By Brian Fraley
Wow, somebody is going to be shocked when this is all over.
Whether this is a close election or a blow out, a good quarter of the American people are going to be shocked. I just hope the shock doesn’t lead to anger that fuels violent destruction.
If you’re a die-hard supporter of President Trump, you see the huge rallies, the boat parades, the traffic jams, the social media dominance and you just know your guy is going to shock the world again. You believe the Red Wave is going to prove the political class wrong for the second time in as many national elections. The swamp (and their media allies) will be embarrassed. And you just can’t wait.
If you believe the polls and feel in your bones that America is poised to reject the President, you just know that former Vice President Biden is on the cusp of a change election. Despite being hampered by restrictions due to the current public health crisis, you’ve seen him learn from the mistakes of 2016. He’s put together strong organizations throughout the upper Midwest. He’s rebuilt the Blue Wall. The money advantage is significant and you know he’s going to win. And you just can’t wait.
One of these two groups, which each number in the tens of millions of my fellow Americans, is going to be shocked.
As someone who has run a lot of campaigns, I’ve won and lost my share of shocking races. But clearly the stakes here are bigger, and so is the post-election danger.
While there are tens of millions of people who will be shocked when the dust settles on the 2020 presidential race, there is a much smaller sliver of radicals who will be hell-bent on violent chaos. Their actions must be prevented if possible and thoroughly rebuked and prosecuted if not.
Radicals on the far-left and far right have already threatened violence. Some self-styled militias believe any result that does not end with the reelection of the President is tantamount to a coup that must be resisted. Anarchists on the left believe anything short of a repudiation of the President will be a sign that the system is rigged and therefore must be burned down.
From violent riots across America this year, to the thwarted plot to abduct and ‘try’ the Governor of Michigan, it is clear that no matter how small, these movements have the wherewithal to act. They should not be taken lightly. I worry the election results could give these sewers of hate some fertile fields.
There is ample evidence that these tiny, violent, voices are amplified on social media and elsewhere by foreign governments who don’t really care who wins, they just want to foment chaos here. A distracted and divided America leads to destabilization in the world and opportunity for others to profit.
Whether the results are decisive or narrow, many millions of Americans are going to be shocked.
Thanks to Maine and Nebraska’s foolhardy tinkering with their electoral votes, it is even possible that the end result is a 269-269 tie in the Electoral College. But please note that such an outcome would not create a Constitutional crisis. Despite what some pundits may say if that were to arise, it would just prompt a Constitutional process for the state congressional delegations to participate in the selection process.
That’s not an unforeseen crisis. In fact it was spelled out by the Founding Fathers in Article Two, Section 1, Clause 3 of the Constitution. And it would not be unprecedented, there having been three such contingent elections in the 19th Century. It would be extraordinary, but it would not be a crisis, nor an excuse for chaos.
We have been a politically-divided nation for a couple of decades. But the friction does not need to lead to a fissure.
I echo the thoughts of John. F. Kennedy. Eight years before I was born, and four months before he was elected President, he said, “I think the American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.”
If such a sentiment may have been true sixty years ago, it most certainly is true today.
No matter what happens on Tuesday night, or whenever the final votes are tallied, all of us still have a responsibility to our families, our neighbors, our community to not merely curse the darkness wherever we may see it, but to be a beacon of hope for a better way.
Our words matter. Our actions matter.
It is my fervent prayer that, regardless of the final Electoral College vote, we shun those who advocate hate, who rage, who loot, who destroy and who thrive on chaos.
Every election is the most important of our lifetime. But this year, the several months AFTER the election may be the most important period of American History since the mid 1800s.
It is not a partisan statement to say: May God Bless America.
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