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“Can’t Bear to Lose? Stop Trying to Overturn Elections!”

As we come to terms with the unprecedented events of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, it is important to consider the possible repercussions of the existing appeal to overturn the results. Specifically, overturning a lost election carries serious implications and can be more damaging than simply licking one’s wounds and accepting a loss.

The precedent set by a president attempting to overturn a lost election is dangerous and impacts the integrity of the entire election system and can set an example of flippancy towards established practices. In doing so, this message may inspire future candidates to start a kind of “power grab” in which the opinions of the voters are disregarded. Such efforts discredit the power of the ballot box, thereby undermining the public’s trust in the electoral process and inspiring political disillusionment.

Furthermore, those attempting to challenge election results in this manner may not fully understand the implications of doing so. Efforts to manipulate the election results are not only divisive, but also clearly violate public trust and democratic principles, and can even lead to a cloud over the legitimacy of the elected leaders.

Despite the obvious problems, it is unclear as to how the problem of “election overturning” can be addressed once it has been initiated. This is because overturning a lost election requires the cooperation of other political bodies, including the judicial system, legislatures, and even the executive branch compromised of the president and their advisors. Overruling a lost election requires consensus from all three branches, and is a seemingly paradoxical goal to achieve.

Ultimately, those hoping to overturn a lost election must understand the consequences of their choices. What follows any attempts to overturn a lost election is inevitably chaos, disenfranchisement, and a deep public distrust in the government and its political processes. If the goal is true democracy, then those efforts should be focused on bringing citizens together and rebuilding trust in the electoral process, rather than undermining it.

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