In the final debate of the campaign season, the Republican nominee for President of the United States did not answer a fundamental question. A question that gets at the very fabric of our democratic republic. When asked if he would accept the outcome of the election, Mr. Trump stated, “I will look at it at the time”. When pressed on an answer, he repeated, “What I’m saying is, I’ll tell you at the time, I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?” These responses, coupled with the fact that he has been floating the idea (or, really, outright stating) that the election might be rigged, to his followers, shows his true colors. This is, as Secretary Clinton stated, “horrifying”, but, perhaps, Mr. Trump has a point. He believes the system is rigged because he is not winning in the polls, but if we really stop to think about it, the system is rigged – just not in the way that Mr. Trump thinks it is. The system is rigged in favor or white, straight, wealthy, males. It always has been. Here are a few ways that the structural systems at play, in the United States, work for people like Mr. Trump:
- There is still systematic racism in the United States: Despite the fact that we elected President Obama to office (twice!), we are not in a post-racial society – as some right-wingers would have you believe. There is bias in our systems of government, law enforcement, education, finance, etc. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down sections of the Voting Rights act, allowing States to move forward with changes to voting procedures. This was deemed unconstitutional, by the majority, because they believe that it is no longer necessary. The trouble with this decision is that it allows States that have a history of voter suppression and segregation (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia specifically) to now make changes to their voting procedures without oversight. The justices that were in the majority, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas, believed that we are in a post-racial society, but we are not. Striking down this act allows the States to make sweeping reforms in voting procedures which most often give favor to the white, affluent, male candidates in each race.
- We still have not passed the ERA: Women have had the ability to vote since 1920, but still have not been afforded full and equal rights under the Constitution. It has taken 240 years for a woman to get this far in a Presidential election and Secretary Clinton still faces much more scrutiny than her white, male peers. Women have been struggling for equality for the entire history of this nation and still encounter sexism at work, at school, in the home, and in the public square. When Secretary Clinton is elected, we will have a small piece of the puzzle filled in, but there are still many pieces missing that we need to work hard to put together if we want to have full and equal rights.
- LGBTQ individuals still encounter danger and unequal treatment: The gay rights movement has gained momentum over the past few decades, and reached several milestones in the last 10 years, but even with the strides that have been made, there are still hurdles to overcome for full equality. Trans people have had a particularly difficult time winning the right just to be able to use a bathroom that is consistent with their gender identification. Basically, they want to be able to pee in peace, without the threat of violence. This seems like a pretty basic right, but there are those among us that would seek to not allow this right. They do not mind that the current Republican nominee for President has sexually assaulted and harassed women, including walking into a women’s dressing room at the Miss Universe pageant, but they are afraid of someone using the stall next to them in the bathroom, who does not have matching sex organs. This country is still so concerned with puritanical ways and that is what is truly hurting us. Live and let live and support the human rights campaign every chance you get!
So – Trump is right – the system is rigged. But it is rigged in his favor and in favor of all the white men that have come before him. Rigged in favor of all 42 of the previous Presidents. So, when he loses the election, on November 8th, he needs to suck it up and concede like every loser before him has. Especially if it is a landslide. If he decides to not concede, he is only harming the country. He will be making a mockery of our democratic republic system of governance. He already has made a mockery of it, simply by virtue of rising to nominee of a major party. After the election is over, the people need to truly revolt against this two party system. We need to shake it up and start over. Neither party is good for the country and the only way to fix it is to have a major movement. Something akin to the Sanders movement, but without the ‘bros’. A movement that includes everyone, regardless of political affiliation, race, sex, gender representation, sexual orientation, ability, etc. We need to continue to make the country great by continuing our tradition of upheaval. Without that, we are no longer patriots.