That’s not to say that the runners-up roll over and went passive, nor that they should. The election in 2000 was followed by 36 days of intense legal wrangling, starring the notorious Palm Beach ‘hanging chads’. In this spirit, President Trump is absolutely entitled to pursue every legal avenue — including recounts and lawsuits — to assure his full rights.

But claiming that the Biden campaign engaged in ‘fraud’ and that the election was ‘stolen’ is wildly inappropriate unless and until there is a factual basis for these conclusions. Indulging in this sort of rhetoric has ominous implications, turning the election results into a political, as opposed to a legal, contest.

Assuming the Electoral College on December 14 validates Biden’s victory, the shame of it is that everyone knows Trump, for all his bluster, inevitably and quietly will stand by on January 20 as Joe Biden is sworn in. Judges, senators, representatives, cabinet secretaries, aides, generals and governors will make sure the Secret Service does not hold down the White House as a bunker. In the end, his incautious claims will do Trump no good but will only further sunder an already fractured country.