Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Trump, John Lewis and "legitimacy"

Yes, Donald Trump is soon to be inaugurated.  Rep. John Lewis, one of the last remaining leaders of the civil rights movement, says he isn't legitimate, and won't attend the inauguration.  I've written about this before, and this seems as good a time as any to revisit the topic.  Will Trump be a "legitimate" President?

I'll apply the same standard I always do.  "Legitimacy" is in the eye of the beholder.

James Buchanan & Gordon Tullock, in The Calculus of Consent, argue that any decision rule other than unanimity is basically bullshit because it imposes somebody's will on somebody else.  As I have written many times before (here, for example), there is no such thing as "the popular vote," but Trump certainly didn't have unanimous support.  "Democracy," whatever that is, isn't just about self-determination.  It is about imposition.  A lot of people are being imposed on here.  More than in most cases.

Regardless, Lewis doesn't perceive him as "legitimate."

However, Trump won, by the rules of the game.  Most people "accept" that he will be President, as evidenced by the lack of rioting in the streets.

Would he have won without Russia's interference?  Probably.  There isn't a shred of evidence that the DNC hacks affected anything, since the info dump happened right before the Democratic convention, after which Clinton's polling numbers went up.  However, there is a ton of evidence that Comey affected the election.

There is irony, then, to the fact that Lewis's complaint is about Russia, not Comey.  MLK was targeted by the FBI, and accused of, um, communist sympathies.

Regardless, does that make Trump illegitimate?

Wrong question.  The right question is, to whom does that make Trump illegitimate?

Well, that's more of what we call "an empirical question," isn't it?  I can't wait for the survey data on that one.

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