When civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, told NBC News’ Chuck Todd, on Friday, “I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president.” Trump responded in the worst possible way. The chasm of our political divide continued to widen. Let’s not forget, Donald Trump was elected to lead us. All of us. Is that what he’s doing? As long as he operates as a retaliatory demagogue we will remain a nation divided. So the question remains, is Trump legitimate? I’m not questioning if he won the electoral college or if he will occupy the oval office. I’m questioning if he can be accepted as legitimate in the hearts and minds of critical thinkers.
Legitimate can be defined as “being in accordance with established principles or standards or in accordance with the laws of reasoning; logically inferable” and I think Representative Lewis may be correct.
The first question is, however, if Trump was, in fact, elected legitimately. It’s no secret that voter suppression activities, both foreign and domestic contributed to the results of the election. Oppressive voter ID laws, shortened early voting, reduced registration hours as well as consolidated and over crowded polling locations were the norm in states governed by republican majorities. And Putin. Putin performed espionage aimed at undermining our confidence in the democratic process. I needn’t outline it here. Any reputable media source has enough detail for you to know it’s true.
Second I wonder if Trump can perform legitimately. Is he capable of doing the job? Does he possess the intellectual curiosity required or the mental capacity to learn the responsibilities? And beyond that is he even capable of acting presidential? The guy really needs to be seen as presidential. We need to have confidence in him that he won’t screw everything up. We need to not be embarrassed to call him our leader. If we can not accept him as presidential how can he expect to be seen as legitimate.
Finally, if Trump has any hope of being recognized as legitimate he needs to hold himself up as such. With the exception of his acceptance speech Trump has done nothing to assure his detractors that he will do anything to hear their concerns. To the contrary. He has expressed that red states would be treated better than blue states. He has expressed that news media who are complimentary are thought of more highly than others. He has not apologized or reached out in any way to any of the people or groups that he attacked during the campaign. If you hold yourself up as an opponent to the majority of the electorate you shouldn’t be surprised when they believe you and say NOT MY PRESIDENT.
People demanding Trump be recognized as legitimate are hung up on the technicality of the definition of the word. I’m saying to be legitimate Trump must be seen as such in our hearts and minds. If we don’t believe he is legitimate he can sing it until he’s blue in the face. The only thing holding Trump back from being a legitimate president is for him to act like it. There is no test for legitimacy other than our understanding he truly wants to be president for all of us.