Presidents Hoover, Carter and Bush Sr all suffered rejection at the ballot box after just one term. However painful, they accepted the electorate’s verdict. In the end, personal pride took a backseat to the orderly transition of power. The nation had spoken.
Likewise, in 2000, Al Gore ultimately acquiesced to a split US supreme court decision, which the late Justice Antonin Scalia later confessed was “as we say in Brooklyn, a piece of shit”, and conceded to George W Bush. Adding insult to injury, Gore, who was then vice-president, presided over the joint session of Congress where the results were announced and certified. Fealty to the American experiment came first.
Not any more. The US confronts a president determined to hold on to power past the constitutionally mandated expiration of his term, and congressional Republicans hellbent on aiding and abetting this desperate bid to overturn the election’s outcome.
Last Thursday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, told his caucus that the upcoming votes were the “most consequential” of his career. It was not hyperbole. More than two centuries of supremacy of consent of the governed and We the People are riding on it.