In his July 25 commentary, Neil Wollman convincingly presented an extensive list of consequences of a potential second Trump term. Possibly more frightening would be the alternative.

Granted, Donald Trump’s former “fixer,” Michael Cohen, cannot be considered a fountain of truth, but he did know his boss. The caution Cohen gave in his February congressional testimony is haunting: “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election of 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

It doesn’t take an intimate of Trump to know that he will not go quietly into the night. Trump has already undermined confidence in the electoral system among his faithful. In American history, the Revolution of 1800, the precedent for the peaceful transition of executive power, may be eclipsed by the Circumvention of 2020.

It is foreseeable that a segment of our society will support Trump’s refusal to step aside. With his continual appeals to fear, Trump has incited a mob mentality. His rallies have turned the Orwellian Two Minutes Hate into a protracted extravaganza of vitriol.

In 1838, on the heels of mob atrocities in Vicksburg, Mississippi; St. Louis, Missouri, and Alton, Illinois, a young state legislator delivered an address on the topic of the preservation of our political institutions. The sentiments expressed then should serve as a stark caution now: “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

As a safeguard against societal self-destruction, Abraham Lincoln went on to encourage Americans to embrace “unimpassioned reason” to channel and live by the values of the Founders: general intelligence, sound morality and a reverence for the Constitution and laws. In his closing, Lincoln stated, “the last trump shall awaken our Washington.”

Joe Wagner


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