In December 2014, the US president Donald Trump tweeted: “What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each twist of fate.”
His tweet is a true statement, and it has come to hunt him six years after.
As the mail-in ballots got counted in favor of Democratic Candidate Joe Biden in the US presidential election, Trump was notably acting far from his tweet of six years ago. But it wasn’t an attitude he developed just in the weeks of the presidential election, it dated back to years before he delved into politics.
During his time as a TV reality show personality, there was a period when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row, and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him.
As the hotly contested election between Democrat nominee Hilary Clinton and Republican Trump swept across US states in 2016, the big question Trump found hard to answer was if he would accept the result of the election if he loses.
He on many occasions failed to make the verbal commitment that he will accept the election result, stoking the suspense that had trailed the campaigns over what would be if Hilary wins. At a rally in Delaware, Ohio, Trump was asked once again if he would accept the result of the election if he loses, and he answered.
“I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election,” he paused and amidst cheers added, “if I win.”
It was a development that defied what Trump believed in or so people thought when he made the 2014 tweet.
Therefore to many, his stand on the Nov. 3 election is hypocritical, but to others; it’s not surprising at all. It has been nothing short of Trump, a man who must have his way or he will cry foul and allege fraud.
“You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction he claims whatever it is rigged against him. The FBI conducted a yearlong investigation into my emails, they concluded there was no case. He said the FBI was rigged,” Hilary Clinton said on a debate night with Trump in 2016.
“He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump university gets sued for fraud and racketeering: he claims the court system and the federal judges is rigged against him,” she added.
At the wake of the Nov. 3 election result collation, Trump who has been critical of mail-in ballots was at the mercy of his own nervousness. His celebration of the early votes count was short-lived by the collation of mail-in ballots, especially in swing states. His diminishing lead was a development the president was not ready to see, so he went off with the fraud rhetoric.
“We should look at the votes. We’re just beginning the tabulation stage. We should look at these allegations. We’re seeing a number of affidavits that there has been voter fraud. We have a history in this country of election problems,” said Trump as he poured out threads of tweets alleging fraud in the election.
Compared to other Republican presidential candidates in the past, Trump’s attitude toward losing is bewildering.
In 2009, when late Senator John McCain lost to Barack Obama, his concession was seen as that of a leader who knew how to win and how to lose, who respects American institutions and decisions, and most of all, who put American interest above his political ambition.
In 2012, when Republican Senator Mitt Romney lost to Obama, his concession speech was regarded as more than acceptance of defeat; it was described by many as full of patriotism.
“I have just called president Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations; I wish all of them well, particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters. This is a time of great challenge in America, and I pray our president will be successful in guiding our nation,” he said.
This was a trajectory that Clinton didn’t find hard to follow even though the 2016 election was filled with allegations of foreign interference that favored Trump. She conceded defeat and congratulated Trump.
As Americans celebrate Biden’s win and the end of Trump’s presidency that has been characterized by controversies, the president would not guarantee a peaceful transition of power.
In several occasions prior to the election, Trump had said the election will be decided by the Supreme Court. It was for this reason many believe he hastily appointed a conservative replacement for the deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
There were many other moves by the president seen as attempts to obstruct the electoral system, and to turn the results to his favor. Trump tweeted on July 30 that the election should be delayed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote,” after alleging that mail-in ballots will lead to fraud. The idea was fiercely opposed even by members of the Republican party.
As the tabulation was going on, Trump, who has managed to influence many leaders of the GOP, was running from one court to the other seeking injunctions to stop the count and cancel the results, even though there has been no evidence of fraud so far in the election.
Trump has won and lost on many fronts, an experience believed to prepare one for better for worse events like the presidential election. But as Bill Gates said years ago; “success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
Trump’s constant foul cries are therefore seen as paranoia emanating from the premonition of losing, and desperation to cling to a prominent position. Consequently, many are afraid that as more people jump his bandwagon, his unwillingness to accept defeat will set a precedent that will undermine American democracy.