De­bates over, it’s time for vot­ers to de­cide

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE -

Vot­ers will choose the next pres­i­dent of the United States in a lit­tle more than two weeks.

Our long, na­tional night­mare is over. Can we vote now? Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump met Wed­nes­day night for their third and fi­nal pres­i­den­tial de­bate. Ap­pro­pri­ately enough, they shared a stage in Las Vegas.

The only sure bet in this sur­real cam­paign is that the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee would say or do some­thing out­ra­geous. He did not dis­ap­point.

Don­ald Trump, the real es­tate mogul and re­al­ity TV star, once again stole the head­lines with his as­ser­tion that he will not nec­es­sar­ily accept the re­sults of next month’s elec­tion if he loses to Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton.

His com­ment drew an audi­ble gasp from the au­di­ence gath­ered on the cam­pus of the Univer­sity of Las Vegas.

Trump’s com­ment earned him another round of con­dem­na­tions. His brash talk was la­beled a “great dis­ser­vice” to the coun­try and “be­yond the pale.”

And those were the Repub­li­can re­ac­tions.

Trump’s com­ments came on the heels of sev­eral weeks in which he had adapted the cam­paign tac­tic of push­ing the no­tion that the elec­tion was some­how “rigged” by a ca­bal of Democrats, left-wingers and their min­ions in the me­dia.

Make no mis­take. This is dan­ger­ous talk, al­beit hardly sur­pris­ing coming as sim­ply the lat­est un­con­ven­tional bom­bast from a most un­con­ven­tional can­di­date.

But his as­ser­tions of a rigged elec­tion and his boast that he will “keep you in sus­pense” in terms of ac­cept­ing the will of the peo­ple strikes at the heart of our democ­racy.

Trump’s dam­ag­ing rhetoric will no doubt in­flame his base, and raises the specter of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans not ac­cept­ing what has been the back­bone of 240 years of democ­racy.

Yes, Demo­crat Al Gore went to court to chal­lenge the Florida vote in 2000, but the two are hardly sim­i­lar. Gore was not of­fer­ing a blan­ket re­jec­tion of the vote. In­stead, he was chal­leng­ing spe­cific bal­lot prob­lems in Florida. When the court ruled against him, he ac­cepted it. Trump has given no in­di­ca­tion he is will­ing to do like­wise.

Not much else from Wed­nes­day night is likely to be re­mem­bered, nor change the mind of many vot­ers.

In­stead, Trump’s com­ments may sim­ply move to turn off an elec­torate that seems more than ready to end this thing and go to the polls.

And that is the les­son to be learned here. This is about much more than Don­ald Trump. It is about a sys­tem that has served us well for a cou­ple of cen­turies.

And also keep in mind there is much at stake aside from the pres­i­den­tial fol­lies. Here in Pennsylvania we will be elect­ing a U.S. se­na­tor, with Demo­crat Katie McGinty look­ing to un­seat in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Pat Toomey.

The race car­ries another in­ter­est­ing tid­bit. While Hil­lary Clin­ton is look­ing to be­come the first woman ever elected pres­i­dent, like­wise McGinty is try­ing to do pull off another first for women. That’s cor­rect. Pennsylvania has never sent a woman to the U.S. Se­nate. To that end, the race quickly has be­come the most ex­pen­sive in the na­tion, with con­trol of the Se­nate po­ten­tially slip­ping from Repub­li­can to Demo­cratic con­trol.

Un­like many other states, Pennsylvania re­mains one of the few that does not al­low early vot­ing. Aside from ab­sen­tee bal­lots, we have to hold our wa­ter un­til Nov. 8 to make our choices.

But don’t al­low that de­ci­sion to be wa­tered down. Make sure your vote.

De­spite how turned off you are by two se­ri­ously chal­lenged can­di­dates.

Yes, we are fully aware that Hil­lary Clin­ton also has her is­sues, hon­esty be­ing at the top.

But she has yet to give any in­di­ca­tion she would not accept the will of the peo­ple. Maybe Mr. Trump is so used to look­ing down at the peo­ple, to is­su­ing his trade­mark ‘You’re Fired!’ com­mands, that he’s for­got­ten how a democ­racy works.

The peo­ple’s vote is para­mount.

His com­ments to the con­trary are con­trary to a sys­tem that has served us well for 240 years.

Given that span and the splen­did his­tory it con­tains, we can wait another two weeks.

Barely.

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