Map of the US broken up by electoral districts

A Note on Election Results

We are just under 13 days until the election here in the US, and I would like to remind everybody of one simple fact that will remain true no matter what happens:

The person that is elected in roughly two weeks is our President-elect and will be our President starting in 2017. Regardless of whether or not you voted for him or her, regardless of whether or not you agree with his or her policies, that’s our President. Full stop. End of story.

What if I think the election was stolen? Simply put, you’re wrong. Voting fraud is so rare in the US that it doesn’t hold a candle in terms of effect to the damage caused by the myth of voter fraud. Our attempts to prevent the (no exaggeration here) couple of ten-thousandths of a percent (like 25 ballots out of almost 3 million) of fraudulent activity have created more electoral “rigging” than the fraud it is supposed to prevent by several orders of magnitude.

But, various precincts are being contested!? You are correct. One of the reasons our voter fraud is so diminishingly small in the US is because we have a rigorous system in place designed to allow for contesting results, recounting close races automatically, allowing for manual counts when necessary and/or requested, and validation of the actual results. While there are numerous problems with our electoral system that result in us being ranked in the middle-third among developed nations for election fairness, we routinely receive tremendously high marks for the honesty and validity of our elections.

But Bernie should have won! That’s not entirely fair or accurate. Bernie isn’t a Democrat. Bernie has really never been a Democrat. Bernie opted to run as a Democrat and, due to the rules of his party, was really never especially likely to get the nod. In exactly the same way that if you had a club and someone just showed up one day, told you everything you were doing was wrong, and demanded to be put in charge you might opt not to put that person in charge of your club—the DNC opted not to put Bernie in charge of their club during the primary. I would have loved to have had Bernie as the choice, but I recognize that what the DNC did was all legal and legit. Was it fair? I don’t believe so, and I suspect we will see the rules for the DNC change over the next decade to correct for this sort of thing. Was is a sign that the election is rigged, though? Certainly not.

But I REALLY disagree with the winner! That’s excellent. Our system of government is made up of a series of checks and balances that are designed to ensure that the will of the people is done. Many of those are currently broken to varying degrees. If you disagree with the President, it means one of two things: either you do not speak for the majority, or your beliefs are a victim of some of the broken checks and balances. In either case, you are left with one job; get active in the political community in which you reside—then take it upon yourself to vote not just once every four years for President, but in down-ticket elections as well. The real work is done down-ticket anyway, and our unhealthy obsession with who gets to be in charge of one-third of our federal government is not doing us any favors.

But…Trump… Yeah, if he wins, that will be a bummer. Like, a serious bummer. I can’t overstate what a monumental bummer that will be, especially if you happen to not be a white male. The guy is pretty much the devil; but if elected, he’ll be President Devil and it is our job to ensure that we vote sufficiently well as to mitigate any damage he does and to make the best of whatever it is he does while he’s in the Oval Office. It’s our job as citizens. The same goes if anyone else wins. That is the main reason I’m posting this now; because it’s important to understand that I’m not just saying this if Clinton wins—I believe it regardless of who wins.

We are in this situation precisely because of how easily we’ve been divided into factions in this country; and this election is our opportunity to take it back. Enough “not my president” bullshit! Be a grown-up, recognize that part of the electoral process is not always getting what you want, and work within the system to fix what is broken and to get what it is that you really need. Politics is about compromise, and I think we’ve forgotten that in our eagerness to become divided into groups so that we can yell angrily at the other groups.

I would like to end on a quote from the (much more succinct) version of this that prompted me to write it in the first place.

If you truly love this country and believe in its Constitution and democratic practices, you WILL stand behind the winner. It is only through coming together that can we move forward. We must be a united United States.

-Adam Hazlett on Facebook