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Holly Richardson: This election was not stolen. It was won.

(Evan Vucci | AP photo) President Donald Trump speaks Thursday at the White House.

No, Mr. President, the election is not being stolen. It’s being won.

It is being won by voters like Kaela Bynoe, a medical student in Baltimore who flew home to Florida to cast her vote in person.

It is being won by voters in the late John Lewis’ district who put Joe Biden in the lead in Georgia at 4:30 a.m. Friday morning.

It is being won by people like Stacey Abrams, who lost a gubernatorial election in 2018 but did not stop working on equal access to voting. Her voting rights organization registered 800,000 new voters in Georgia who did not think their vote mattered. Now they know it does.

It is being won by Black women who showed up in droves to make sure their voices were heard and their votes were counted, not just in Georgia, but everywhere. Exit polling is showing 90% of Black women voted for Biden and running mate Kamala Harris.

It is being won by voters willing to wait many hours in line to cast their ballots in person.

It is being won by the highest number of people voting, ever, and the largest percentage of eligible voters since 1900.

It is being won by the patient counting of all votes, even while angry protesters demand that election officials stop doing their jobs.

Just because you are losing does not mean the election is being stolen. Just because you falsely claimed that voting by mail was not reliable does not mean that mail-in ballots heavily favoring Biden are somehow suspect.

Just because you declare your victory on Twitter before the votes are counted does not make it so. It does not matter whether you concede or not. It does not matter whether you go to your grave yelling that you’ve been robbed. What matters is how the final vote is certified.

A hallmark of American elections is the peaceful transition of power. As Latter-day Saint leader Dallin H. Oaks recently reminded us, as Christians and as Americans, we peacefully accept election outcomes.

Former President George H.W. Bush ran a hard-fought race for his second term and lost to Bill Clinton. As he moved out of the White House, he left the following note for his successor:

Dear Bill,

When I walked into this office just now, I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I feel four years ago. I know that you will feel that, too.

I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described .

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.

Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.

Good luck - George

Clinton later said of Bush: “He was an honorable, gracious and decent man who believed in the United States, our Constitution, our institutions and our shared future. ... His friendship has been one of the great gifts of my life.”

President Trump, this is likely one of your last opportunities to be truly presidential, to be gracious in defeat, to respect the will of the people and to help to unify a deeply divided nation. Will you do it? Will you invite your supporters to do it? Will you show a kinder, better way the last two months of your presidency?

Just one final reminder, Mr. President. This election was not stolen. It was won.

Holly Richardson (2019)

Holly Richardson is a regular contributor to The Salt Lake Tribune.

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