11/21/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Would a McCain Win Mean a Legitimate Government?

McCain is running an entirely negative, divisive, racist campaign based on lies, intending to trick, manipulate, deceive, divide or otherwise do whatever it takes to get enough people to vote for him.

And we all know it.

So if it works, where are we? Do we accept such a government, elected based on the appeal his campaign is making?

Set aside for a minute all the the voter suppression, problems with voting machines, etc. -- that's not what I want to write about here, go here for what to do about that -- and instead imagine that Nov. 5 we learn that McCain is the "winner of the election" and that it comes from a surge of voters responding to his current campaign.

What would that mean? And what do we do? Do we accept a government that we all know is in power entirely based on lies, division and racist appeal? This is a serious question: Is such a government legitimate?

I'm asking for a discussion, not making a declaration.

Update - An email I received:

Unless there is evidence of illegal activity, yes, we must accept such a government, and, yes, it is legitimate. It is not illegal for an individual operating in an unofficial capacity (as a presidential candidate as opposed to a senator) to lie. Citizens have a responsibility to verify the accuracy of the information they receive. If they choose not to verify it and choose to believe a lie and to act on it with their vote, that is their right, and they deserve to be governed by the lying president they've chosen. There's nothing in a democratic political system that requires a candidate to tell the truth. It is we, each individual citizen, who must require it by refusing to accept any information we haven't verified for ourselves. We fail miserably at that, so we generally get the government we deserve.