Last week, Donald Trump told voters at a campaign event in Ohio that he feared the election "is going to be rigged," prompting a firestorm of criticism from the media complaining that Trump was effectively threatening to 'delegitimize' the 2016 election results and US democracy itself.
Commenting on the controversy in his latest piece in The American Conservative, Buchanan suggested that actually, Trump may just have a point.
From the left there was Bernie Sanders, "a 74-year-old Socialist senator [who] set [Democratic] primaries ablaze with mammoth crowds that dwarfed those of Hillary Clinton." Ironically, WikiLeaks has confirmed that the anti-establishment candidate faced collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC throughout the entirety of the Democratic Party primary process.
From the right was Trump, "a non-politician" who "swept Republican primaries in an historic turnout" sending "more than a dozen Republican rivals, described as the strongest GOP field since 1980…packing."
American voters, Buchanan suggested, had sent the country's political elites a message – that they were tired of the status quo. "But if it ends with a Clintonite restoration and a ratification of the same old Beltway policies, would that not suggest that there is something fraudulent about American democracy, something rotten in the state?" the commentator asked.
One thing is clear, Buchanan noted. "If 2016 has taught us anything, it is that if the establishment's hegemony is imperiled, it will come together in ferocious solidarity – for the preservation of their perks, privileges and power." Today, "all the elements of that establishment –corporate, cultural, political, media –are…issuing an ultimatum to Middle America: Trump is unacceptable." And this applies equally to both political parties.
"But what is a repudiated establishment doing issuing orders to anyone? Why is it not Middle America issuing the demands, rather than the other way around? Specifically, the Republican electorate should tell its discredited and rejected ruling class: If we cannot get rid of you at the ballot box, then tell us how, peacefully and democratically, we can be rid of you?" Buchanan asked.
"The Czechs had their Prague Spring. The Tunisians and Egyptians their Arab Spring. When do we have our American Spring?" the commentator pondered. "Our CIA, NGOs and National Endowment for Democracy all beaver away for 'regime change' in faraway lands whose rulers displease us. How do we effect 'regime change' here at home?" he added.
Recalling the words of John F. Kennedy, who said that "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable," Buchanan warned that another victory for an establishment candidate may push many Americans' patience to the breaking point. "If Hillary Clinton takes power, and continues America on her present course, which a majority of Americans rejected in the primaries, there is going to be a bad moon rising," he suggested.
"And the new protesters in the streets will not be overprivileged children from Ivy League campuses," the columnist concluded.
A veteran political commentator, columnist and writer, Pat Buchanan served as the White House Communications Director during the Reagan Administration, and has run as both a Republican and Reform Party presidential candidate.