The USA may face a very dangerous situation on November 9th

P112912PS-0444 - President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the Oval Office - crop
How a Presidential election concession normally looks – Mitt Romney and Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office after the latter’s election

I should declare an interest. I am a great Woody Harrelson fan. He could read out passages from the New York phone directory and I would think it is great.

There’s a scene in the film “Game Change” with our Woody at his best. “Game change” is the film that looks at Sarah Palin’s selection and campaign as Vice Presidential nominee in the US 2008 Presidential election.

The scene in question is after Barack Obama’s election is confirmed, and as John McCain is planning his concession speech. Sarah Palin, played by Julianne Moore, is determined to also make her own speech at the same occasion, praising John McCain.

Steve Schmidt, the day-to-day operations chief for McCain’s campaign played by Harrelson, is having none of it. He takes Palin aside to a private room. After Palin refuses to back down, Schmidt gets angry and blasts off. In doing so, he emphasises the crucial importance of the losing Presidential candidate’s concession speech in American Democracy. He says that the speech “legitimises (the) accession” of the Commander-in-Chief, that it is a “serious, solemn occasion”, a “proud American tradition” and, finally:

…a sacred speech. This is how it has been done at every Presidential election since the dawn of the Republic.

Sarah Palin didn’t get to make her speech. You can watch the scene below on YouTube.

I mention this because it appears that we are heading for a very dangerous situation in US history. It would seem that, if Donald Trump loses the forthcoming election, he will not concede defeat. He is repeatedly calling the election a “fix” and asking supporters to watch voters at polling stations to spot any signs of fraud.

Politico reports:

No one knows how to handle what might be about to hit on Nov. 9. Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to lose on Nov. 8, refuse to concede the election, and teeter the country into an unprecedented crisis of faith in government. Republicans and Democrats, in Washington and beyond, fear that the aftermath of the 2016 election will create a festering infection in the already deep and lasting wound that the campaign is leaving on America.

The real Steve Schmidt has commented:

What this would be is an assault on the foundations of the long-established traditions of the country, an assault on democracy, vandalizing it…

There is even talk of potential armed rebellion after the election.

Here’s that clip from “Game Change”, I thoroughly recommend watching it – it’s a cracker. What a great actor Woody Harrelson is:

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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20 Comments

  • Daniel Walker 17th Oct '16 - 10:06am

    Is is worth noting that Mr McCain’s concession speech was a model of grace in defeat, especially coming from a man who must have known it was his last chance.

  • Matt (Bristol) 17th Oct '16 - 10:43am

    I am hearing that pro-Trump Republicans are openly talking up a split / civil war in the event of a Trump defeat, turning on the non-Trump leadership as traitors, and declaring the two-party system ‘dead’.

    If this isn’t 100% hyberbole and gamesmanship (and tempers seem too bitter for it to all bluster), US politics is entering a very interesting (not necessarily in a good way) phase.

    (And, of course, we cannot emphatically discount a Trump defeat – pro-Clinton forces should not count their chickens yet!).

  • The danger begins on November 8th. Some Trump supporters have expressed their intention to go to Polling Booths in African-American areas & “intimidate” the voters.

  • I think the fact that Trump is a reality TV celeb is leading to a lot conjecture about possible plot developments with no bearing on what will actually happen. Also, and I hate saying this because I am basically of the Left, “progressives” have a marked tendency to go into meltdown about Republican candidates and often seem to believe that biggest threat to humanity is mythical “angry white workingmen”, who are bigger danger than ISIS etc.

  • Barry Snelson 17th Oct '16 - 12:11pm

    Firstly, we have our own “deep and lasting wound” going on which seems to get ever more uncloseable, , day by day, and secondly I sometimes catch myself hoping Trump will win as he seems to be the only Anglo-American politician not openly agitating for thermo-nuclear war with Russia and her ally, China.

  • Matt (Bristol) 17th Oct '16 - 12:14pm

    Barry – I think Trump is committed to economic warfare with China.

  • Andrew McCaig 17th Oct '16 - 12:27pm

    Barry,

    I noted that amongst all the rhetoric Clinton ruled out military intervention in the Syrian civil war, which is comforting.

    When you have an election where one candidate appears to be in the pocket of the Russian President it is understandable that the Clinton campaign emphasises the opposite. I do not expect any significant change in American foreign policy if she gets in, and Obama has been admirably cautious about getting into any military confrontation with Russia

  • Barry Snelson 17th Oct '16 - 12:59pm

    Andrew,
    Thank you and I hope you are right. An interchange of 10,000 thermo-nuclear warheads would be a wake-up call for the editors of the Times and the Telegraph.

  • Nick Collins 17th Oct '16 - 1:15pm

    I see that Guildford LibDems are going for a drink on 11/11: sounds like a good idea.

  • Nick Collins 17th Oct '16 - 1:23pm

    Correction: they’re going on the 9th, of course.

  • “I think Trump is committed to economic warfare with China.”
    I think that’s called capitalism, or globalism, or something like.? It’s the other war that people are a tad more worried about,.. the kind that’s a lot hotter,.. and a lot less forgiving…?

    In the meantime,… Andrew McCaig is comforted that Syria is safe in Hillary Clinton’s peacemaker hands saying:
    “I noted that amongst all the rhetoric Clinton ruled out military intervention in the Syrian civil war, which is comforting.”
    A little less comforting for Iran however,.. when Hillary states, with more venom :

    “She warned: “What I said and what I mean is that there will have to be consequences for any violation by Iran and that ……*the nuclear option should not at all be taken off the table*. That has been my position consistently.”

