Today President Trump once again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the US election. Coincidentally, The Atlantic has a long article on exactly what that means, from voter suppression by armed thugs in the name of “ballot security”, to refusing to allow the vote to be counted, all the way to getting Republican state governments to over-rule the voters and simply appoint Trump electors themselves – effectively using the electoral college to overturn the will of the people. And you can probably bet that whatever they’ve thought of, Trump and his Republican cronies will do worse, and harder.
Reading it, I get the impression that US democracy is basicly doomed. Not just because one political faction is open about not wanting people to vote and not respecting the results if they do, but ultimately because both factions view democracy as a game to be litigated, rather than the bedrock of their legitimacy. And things there are going to have to change in a major way before they can be said to be safely democratic again.
And I’m once again thankful for our electoral system, where elections are run by a central, neutral, independent body rather than partisan local hacks with an interest in putting the thumb on the scales; where there is widespread public understanding (fostered by that neutral body) of the count process, so that everyone knows that nothing is final until the special votes come in; and that politicians accept and respect the judgement of the people, rather than trying to litigate or game it. The idea that a Prime Minister would say (repeatedly) before an election that they would refuse to accept the result if it went against them is both unthinkable here – and a guaranteed way to ensure that it does. That’s something we should all be glad of – and something we all need to protect.