden on Tuesday will also deliver remarks on the Affordable Care Act as the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether to overturn the landmark health care law,” according to NBC News.

Still, Trump refuses to concede, turning this year’s election into a circus usually reserved for failed states, which, regardless of your political views, America is not. 

Not only has Trump not conceded the election to Biden, but also the overwhelming majority of congressional Republicans are backing him.

“Leading Republicans rallied on Monday around (Trump’s) refusal to concede the election, declining to challenge the false narrative that it was stolen from him or to recognize (Biden’s) victory even as party divisions burst into public view,” according to The New York Times.

Just yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the matter, promising a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” according to Politico. Not only does that comment ignore the reality of the election, but it offhandedly dismisses the truth.

Biden, of course, has operated under the pretense of fact — he is preparing to take office in January. He finds Trump’s attempts to overturn the election as pitiable.

“I just think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly … How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president's legacy," said Biden, according to USA Today.

No kidding. But Trump does have some legal avenues to use to attempt to nullify the election results, though experts doubt they will prove fruitful for him in the end. Despite their likely futility, Trump has employed a team of lawyers to file lawsuits in certain states: Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada. 

These lawsuits will go absolutely nowhere, rest assured. But the question is not so much whether Trump will manage to pull an election victory from his derrière, but what damage this disjointed transition will do.

David Marchick, a presidential transition expert, spoke to NPR about the importance of a clean transfer of power. He brought up an important point — the 2000 presidential election, between former Vice President Al Gore and former President George W. Bush, took a while to resolve. As a result of court litigation, Bush did not have adequate time to properly institute a national security team.

And then, of course, we all know what happened on Sept. 11, 2001. In a report following the attacks, this choppy transition was cited as a cause.

“Eight months (after the delayed transition), we had 9/11. When the 9/11 Commission did their autopsy on what went wrong, one of the things they pointed to was the slow pace of the Bush administration getting our national security team in place,” Marchick said, according to NPR.

Not only does Trump’s petulant behavior feed misinformation and conspiracy, as well as erode faith in our electoral process, but it may also put people in real danger, especially when you consider the many crises that the world faces nowadays.

But another issue exists: Plenty of Trump supporters are buying into the idea that this election was somehow stolen from him, which begs the question — where do these people find their information?

There is no doubt that many people spend time in online — or real-life — echo chambers of sorts, only conversing with those who share their own views.

“Our digital social existence has turned into a huge echo chamber, where we mostly discuss similar views with like-minded peers and miserably fail to penetrate other social bubbles that are often misled by fear and xenophobia,” according to Wired.

So for conservatives or other Trump supporters who only get news from right-wing sources and only converse with right-wing peers, the idea of a stolen election is far more palatable and believable — because all their media is telling them that this is the truth.

This should serve as a lesson to us all, not only to stick to fact-based information but also to peer over toward dissenting opinions every once in a while and broaden our understanding of the ideologies at play in this country. All sides should converse and keep a dialogue going to reduce partisanship.

Otherwise, rest assured that Trump will not be in the Oval Office on Jan. 21, 2021, no matter how much he objects in the coming months. We can only hope he does not do too much damage before he goes.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 152nd editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.


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