Elections are war by other means
The 2016 presidential campaign, we are told, was nasty and divisive to an unprecedented degree.
As students of history are aware, this characterization is far from accurate. But more importantly, we seem to have forgotten the very purpose of elections, which is to provide a non-violent way to adjudicate differences between opposing factions. The alternative is open warfare – consider the endless revolutions in South America or America's own Civil War.
Appalling though the recent election cycle may seem, it was a war of words, not of bullets.
As the dust settles, the losers petition for a greater share of power. The winners point out that, after all, they won. Recriminations, accusations, analyses, and postmortems abound.
Once again, the ancient mechanism is providing for a relatively peaceful transfer of power. It is a system worth appreciating and preserving – especially when you consider the alternative.
Scott Swett is the author of To Set The Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry and webmaster for SwiftVets.com and WinterSoldier.com.