By Troy Pope
In 2000, I was not old enough to vote, and I didn’t grasp the larger issues in that failed election process. I couldn’t comprehend why Vice President Al Gore didn’t challenge the election decision that favored George W. Bush.
Gore had won.
A total of 50,999,897 Americans cast their vote for the Democrat, and 50,456,002 voted for Bush.
A breakdown of the election process in Florida led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that awarded the 25 electoral votes to Bush – which clinched his win.
As a 16-year-old who was breaking out of his parents’ conservative shadow, I was too young to understand why Gore peacefully accepted the result instead of being childish and crying about his loss to anyone who would listen.
Thus, I had to endure eight years of President Bush.
George W. Bush is the fourth president in our nation’s history to take the presidency without the popular vote of the people.
In 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected president despite losing the popular and electoral votes to Andrew Jackson. Adams got only 84 electoral votes to Jackson’s 99. But in the four-way race, no one won a majority. The matter was kicked over to the House of Representatives where a so-called “corrupt bargain” was made. The speaker of the House pushed for Adams to be chosen, and when he was, Adams named the speaker as his secretary of state.
In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won the election by one electoral vote but lost the popular vote by more than 250,000 to Samuel J. Tilden. In 1888, Benjamin Harrison defeated Grover Cleveland 233 to 168 electoral votes, but Harrison lost the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes.
The Bush presidency started a war in the Middle East that destabilized the region and led to the creation of ISIS. And I, like many other Clovis kids, lost a close friend who fought in one of those wars.
Despite that, I still hold immense respect for the decision Gore made to concede the election. It was the patriotic thing to do.
Since John Adams, our second president, lost his re-election to his friend and archrival Thomas Jefferson, the loser steps aside to provide for a more peaceful, more perfect union.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sees the end is near. He knows he will not be president. If the election happened today, polls say he’d lose in a landslide.
Nonetheless, he’s banging the war drums saying the election is rigged against him, when it’s actually his own words, actions and political views that are working against him.
Trump’s rabble-rousing stirs unwarranted dissent and lessens our position on the world stage.
Whatever the world thinks of the United States on a day-to-day basis, it admires us when it comes to our ability to put aside our struggles and do what’s best for the country by stepping aside graciously.
We are better than this.
Just this past weekend, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton posted a picture of the letter former President George H. W. Bush left for her husband Bill as he assumed office after a contentious election.
The letter talked of the magnitude of the office and was the voice of a man who wanted the best for the country.
“There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice, but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course,” Bush wrote to Clinton. “Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.”
The words of wisdom came from a man whose dreams of four more years in the White House were torn down by a controversial man from Arkansas.
At a time when the nation is more polarized than at any time since the Civil War, Trump stirring this sentiment with his lies is dangerous. But he doesn’t care.
Also, there is no evidence whatsoever that it’s rigged, and calling it so undermines our governmental democracy.
He knows he’s lost the election. He’s just blowing the horn to drum up support so that after the election he can launch his Trump News Network – or whatever it will be called.
Rumored to be more right-wing than Fox News, he wants to parlay his support into the only thing in the world he truly cares about – money.