“I will look at it.”
That was Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s response at last night’s debate in Las Vegas when he was asked point-blank if he would accept the results of the upcoming election, in which he’s heavily favored to lose to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as things stand now.
Of course, Clinton was aghast, as were many others — and should have been.
But that comment by Trump, as mean-spirited, ominous and arrogant as it sounded, never really was about Trump himself. In fact, it didn’t even start with him, really — as she herself should understand from personal experience.
Many of her enemies, most supporting Trump today, simply will not accept anything less than total victory — or, perhaps more accurately, the total humiliation of a political opponent. And it’s been that way for a generation now.
In the 1980s, the first time I recall “negative advertising” being done to any great extent, primarily on Democratic candidates, it resulted in the first “Republican Revolution,” with Ronald Reagan at the top of the ticket. I suspect that it swelled the heads of the folks who supported him back then.
But I wondered: What if the Democrats got themselves a Reagan?
We found out in 1992: His name was Bill Clinton. And the conservatives, perhaps not surprisingly, freaked out.
When he ran for president 24 years ago, they did more than simply oppose his candidacy, which wouldn’t have been a problem. Indeed, in July conservative activists went so far as to file suit in Federal court in Little Rock, Ark. to have his name removed from the ballot. (That was denied.) The mud started to fly then in the hope that something would stick and he would be removed.
When nothing happened and Clinton suckered Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich into forcing two government shutdowns in 1995 that all but ensured his reelection the next year, lobbyist Grover Norquist, on election night, vowed to have him taken out. The situation with Monica Lewinsky, which happened that night, came to light the next year and a number of people set up a perjury trap which led to his impeachment — and acquittal. (Clinton ended up leaving office with the highest approval rating among modern presidents, though Obama right now is hot on his heels.)
Basically, despite their protestations to the contrary, the Clintons’ enemies don’t care about the law, the Constitution or due process — they simply want their way and will stop at absolutely nothing to get it. It’s one reason Trump is so popular — they seem him as a dictator who will cause immediate change in their direction.
That’s why, even if Hillary wins as expected, you shouldn’t expect her critics to back down — it wouldn’t surprise me if on Jan. 21, 2017 someone in Congress will raise the specter of impeachment. Are they that low?
Yes, they’re that low.