By Tom Ballard
In the midst of the political bickering, name-calling and all-around nasty shaming of the 2016 presidential election, there is one important and beautiful truth to point out: the system worked… at least for the Republicans.
It seemed like an eternity ago when the primary election cycle was in full swing for both major political parties. Names such as Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and John Kasich were relevant then. Now, they are as relevant as Martin O’Malley or George Pataki. Since then, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made claims that the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, could very well be rigged against his favor.
According to a New York Times article from Thursday, Oct. 13, Trump has lashed out against fellow Republicans for being “disloyal” following the surfacing of a video from 2005 in which Trump makes sexually explicit remarks about women. He went on to say that that the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has been trying to sabotage his debate performances by selecting unfriendly moderators and giving him a “defective” microphone at the first debate on Monday, Sept 26.
Trump complaining about the outcome of November’s election is nothing new. In August, Trump griped that if he loses the swing state of Pennsylvania in the election, it will be because of cheating, according to The Hill. It has gotten to the point that even fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have advised Trump to stop telling voters that the election will be rigged, a Politico article from Tuesday, Oct 11, said.
This is not the first election in which Trump has called foul. During the primary election, he accused GOP leaders of trying to prevent him from getting the nomination.
Despite that, the party was unable to stop him from winning its nomination. According to a Washington Post article from Wednesday, June 8, Trump received the most votes that a candidate has ever received in a Republican primary — about 14.5 million — in a field that once totalled 17 candidates. He also received the most number of votes that were made against the GOP front-runner — a little over 15 million — according to the same article.
In other words, Trump won the Republican nomination fair and square. Republican voters denied their party’s leadership the ability to extend their nomination to another candidate — any other candidate — and, instead, voted for the person they wanted: Trump.
This is different from the Democratic primary. According to a New York Times article from Friday, July 22, leaked emails from party higher-ups — including then-chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — showed that the leadership was favoring the Clinton campaign while trying to drag down the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
In a campaign full of mudslinging, email leaks and meaningless endorsements, there is one good piece of news: the system worked in the Republican primary. Like Trump or not (and believe me, as a Republican, I do not), the Republican primary was decided by the will of the voters and not by big money or the party establishment.
If there is anything that can be celebrated in this election cycle, it’s that the American people still have the power to make important decisions within major political parties. But alas, one can not have their cake and eat it, too. This year’s election cycle has been plagued with placing showmanship over policy-making. Perhaps in 2020, we can have a serious presidential election and keep the clowns where they belong.