NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — America's founding fathers believed the will of the people should ultimately prevail, but Dr. John Vile of Middle Tennessee State University argued prevailing takes place in voting booths and through the electoral process. Not through rioting.
"If you lose, you lick your wounds, go back, build up your party, run somebody in four years or two years hence - that's how it works. If we're going to ignore electoral results simply because we don't like them, then we're subjecting ourselves to the very same thing happening when the other side gains control," he said.
Vile called upon the lessons of James Madison for how the country should move forward. "He made a distinction between pure democracy - what I'm calling mobocracy- and representative democracy. Once the people speak, then you have to defer to the people. It doesn't mean you have to roll over, but they legitimately won and if you want a chance to legitimately win you have to respect the vote for them as well." He called Wednesday's events an intimidation and unprecedented.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tom Schwartz, of Vanderbilt University, said the peaceful transfer of power has always been something the U.S. prides itself on. But he said Wednesday's events will go down a dark moment in American democracy. "This event will cast a dark shadow over any attempt to restore his presidency or to run again and to repeat Grover Cleveland, for example, back in the 19th century who did serve two non-consecutive terms, I think in that sense, the president has really damaged the legacy of his administration," said Schwartz.
Dr. Vile also said America is bigger than any president or any member of Congress, as well the Supreme Court. He added we're not one nation under President Trump, but rather one nation "under God, the constitution, and the rule of law".
"You know our framers they were a small "d" democrats in the sense that they thought the will of the people should ultimately prevail. But they did not think that the will of the people was expressed in riotous assemblies. It was to be expressed through the voting booth," said Vile.
Schwartz said this situation does present an opportunity for president-elect Biden to restore a sense of calm and normalcy to American politics, but we could also be faced with more political violence as the transition of power continues.