In US politics, there are at least two examples from the post-1945 past of losing candidates who, in the interests of the stability of the governance mechanism of their country, conceded the Presidential race despite evidence that all had not been kosher. The first was Richard Nixon, who lost to John F. Kennedy in a 1960 US Presidential race, marred by the involvement of Kennedy’s father Joseph, a man for whom means did not matter provided the desired objective was secured. Nixon could have raised objections to several of Joe Kennedy’s sharp practices in key states, methods that skewed vote tallies other than through public choice. He declined to do so in order to avoid a messy transition from the Eisenhower period, and finally succeeded in becoming the occupant of the White House in 1969. The next graceful concession was that of Al Gore in 2000, after the US Supreme Court in effect chose George W. Bush as the President of the US by denying Gore the legal right of a recount. Instead of mobilising his supporters against such partisanship by the Supreme Court, Gore decided that national interest decreed that he avoid such a confrontation both with the Court as well as with the candidate that had been chosen by it to take over what is still the most consequential job in the world. Contrast this with Donald J. Trump, whose motto was that every election was fair as long as he was declared the winner, and grossly unfair were he to lose. As a consequence of the GOP largely morphing into the PoT (Party of Trump), only a few brave souls in that hugely consequential political formation dare to point out that those who claim that it was Donald Trump and not Joe Biden who won the 2020 US Presidential election are delusional. As a consequence, nearly four in every ten US citizens believe Biden to be an illegitimate President, certainly not their President.
As Mar-a-Lago gospel has it, ballots are no longer a reliable way of ensuring that citizens elect those they favour to high office. As a consequence, several are resorting to the bullet, not to mention the hammer (as in the case of the attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi), to ensure that democracy prevails over Democratic Party chicanery. If the party that won the White House, Senate and House of Representatives in the 2020 polls loses either in the 8 November midterms, its Johnsonian social welfare programs would be stillborn, while the Supreme Court would speed ahead with its plans to bring the Good 1950s back into every US home. Rather than concentrating on his domestic agenda, Biden has followed the example of Lyndon Johnson in wading into a quagmire through going full throttle into a conflict that had much less consequences for the future of the US than a collapse of the Biden Social Justice Plan. The domestic and global consequences of Biden falling in thrall to the Pied Piper of Kiev, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and feeding a war that ought to be starved of fuel were anticipated in these columns. Unfortunately, they were not in the White House, Whitehall, the Berlin Chancellery or the Elysee Palace. Each of the politicians who have become cheerleaders for the proxy war between Russia and NATO is experiencing the consequences of his or her error. Marine le Pen must be praying that the Ukraine war continues, for its impact will surely get her into the Elysee next time around, now that the glass ceiling has been broken by Georgia Meloni. However, as a consequence of the spread of the Trump Doctrine on election fairness, governing countries that have a Presidential system is going to prove difficult. Jair Bolsonaro may have lost to Lula da Silva in the Brazilian elections, but his supporters are readying themselves to plunge Brazil into chaos, just as Trump supporters are preparing to do should the Democrats succeed in winning the midterms despite the burden of carrying Biden on their shoulders. Nixon and Gore refused to roil the waters by contesting flawed election outcomes, while Trump and now Bolsonaro are preparing to generate chaos despite both having lost. Small wonder that Xi and Putin are smirking.