The180·The 180

Worried about a Trump win? A Trump loss might be worse

Jeet Heer, Senior Editor at the New Republic, argues that if you think Trump's behaviour during the campaign is shocking, you'd better steel yourself for the post-election-loss version.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks with journalists during a rally in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
Listen11:21

It's hard to find the single-most provocative thing Donald Trump has said in his campaign run for the U.S presidency. 

He recently responded to allegations of sexual assault from a former People magazine reporter with this: 

There were his comments at a campaign rally in North Carolina, which were interpreted by many as a call to violence against Hillary Clinton or liberal jurists. 
And of course, there was his infamous call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. 

While opponents of Trump are cringing at the thought of what his presidency would look like, Jeet Heer thinks Trump losing the election by a narrow margin could actually be the worst possible scenario. 

Heer, the senior editor at New Republic, argues a narrow win for Clinton will fuel the fire Trump has been stoking — that the election is rigged

He's setting up a situation where he can lose, but not lose...and have a lot of voters who are very angry and ginned up...and what I think it would lead to is a legitimacy crisis.- Jeet Heer

And Heer argues when you consider political rhetoric — whether it's Trump or any other politician — it's less important to know whether the candidate believes it, and more important to look at the impact that rhetoric has on the audience. 

For Heer, it's not a stretch to say that some people will believe what Trump says, and he points to an example from the 1990s.

With Bill Clinton, when he first came to power, there were already suggestions from the Republican party that he was not a legitimate president - leading to his impeachment. But one of the manifestations of that was that there were people who joined militias, who tried to foment violence, and in the most extreme case of Timothy McVeigh committed the most horrific terrorist act on American soil prior to 9/11. - Jeet Heer

As for what he thinks will quell the anger that Trump has awakened, Heer says he only sees one solution: a resounding win for Clinton which leaves Trump with no doubt that voters don't want him in office. 

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