Throughout history, American voters have watched their candidate win, lose or decide to run again but very rarely, if ever, have we seen an entire voter base disregard their candidate’s loss and claim victory. The 2020 election made history in many aspects, but most notably, in the fact that Donald Trump refused to concede and convinced his supporters that they had been wronged.
In grade school, we learn about our country’s power as a democracy, with the crown jewel of that being free and fair elections. Yet, our country just witnessed a most blatant attempt to steal a presidential election. Starting in 2021, elections in the United States are no longer simple. The innate trust that American voters had in our electoral system is fundamentally broken.
Trump did more than instill his followers with the belief that he rightfully won the election. He opened the door for future corruption. He found and exposed the weak points in our electoral system. His attempt was without success, but it set an example of how to bully, manipulate and take advantage of the complicated system’s smaller parts.
On Jan. 2, 2021, Trump called the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger to discuss his loss of Georgia. He told him, “there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.” This leaked conversation caused an uproar among those fearful of Trump’s intentions. In this instance, Raffensperger knew that, despite his previous declared support of Trump, he was entrusted with upholding the sanctity of the election. However, this revealed that if a party can elect corrupt election officials, they can alter results to favor their party.
Similarly, whatever party has the House or Senate majority can abuse that power to overturn results. We saw this with the 147 Republicans that voted not to certify electoral votes. They did so claiming they were protecting our democracy when, in reality, they were the ones fighting against it. However, the events that took place outside the Capitol before the vote show that Americans no longer have faith in the process.
Our country is in a dangerous position. Both major parties witnessed that the electoral process that should be simple and trusted, can be easily manipulated. Republicans or adamant Trump supporters experienced what they believe was a stolen election. From their perspective, the damage has been done, and those in power have overturned the will of the people. Democrats and Biden supporters watched as a sitting president attempted to sow doubt in the validity of the election results, and he did so easily.
No matter your party affiliation, it is clear that to most Americans that future elections could be challenged and possibly overturned. Especially if those in power, whether they be federal or state politicians, are willing to put their own party’s interests ahead of those of the American voters’.