◎ On dealing with China and Russia—America’s two greatest existential challengers—the Trump administration has built a more solid foundation than what it inherited.
For decades, it has been conventional political lore that on election night in 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy was about to lose the critical state of Illinois to Republican Richard M. Nixon. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley asked the Kennedy campaign how many votes he needed to win the state. Within hours, Cook County, which included Daley’s urban domain, delivered the requisite number of ballots to overcome the deficit.
That narrative recently has been challenged by some election fraud experts, who say it didn’t happen, or even if it did, the 27 electoral votes of Illinois did not decide the overall outcome anyway. At the time, however, it was a credible enough narrative to provide a plausible basis for Nixon to challenge the Illinois result and potentially others. That would place the entire election under a cloud until the courts could determine the winner. But Nixon refused to put the country through such an ordeal. Given his subsequent disgrace, he never got full credit for that display of selflessness, though the voters rewarded him with victory on his second try for the presidency in 1968.
President Trump has taken a different approach regarding allegations of electoral misconduct, as is his right, and arguably his obligation, to remove any doubts about the election’s legitimacy. The courts will decide the merits of the complaints.
Joseph Bosco served as China country director for the Secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2006 and as Asia-Pacific director of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief from 2009 to 2010. He is a nonresident fellow at the Institute for Corean-American Studies and the Institute for Taiwan-American Studies, and has held nonresident appointments in the Asia-Pacific program at the Atlantic Council and the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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