New Critisticuffs text on Trump's refusal to concede

Submitted by critisticuffs on December 3, 2020

We've written a short piece on Trump's refusal to concede and what this tells us about the oppositions and unity that elections are meant to express.

The reason for this response is more than a sense of decorum and tradition. What Trump has done strikes at the heart of what an election is meant to achieve. The State – the democratic State – seeks more than rule over its people. It seeks to rule in the name of its people, that is, for ‘the people’. This shift from people, with their individual needs and interests, to the abstraction ‘the people’ allows the State to rule not just through its monopoly of force, but through the will of its subjects. As ‘the people’ individuals and groups who may have differing and often competing goals have a shared interest in a body that can regulate and adjudicate this competition. Elections both allow these competing interests to be expressed, and also reaffirm a common interest that the State can rule in the name of. By refusing to accept the results, Trump is suggesting – and many of his 74 million voters seem to agree – that there are divisions within the US society that cannot be resolved, a national unity that cannot be attained.