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The president knows what his limitations are

President Donald Trump often shoots verbally from the hip. Many voters like that. Many others deplore it.

But Trump, while holding the most powerful office in the world, understands fully that he is bound by certain rules and traditions. One of them is that when we hold an election, the result is binding. The winner takes office. The loser, if in office, steps aside.

Much has been made of Trump’s response to questions about how he would react to a loss in the Nov. 3 presidential election. He has been asked if he would abide by the result.

“We’ll see,” Trump replied several days ago. His follow-up, that he is concerned about whether the election will be honest, implies his “we’ll see” comment means he might contest the election in court, if he loses.

But it has been suggested Trump means he would resist leaving the White House if he doesn’t win.

We doubt he has any such intention. Trump understands how government functions — and it does so on the basis that the will of the people, expressed in elections, rules.

As fellow Republican Mitch McConnell, who happens to be majority leader of the U.S. Senate, put it, “The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition, just as there has been every four years since 1792.”

Reflect on that for a moment. Even on the eve of our nation’s greatest trial, the Civil War, no one in power — not even members of Congress who were preparing for their states to secede from the Union — had any intention of preventing the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. To our knowledge, none of them even contemplated such action.

More than a century and a half after that, it has been made clear by military leaders that whether they agree with presidents and members of Congress or not, they will uphold the Constitution.

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