In the White House press room on Wednesday, the following exchange took place:

Reporter: “ . . .will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?”

Trump: “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know I’ve been complaining about the ballots very strongly and the ballots are a disaster.”

Reporter: “I know, but people are rioting. Do you commit to a peaceful transferal of power?”

Trump: “We want to have (pause), get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful (pause), there won’t be a transfer of power, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

Those are direct quotes. The president of the United States said we should “get rid of the ballots.” Getting rid of the ballots means getting rid of the election. It means that everyone, Democrat and Republican, loses the right to vote. It means he intends to stay in office, regardless of the will of the people.

If you are explaining this away by saying, “Oh, that’s just Trump being Trump” or, “That’s not what he meant” or, “But he’s done so well on the economy”, you are party to the destruction of the most fundamental pillar of our democracy.

While Trump tries to scare you into being afraid of socialism, he is marching us into autocracy. We now have a system of capitalism that is threaded with socialism to protect its citizens from monopolies, from pollution and from public health crises that can kill you. If you want to rid the U.S. of all socialism, you’ll need to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, national parks, public health programs and public education just to name a few. If you support Trump, you are not voting against socialism. You are begging to have your rights taken away by an autocrat.

Donald Trump is not asking you to vote for him. He is saying it doesn’t matter how you vote. He will “get rid of the ballots” and declare himself the winner. He will not yield to a peaceful transfer of power. He will be an autocrat with unlimited power and no checks and balances from the other branches of government. But only if we let him do it.

Tobey Miller, Fort Payne, Alabama

Send letters to the Times-Journal by writing P.O. Box 680349, Fort Payne, AL 35968. Fax 256-845-7459. Email emily.kirby@times-journal.com.

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