    Nice one…Hillary,.. you go for it gal…! I hope Americans vote in a president who shows the greatest measure of mental stability and peacemaking skills…?? I’m frankly glad I don’t have a vote.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Oct '16 - 5:26pm

    Nice one Paul, it’s a terrific film because Julianne Moore is wonderful in it , as good as Harrelson is , it’s her picture !

    I think that Trump will get nowhere with such tactics , Romney he is not , that man is the best of his party’s leadership, but the current nominee is a spent force as far as real influence , his is a circus leaving town !

  • Trump and the Clintons have been close friends for years. I am far from convinced this is a genuine contest, more a hijacking of the Republican Party. Trump’s words and actions are not those of a serious candidate but designed to lose and to split and destroy the Republicans. Who hasn’t he deliberately offended? I suspect he’s wondering why he still has any support. When Clinton wins he’ll be funding Democrats again within months.

  • J Dunn – Clinton is in the same evilness area as Trump ? Get a life.

  • Matt (Bristol) 18th Oct '16 - 10:46am

    J Dunn – a tariff war with China, with the threat of possible further aggression behind it, is neither economics nor capitalism as usual – http://nicktyrone.com/look-trumps-seven-point-foreign-policy-plan-tells-lot-possible-future/

    I was countering Barry’s assumption that Trump was pacific in his intentions towards China specifically (and I am not sure we can describe China consistneetly as Russia’s ‘ally’ these days).

    Yes, nuclear war is a bigger threat than economic warfare. And _both_ candidates have sabre-rattled on that count.

    To be honest, and answering Barry’s point in fuller terms, maybe I’m being blasé – but I trust/assume that when a former secretary of state says the nuclear option ‘cannot be ruled out’ they are using the possibility of nuclear threat to apply diplomatic pressure. It’s not the way I’d prefer any nation to do politics, for sure, but we know it happens and nuclear war does not inevitably result.

    But, by contrast, when an inexperienced candidate with an aggressive stance towards well, everything and seemingly no need to consider any opinion outside his own head and maybe his own country, proposes removing US troops from Korea and Japan and says that he would require those nations to defend themselves with nuclear weapons and be prepared for the US to break the non-proliferation pact to equip them to do so, I know whom I would accuse of placing international security at risk…

    I am not a fan of Clinton’s approach to foreign policy – as an outsider. You can argue it is the world’s curse that the US binary system has thrown up such an artificial choice for the nation. But I know whom I am rooting for of the two options on the table and it’s not Trump.

  • Andrew McCaig 18th Oct '16 - 10:56am

    J Dunn,

    I think you will find that Clinton’s remarks on Iran have been taken out of context and twisted by her many enemies, and since they are all conversations behind closed doors they are no more verifiable than the Sturgeon leaks that got Alistair Carmichael in so much trouble…

    The reality is that the Obama administration with Clinton at the helm of its foreign policy has come to deal with Iran that confounded the Washington hawks… Talk tough and act sensible seems to be the style in this case…

  • Simon Banks 18th Oct '16 - 9:21pm

    I’s certainly possible that Trump supporters will try some intimidation at the polling stations and how that’s dealt with may depend on who controls the state or city. But I can’t see it having a big effect. If they try to intimidate mainly African American areas, they will be rather unwise.

    Refusing to concede afterwards? Somehow I doubt it: Trump is a self-obsessed actor and I fancy he’d take the opportunity to sound magnanimous, maybe make Hillary look mean and attack his Republican opponents. Those opponents would not condone wrecking tactics and would co-operate with Clinton forces in the Senate and House. Armed rebellion? There was a big White Power rebellion when Obama was elected, wasn’t there? Worst come to the worst, the police and military have a vested interest in order (think the South African changeover to Mandela) and Barack Obama remains President till January 20th, with considerable emergency powers.

  • Isn’t this really about him starting a Trump TV to rival Fox? Given his business acumen to date it’ll be a flop.

  • John Mitchell 21st Oct '16 - 6:00pm

    @ Lorenzo Cherin

    “Romney he is not , that man is the best of his party’s leadership.”

    I don’t know how you can say that with any true seriousness. Mitt Romney tried in 2008 and hopelessly failed to win the Republican nomination, he thought he could just win with money. In 2012, he had all the money and special interests behind him, much like Hillary Clinton did in 2008 and now in 2016. Mitt Romney ran a lifeless campaign and only managed to take back North Carolina. He was just as elitist as Clinton is in this cycle. I believe the parallels are there.

    @Andrew McCaig

    “I noted that amongst all the rhetoric Clinton ruled out military intervention in the Syrian civil war, which is comforting.”

    But she does support a no fly zone. According to Marine Corps General, Joseph Dunford, the only way that is achievable is by a war with Syria and Russia. The prospect of WWIII is not just some tin foil hat conspiracy. I do worry and particularly if Hillary Clinton wins the race for the White House about a more aggressive militarism by America which could escalate to a world war.

    As for Donald Trump not stating he’ll accept the result of the election I think it may well be rigged. It’s a possibility. In 2000, it well could have been. Jeb Bush (George W. Bush’s brother) was governor in the integral Florida in that year. Thank goodness that Britain retains paper voting. I’m highly suspicious of the electronic voting systems that are used in the states. Couple that with the fact that minorities consistently get shafted and aren’t allowed to vote due to technical difficulties at polling stations.

    Trump risks assassination from elites that don’t want him to win or rather will not let him. I don’t particularly like the character of either candidate but the winner should win, without any sort of malpractice. There’s already evidence that Clinton did this during the Democratic primary process against Bernie Sanders. It’s not Trump that’s responsible for scepticism within the democratic process, I think that’s already there and justifiably so.

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