On Sept. 23 in a press conference, President Donald Trump was asked to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, and he refused. “Get rid of the ballots, and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation,” Trump said.

The president’s comments violate every principle and letter of the Constitution and threaten the integrity of our democracy itself. The President of the United States would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power. He would not commit to accepting the will of the voters, advocated tampering with actual votes and said he was willing to use violence to stay in power. I am stunned. I have studied, taught and written about American History for over 45 years, the last 30 at Appalachian State University. I teach the Constitution every year. I love the Constitution. I cannot believe that a president would even suggest such a violation of that sacred document.

I have become increasingly concerned at the growing number of Americans who refuse to accept the legitimacy of our presidential elections. Some refused to accept President George W. Bush’s legitimacy in 2000 because the election was decided by the Supreme Court. Some refused to accept the legitimacy of President Barack Obama because he was Black. Some refused to accept the legitimacy of Trump because he lost the popular vote.

The legitimacy of the last three presidents has been questioned by large numbers of Americans, and that should concern us all.

Trump is declaring that he himself, the president with the full force and power of the U.S. government at his disposal, is willing to disregard the will of the voters if it does not go his way.

I ask the Watauga County Democratic and Republican Parties if they will commit publicly to the sanctity of the peaceful transfer of power. I ask Cal Cunningham and Thom Tillis if they will commit publicly to the sanctity of the peaceful transfer of power.

I ask David Wilson Brown and Virginia Foxx if they will commit publicly to the sanctity of the peaceful transfer of power. I ask each and every one of us, will we commit to the sanctity of democracy, no matter what the outcome of the election?

Lynne M. Getz, professor of History, I. G. Greer Distinguished Professor of History, ASU

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(6) comments

Call me ishmael

We are not a democracy. We are a republic.


Call Me ishmael (sic) for the win! Does your superficial pedantry have a point? I'll do you one better: We are not a Republic, we are a Democratic Republic. Oh, snap!


Thank you, Lynne Getz, for a well-written, factual letter. Comments have been made that #45's was being humorous when saying do away with ballots, but, as he has said, he does not joke. Our DEMOCRACY should be sacred and protected.

Alice Price


I understand your concerns. However I feel you need not be directing your concerns at the President. If I may, the President's humor seems to have, as he is want to do, muddied the waters further regarding the issue of a "peaceful transfer." The President is simply playing the game as initiated by the media, the Democrats, and the Left. A simple translation of what he stated is, that there would be a peaceful transfer because he would win; without the probable corruption associated with mail-in ballots. That's all he said; in his manner of speech. Now, as a Constitutional scholar, what are the procedural dates defined in the Constitution regarding presidential elections? It is my understanding that the Constitution requires all ballots to be placed or submitted on "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November," or Nov. 3rd of this year. Would this therefore not allow for any ballots to be counted if they were not submitted or post marked past the 3rd of Nov? This is a question I have not seen addressed by anyone. Personally, I have greater concerns than the President's humor or way of speech...as do many Americans.


I must strenuously disagree with willwalk's characterization. First of all, having viewed the full clip of the president speaking, I can say with full certainty that no humor was interjected into that moment. This has become such a tired Trump trope. When he says absolutely indefensible things, he is "merely joking." We cannot afford to keep defending his fascistic behavior and speech. Looking at his pattern of behavior, rather than individual soundbites, it seems very clear who Trump is and what his intentions are. He has claimed he should get a third term for being "treated so unfairly." He and McEnany have now both refused multiple times to say the easiest of phrases -- that yes, they will accept the outcome of the election and peacefully transfer power to the winner. Trump is encouraging his armed supporters to intimidate voters at polling places. He has convinced millions of Americans, including willwalk, that mail-in ballots are ripe for fraudulence, when evidence clearly suggests the exact opposite. Trump has also said that a winner will be declared on election night -- there goes your counting of mail-in ballots that were received on time, but take longer to tally. He uses the DOJ as his personal law team, sends federal troops to cities and states against the wishes of the governors and mayors, defunds and undermines our most cherished democratic institutions, and openly violates our founding and guiding documents. He advocates and encourages violence against the free press and calls them the enemy of the people. And his crowds cheer. You blame all of his fascist behavior on "playing the game" of the Left? This is not a game -- this is a battle for democracy, liberty, and justice. What will we tell the next generations when they look back on this period in our nation's history? That we did nothing? That we shrugged off fascism as "humor?" That we cheered while the most corrupt individuals imaginable stole our country from under our feet? Don't we want to say that we tried, that we resisted, that we were on the side of righteousness?


You (willwalk4) nailed it. Trump's humor should be kept to himself but his contempt of the Democrat party cabal, the media, and academia is well founded. He will win hands down. There are going to be a lot of closet Republicans and college students will demonstrate that they do employ critical and independent thinking.

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