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Donald Trump's allegations of rampant corruption and cheating in the election systems around the nation has the look and feel of a youngster who flips over a game board when he realizes he's going to lose.

As I write this on Friday, I don't know who the next president will be. But Donald Trump, knowing by Thursday he was on the verge of possibly losing the presidency, doubled and tripled down on literally Trumped-up claims designed to destroy Americans' faith in their democracy because he is willing to sacrifice anything to avoid losing. We know how he feels about losers.

It doesn't matter what I believe, just as it doesn't matter what Donald Trump believes.

I can believe I have the sex appeal of Sean Connery. That certainly doesn't mean I do. Just ask my wife. Better yet, don't.

Donald Trump can believe Kim Jong-un is a fine example of leadership, worthy of emulation. He can believe John McCain wasn't a war hero because Trump prefers "people who weren't captured."

Trump can believe whatever he wants, but if the institutions of our republic are to survive, Americans cannot allow the president's supposed beliefs to erode well-earned trust in the highly decentralized, closely monitored state and local voting systems.

As the president sustains these unsupported claims that the only way he'll lose the presidency is through "a rigged election," Republicans and Democrats alike should have one response: Prove it.

Until he does that, his fraudulent claim that he's won the election before all votes -- yes, all legal votes -- are counted deserves to be treated for what it is, a distraction designed to lure Americans into Trump's alternate reality.

Having covered elections for years here in Arkansas, I feel bad for the level of disrespect the president is showing for the integrity of real patriots -- Republican, Democratic and independent election officials -- who devoted themselves to the stressful but vital work of the election and counting process.

•••

If Donald Trump isn't president, are we suddenly a United States of America again? No. The mix of red and blue on last week's maps and the days of counting necessary before we know a winner demonstrate just how politically divided the nation is.

Trump got 70 million votes. It's highly unlikely he's just going to shuffle off into a quiet retirement.

If you're a congressman in, say, the state's 3rd Congressional District, Tuesday's results dramatically show that Donald Trump's supporters are your supporters.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Womack got 64.4% of the vote for the congressional seat. Within the 3rd District -- Benton, Boone, Carroll, Marion, Pope and Washington counties, and portions of Crawford, Newton, Searcy and Sebastian counties -- Donald Trump earned 65.2% of the vote.

Within the six counties that fall entirely within the 3rd District, in five of them Womack's share of votes varied from Trump's by no more than 0.46 percent. The sixth is Washington County, which includes traditionally more liberal Fayetteville, and the variation between Trump and Womack there amounted to only 1.3 percent.

Is it any wonder that Womack, in his first prepared comment after his victory, declared "it's clear that the extreme ideas espoused by the socialist wing of the Democrat party have been resoundingly rejected?" Whether Trump is in the White House or not, Republicans members of Congress won't forget how he invigorated the party's base.

As for Biden, he'll make a horrible mistake if he views his election as an opportunity to swing the nation hard left. His goal over four years ought to be leading the nation to some common ground. If not, Election 2024 will be a replay of this year's contest.

Greg Harton is editorial page editor for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Contact him by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWAGreg.

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