Make no mistake: I wish Trump would’ve won this election. It is a sad month for me. While not a card-carrying conservative, I deeply appreciate a number of decisions made by President Donald J. Trump over the past four years that resulted in no wars and a breathlessly booming economy (pre-COVID).

The purpose of my letter is to make a clear and urgent call for Trump to concede electoral defeat. Immediately. The present posture of the White House is despicable beyond comprehension.

  • Claims of a sham election are baseless. Allegations of widespread, consequential election fraud fail to stand up to scrutiny. It was a close contest; but this was no Bush-Gore scenario from 2000. If there really was “systemic election fraud,” where is the evidence? Why didn’t it show up during the 2016 election? Why don’t we see it in key battleground states like Ohio and Florida that both went to Trump? Lawsuits are being thrown out across the country as there simply isn’t the evidence that Trump & Co. claim exists. This was no diabolical conspiracy. Democrats lost crucial seats in the House and failed to gain a majority in the Senate. White House spokespersons now sound more like ‘ancient alien theorists’ than serious public servants committed to honesty and civility.
  • The integrity of our Republic is on the line. The far right has now fallen prey to what the far left was guilty of in 2016: delegitimizing a legitimate election. This is a dangerous game. In a matter of weeks, Trump has matched, if not far exceeded, the destruction caused by the years-long, now-debunked Russia collusion witch hunt perpetuated by the left. The level of civic damage that such demagoguery wields on our democratic republic is simply staggering. By refusing to concede, the president eviscerates confidence in our fundamental institutions of freedom. These are mafia tactics. Egoist, alarmist, truth-stretching, power-grabbing, rough-and-tumble maneuvers better associated with dictators of ‘shithole’ nations that Trump famously deplores.
  • My sons need to learn how to lose well. On a personal note, I want my kids to see what it’s like to lose well. Life is more about losing than winning. It’s how we handle painful loss that most shapes and reveals our character. Today, sons and daughters across the world witness a U.S. president with disregard for truth, whose behavior rivals the worst bullies they know from the schoolyard. Personal ethics has long been Trump’s Achilles Heel. Let’s be fair: from 2017-2020, corruption in Washington didn’t disappear; it merely shapeshifted. To be sure, ‘draining the swamp’ while madly polluting the river of civil discourse smacks disingenuous and hypocritical. Our children patently deserve better role models from our nation’s uppermost leadership.

In summary: we’re better than this, President Trump! Please do the honorable thing and admit defeat. Love this nation actually. Or, perhaps a better way to put it: Make America Great Again!

Hayton lives in Fargo.

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.