Monday, December 14, 2020

The Never-Ending Election Ends

 So, at last, it is finally over. At least officially. Six weeks after Election Day; five weeks after the election was “called” and a victor was proclaimed; through five continuous weeks of rejected lawsuits and unproven claims of massive voter fraud; the United States of America finally and officially has a new President-elect. A legally constituted Electoral College did its job as prescribed in our Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court tersely ended any and all attempts to have the judiciary overturn the Law and the Voters. It is now on to Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021 to make the job of our democratic election complete, and peacefully turn over the power and office of the President. It is as the Constitution and the citizenry demands.

Donald Trump would most certainly have it otherwise. Over the past six weeks, he and his band of unprincipled henchmen have pulled out all stops to deny the electoral reality; attempted to interfere with standard voting processes; spread false information about the voting  process and the result; disrupted voting-by-mail by dismantling USPS equipment and operating  policies; filed and  lost over 50 lawsuits to overturn the vote; and directly ordered (with mixed success) state election officials, executive officers and legislators to upend and reverse the vote. These actions culminated with the Attorney General from Texas (himself under state and federal investigations and an intra-office staff uprising over ethics and corruption issues) petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to rule against four swing states over their election processes and results.  The petition was joined by approximately 20 other Republican AGs, and endorsed by over 120 Republican Congresspersons. To which the Supreme Court rightly said simply, “petition denied,” prompting the Texas GOP Chairman to propose that Texas secede from the Union! The Donald J. Trump political circus, led by his ringmaster Rudy Giuliani, has proven to be a national (and international) embarrassment for America – we the country that has previously defined what “democratic government” means. Senator Mitt Romney had it right when he called the whole affair “madness.”

Undoubtedly, in spite of the legal and political finality of this election, the noise from Trump will continue. The cries of a “stolen election” will be embedded in continuing subsequent Tweets and press releases. The question will be how much air time will be given to these self-pitying laments by the news media (other than Fox News and various right-wing talk radio hosts). Ultimately, Americans do not tolerate whiners and sore losers.

Certainly every political candidate has a right to pursue legal remediation when the accuracy or integrity of a vote is in question. Richard Nixon likely had legitimate reasons to question the vote from Mayor Richard Daley’s political machine in Chicago that gave Illinois to John Kennedy in the close election of 1960; Nixon instead chose to forgo pursuing it “for the good of the country.” Al Gore had a legitimate question about the vote in Florida in 2000; the Supreme Court’s decision giving the election to George W. Bush is still questionable in the minds of many.

If Donald Trump had EVIDENCE of impropriety in the 2020 voting, he certainly has had a right to pursue it accordingly. Except that after multiple election recounts have been completed, and virtually every lawsuit filed has been rejected, there is no such evidence. His continual lie of voter fraud accomplished no change in the outcome of the vote. Instead, it has served only to undermine the confidence, faith and trust of many Americans in our national government. It also has provided Trump with a misleading fundraising campaign resulting in a $200,000,000 haul for a personal slush fund donated by his aggrieved supporters. (As with all things Trump, self-enrichment, not public service, is the dominating motivation.) It is one more brick added to the wall of shame that is Donald Trump, further proof (if needed) that his first/last/always priority is Donald Trump – not his supporters, not the Country, not Democracy itself.

Meanwhile, the country will be left to pick up the pieces from this most unique of elections. It will now fall to Joe Biden to try to restore American government to its rightful place. Its place of decency in how we treat one another. Of bringing competent, professional people back into government to rebuild the hollowed-out shell Trump is leaving it in. Of fact-based decision-making and deliberate planning instead of self-rewarding, whimsical Tweets. Of acting within the legality and spirit of the Law, historical precedent, and respect for the historical purpose and the many achievements of America. The rebuilding of American government will take time and effort after suffering the wrecking ball attack on it by Trump. It will most certainly require installing the right new people into key, critical leadership positions. It will also likely take longer than just one presidential term to accomplish.

Unfortunately, there will be resistance from those politicians who believe that Trump’s way is the new way, a key to their political success. Out of fear of Trump’s retribution and for their own political careers, they will continue to voice support for the fantasy world Trump has invented to try to escape the historical label of “1-term, impeached, loser.” Trump will not go quietly into the night like previous ex-presidents. His continuous need for being the center of attention will not allow himself to be ignored. It will still be about being in the spotlight, making money, and demeaning and bullying his way through anyone who gets in his way.

In the end, the institutions of American democracy have thankfully held firm against Donald Trump’s assault. Now, the rest of us have a job to do. To get through the pandemic decimation of the country. To rebuild those sectors of our economy that have been hard hit. To help the many victims of the past year recover their lives. This will not be accomplished on the golf course. It will happen in a newly committed and staffed government focused on We, the People. Let us get on with the real job at hand.

5 weeks to Inauguration Day.

©   2020  Randy Bell