[excerpt] I recently was asked whether the Constitution requires a peaceful transfer of power following an election. Sadly, the questions is not merely theoretical. President Trump has stated that, if he loses the upcoming election, it will be through fraud. And he has made it clear that he will be unrestrained in his response to any efforts to oust him from office through an election he pronounces fraudulent.
The question of whether the Constitution requires a peaceful transfer of power prompts consideration of how we should conceptualize our Constitution. Is the Constitution merely the document that was written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and since amended 27 times? Does analyzing it begin and end with a legalistic examination of what its text explicitly permits and forbids? Or should we conceive of our Constitution, and the task of interpreting it, in some other way?
John M. Greabe, "What Constitution says about peaceful transfer of power", Concord Monitor, Oct. 18, 2020, C1, C3.
This article is part of the series Constitutional Connections by John M. Greabe and was originally published by the Concord Monitor.