What if we lose? Then we lose. That’s what happens in a representative democracy (or democratic republic, for those pedants that want to quibble). You present your case to the people, and your opponent does the same. And the people make their choice. Their choice isn’t always rational. Sometimes, neither are their options.
But to lose means that more people than not disagreed with your side. It means, in that instance, the will of the people went against you.
You have a couple options.
You can try to figure out why you lost. You can look at the facts, talk to people who went the other way. Sometimes you find yourself starting to agree with their side. More often, however, you find yourself resolved to make a better case next time around. And, as has been the case in the United States for 240 years, there will be a next time.
Or, you can pout and say never mind, I’m done with this democracy junk. Become apathetic, and move on.
That option isn’t a productive one. But it is an option.
You know what isn’t an option?
Violence. Intimidation. Armed revolt.
This was decided in 1865. Quite decisively. Violent revolution as a reasonable counter against a functioning democratic system was put to rest that year.
If the majority decide, it isn’t tyranny. It means they collectively decided.
“Tyranny of the majority” is a meaningless phrase unless it leads to actual tyranny.
It’s usually a rallying call for sore losers.
In this presidential election, only one major candidate openly embraces authoritarianism. Only one candidate has openly expressed displeasure at freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Only one has threatened to imprison a political opponent, while being unable to actually name a crime she committed. Only one has openly admitted – even bragged – about committing violent sexual assault. Only one has shown an interest in actually using nuclear weapons. Only one lies (or is flat wrong) about policy statements 75% of the time. Only one has been accused by the freaking Nixon administration of housing discrimination. Only one accused an opponent’s father of helping assassinate President Kennedy. Only one wants to violate multiple Constitutional amendments to deport American citizens and ban every single adherent of the world’s second largest religion from the country. Only one candidate wants to restart a racist and failed police procedure that was already deemed unconstitutional.
It is that particular candidate who has supporters that would take up arms if their chosen person loses.
Committing violence (or threatening to commit violence) in order to force a majority to accept the will of a minority in the name of a corrupt demagogue… what would be the best phrase for that?
Tyranny of the minority in the name of an enthusiastic authoritarian?
Nah. That’s a little clunky.
How about… Attempted coup?
How about… Traitors to democracy, will of law, and the Constitution?
Yeah. That works.
You guys aren’t “patriots.”
You’re ignorant, sore losers.
Unfortunately, we’re talking about ignorant sore losers with guns.
And this could be a problem.
There’s a bunch of Turner Diaries cosplayers out there who want to try to make it happen. Historically, the vast majority of these people don’t actually amount to anything. They make grand proclamations. They masturbate to images of Timothy McVeigh. Then they go back to their mom’s basement and rant about “libtards” from behind their Gadsen flag avatars.
But there are quite a few armed extremists who have bought into Trump’s contention that the economic and political systems are “rigged.” Many have been conned by the idea that Hillary Clinton will become a despot.
There’s no logic or semblance of realism in those beliefs. But there are enough people who have chugged the (orange) Kool-Aid that there is a legitimate reason to worry. I’ve already discussed the possibility of Trump refusing to accept a loss in next week’s election.
He certainly could be able to rally enough people behind the lie that Hillary Clinton represents true danger to the nation. We have had right-wing domestic terror attacks before. We need to remain vigilant and be aware that it could happen again.
Violence is a tool of last resort. Revolution should only happen when the institutions fail. When the will of the people has been subverted. Potentially violent Trump supporters aren’t threatening violence to save America. They’re threatening violence because the Republican Party has spent decades telling them government is always the problem. They’re threatening violence because Donald Trump has spent 18 months encouraging such action, occasionally even directly. They’re threatening violence because they’ve been suckered.
This wouldn’t be a revolution. This would be an act of treason and an attack on our democratic values. Intimidating those who disagree with you is as undemocratic and unAmerican as it gets.
As always, there are many who say it better than I do. Please check out the following links discussing the potential for violent reaction to a Trump loss.