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From: "C. Dart Thalman (via Dashboard)" <dthalman@norwich.

edu>
Reply-To: "C. Dart Thalman" <dthalman@norwich.edu>
Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 22:26
To: "Logan B. Adams" <ladams1@stu.norwich.edu>
Subject: [PO215_A_2020_Fall] Threat to Democracy

Hi everyone,

I am sorry to write you about this matter. I don't often weigh in to assess a particular politician
or candidate for office, and when I do I make it clear that it is my opinion and allow anyone to
express an opposing position. And you may do so in this case as well.

But I am taking the unusual step of calling out the President of the United States for what he
said in a brief "news conference" earlier this evening, which is an extension of what he has been
saying for a long time, with another level added beginning on Election Day and continuing since
then. During the news conference, President Trump made numerous false allegations about
the election process and the Democrats. What President Trump is doing represents a great
danger to our democracy. We are already deeply divided and he is only adding to those
divisions by sowing distrust in our fundamental democratic institutions. For a president in his
elevated position to spread falsehoods about the integrity of the election process and vote
counting taking place, represents a grave threat to our democracy by creating large segments of
society who no longer trust its institutions. He has presented zero evidence for his allegations.
The vote counting process is legitimate, and can be trusted as long as there is not the kind of
interference that the president is trying to introduce.

What President Trump is doing is what dictators do, attack the press, call anything that does not
support him illegitimate or illegal, try to manipulate the courts and other institutions of
government to do his bidding, and falsely accuse the opposition of all sorts of wrongdoing. In
this news conference, he could not even get a Fox News reporter and news anchor to support
his allegations.

Please do not be persuaded by allegations for which no credible evidence is offered. Trust the
system. Dedicated civil servants and volunteers are doing their best to do an accurate count of
all the votes. There are no "illegal" votes. The rules for voting and submitting votes are
determined by state and local governments. Some allow absentee and mail-in ballots to be
accepted after Election Day as long as they are post-marked no later than Election Day. Others
do not. Some do not allow vote counting until Election Day. Others allow vote counting to begin
much earlier, which is why some states have all of their votes counted and others are still doing
the counting.

As you know by now, I am old enough to have followed closely each presidential election since
the Kennedy-Nixon race in 1960. During that election and the many since then, no president or
candidate for president, whether winning or losing, whether winning a new term in office or
losing after one term in office, has ever, ever acted the way President Trump is acting or has
made the completely false accusations he has made about the integrity of our election system.
Even in the closely and hotly contested race between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000,
which was decided in Florida following a Supreme Court decision, the behaviour of the two
candidates did not even come close to what we are witnessing today.

Bottom line: Do not trust anything President Trump is saying about the election and its process,
unless clear and credible evidence is presented. I have no joy in saying this about a president
of the United States, but in this case I feel too worried about the implications for the future of our
democracy. The president is creating a very dangerous situation and the pathway through it is
quite unclear. What we must do is have faith in the system and support a peaceful transition to
the next president, whoever he may be.

You are welcome to make any counter argument.

Prof. Thalman