The US presidential election was more than two weeks ago, but almost every night since then we have seen protests pop up in different cities throughout the country.
People of various groups continue to show their contempt for Mr. Trump’s victory. This has been met with mixed feelings from the general population. Some invoke the First Amendment in defense of these protesters’ civil disobedience, whereas others accuse them of inciting violence and riots, being no better than domestic terrorists. While both arguments have valid points, I don’t agree with either, and would rather plead with these protestors as someone who fell under the “#NeverTrump” brand: Please stop.
While you may think you are doing the country, and possibly the world, a favor by keeping us from a Trump administration, I have bad news for you: You are not. I understand your reasoning and, to quote a wise man, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But, please, stop thinking you are accomplishing anything. At this point, you are hurting the very cause you claim to champion. This, mind you, is coming from someone who waited up until 3AM on election night, certain that any minute someone would announce that Trump’s victory was all just an elaborate prank on the American voters. Now that we have all had time to accept reality, though, it is time to talk about real options, and what is going on with these protests is not a viable one.
The United States’ constitution contains several legal avenues to help keep itself from imploding due to political negligence. There are the inherent checks and balances, nullification of unconstitutional law by state government, and, in extreme cases, impeachment powers granted to Congress, all of which have proven effective when examining our history. What will not prove to be effective, though, is undermining the democratic process by protesting the very existence of Trump’s victory, something we berated Trump himself for when he said he wouldn’t accept the results.
Since the Electoral College has not cast their votes yet, there is no authority to remove Mr. Trump from his current position, leaving us in a sort of limbo state. This means the only objective these protests can have is to convince the electors to change their votes on December 19th. Let’s put that into perspective for a minute.
In the history of our nation there have been 157 “faithless electors” who have voted other than their pledged party. Of those 157, 71 were changed because the pledged candidate died before the voters met, and none have ever changed the course of an election.
Although I sometimes find myself wondering (even sharing in their fantasies of watching Donald Trump being stripped of his president-elect status), is the juice worth the squeeze? Is protesting and attempting to coercively change the outcome of this election actually beneficial, from an anti-Trump standpoint? The answer is a firm no.
SEE ALSO: It Is Still Possible To Stop Trump! by Charles Shaffer
Forcing out Trump through a historical overturn of electorate votes means gaining four years of Hillary Clinton; which sounds good to some until you realize the true cost. Considering she went up against arguably the worst Republican candidate in the party’s history, and lost, it’s fair to say she will certainly lose to whoever they choose to put up against her re-election. Not even taking into consideration the fact that every Trump supporter – and then some – will vote against her out of sheer spite towards how she got in, her short-lived administration will most likely be uneventful, too, with a Republican Congress surely causing enough obstruction to make their actions in the Obama administration look bipartisan.
At this point I hear, “Even if the Electoral College doesn’t overturn their votes, we’re still voicing our outrage against an atrocious man, which is a good thing, right?”
Again, no. While I am all for people’s First Amendment rights, I too would like the opportunity to combat a Trump presidency if or when he does commit human rights violations. When you protest his victory as being a violation of women’s rights, or LGBT rights, or really anything other than it is, you make it harder on us. You make it harder to defeat him in four years, when they plaster all these events across the TV as a smear campaign of what your candidate encourages. You make it harder when he actually commits an impeachable offense. At that point people will no longer be listening to the anti-Trump crowd outside their door, because you’ve been out there since his victory. When you cry wolf too many times, ultimately you embolden the wolf to get away with more than he normally could.
There’s a lesson to be learned here from the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons. The English lawyer Sir Thomas More argues in favor of giving the Devil rule of law by saying:
“When the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws… man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down… do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”
As someone who does not want to empower the Devil any more than he already is, I urge you to think about what you are doing. Even if it is for no other reason than not wanting this same course of action used against the candidate you finally approve of, please stop.
* Thomas J. Eckert is a college student graduating with his degree in December. He studies economics and history and writes in his spare time on political and economic current events.
Thomas J. Eckert
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