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Local political scientists say President Trump's call to stop ballot counting undermines American democracy

“I will be very blunt. That sort of rhetoric and action is what authoritarian leaders do,” said Dr. Taylor.

Posted: Nov 4, 2020 5:15 PM
Updated: Nov 5, 2020 9:28 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In the predawn hours of Wednesday, President Trump taking the country by surprise with a call to stop counting ballots. 

“We were getting ready to win the election. Frankly, we did win this election," said President Donald Trump, "We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.”

Hours after these statements, prominent republicans weighed in.

Former U.S. National Security Adviser under the Trump administration, John Bolton, criticized the president's remarks. 

“Some of the most irresponsible comments that a president of the united states has ever made,”said John Bolton, former U.S. National Security Adviser. 

A Trump political adviser and former New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, said the president's decision to question the legitimacy of the ongoing election was a bad move. 

“It’s a bad strategic decision, it’s a bad political decision and it’s not a decision you expect someone to make tonight who holds the position he holds,” said Chris Christie, former New Jersey Governor. 

Local political science professors at Missouri Western University side with Bolton and Christie on President Trump's hasty announcement. 

“The president is completely wrong," said Dr. Edwin Taylor, MWSU political science chair, “Candidates don’t get to declare themselves victors, especially in a presidential election right? Voters declare victors when votes are actually counted.

Political scientists said President Trump's tactic to try to stop counting legitimate ballots in states where he is trailing undermines American democracy. 

“That is not the way that American democracy works and that is not what citizens stand for,” said Dr. Taylor. 

Dr. Melinda Kovacs, a political science professor at MWSU, said allowing uncounted ballots to fall to the wayside would change the face of American politics. 

“Absolutely hurts democracy if the president is somehow suggesting that maybe not all the votes matter,” said Dr. Melinda Kovacs, MWSU political Science professor. 

Both political science professors said the President's hasty call suggests the President of the United States has more power than the position does. 

“I will be very blunt. That sort of rhetoric and action is what authoritarian leaders do,” said Dr. Taylor. 

Now, political analysts do expect a recount in key battleground states. Similarly, to 20 years ago in Florida during the Gore vs Bush presidential election.

But unlike the Florida recount, political scientists said they don't believe the Supreme Court will get involved. 

“Chief Justice Roberts is pretty concerned with the integrity of the court and I think the court is pretty cautious after 2000 because there was a fair amount of backlash after what was perceived as a court’s interference in the election,” said Dr. Taylor. 

Right now, Dr. Taylor said there is no legal standing to stop the count of legal ballots, but said to buckle up because the recount of the ballots will be long and litigious. 

“Brace yourself because this is not going to be over even once the votes are counting because the president even said there will be litigation and Vice President Biden said if it is litigation, they will fight it,” said Dr. Taylor. 

For more information on the state of the election, click here. 

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