No one likes to lose. It does not matter if it’s dominos, cards or touch football.
Or a seat in Congress. In April 1988 I lost a Congressional race by 526 votes out of 126,654 votes cast. That is .4 percent. Over the course of my political career I have won more races than I’ve lost, and I can say with assurance that it is better to win.
After that 1988 race, despite my deep disappointment I accepted defeat. That is the American way.
Today, two full months after he lost his re-election campaign for President by seven million votes, Donald Trump still disputes the outcome. He has repeatedly cried foul and done what he does best – file lawsuits. Yet he has produced no evidence of election fraud sufficient to change a single vote in courtrooms across four crucial battleground states and before the United States Supreme Court.
“Sore loser” doesn’t describe Trump. His attempt to overthrow the November election is reckless, unpatriotic and deeply un-American.
But what of the four of Louisiana’s six Congressmen and our Attorney General supporting Trump’s hollow claims of election fraud? Weren’t they elected to office themselves? Aren’t they using the positions granted to them by the voters to deny other voters a say in the Presidential election?
Didn’t they swear an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution?
This is beyond reckless and unpatriotic. It is dangerous.
Americans take pride in knowing that we are a nation of laws, not men. We enact laws to govern ourselves and rely upon men and women to enforce those laws. That is what we mean by “the rule of law.”
And the ultimate expression of the rule of law is another phrase heard a lot lately: “the peaceful transition of power.” If we are a society governed by laws, those of us in public office understand that we only “hold” that office temporarily, until the next election. We hold it because a majority of the people in our nation, state, or locality choose us to occupy it.
When we lose the support of the majority — even by less than one percent, as I did in 1988 — we lose the office.
Our nation of laws, not men, separates America from dictatorships like Venezuela and Russia. It relies upon men and women who seek public office to accept defeat and pledge support to the victor. Otherwise we may as well declare the great American experiment of democratic self-government to be dead and finished.
George H.W. Bush, the last president to lose re-election, left a note for the incoming president. It said, in part, “I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting for you.”
It is time for our top Louisiana politicians to follow the example of former President Bush, do what’s right and end this dangerous challenge to the Presidential election. Donald Trump won Louisiana but lost America. The election is over. It’s time to move on.
Foster Campbell, of Elm Grove in Bossier Parish, represents North Louisiana on the Louisiana Public Service Commission. He won re-election to a fourth term November 3 by 5.5 percent, or 20,805 votes cast out of 375,261.