A briefing from the Biden-Harris transition team’s lawyers should be mandatory viewing for anyone writing about or debating the flurry of specious lawsuits from President Donald Trump’s lawyers attempting to undermine the legitimacy of a historic win for the Democratic presidential ticket (e.g., most votes ever cast, the highest vote percentage for a Democratic challenger since Franklin D. Roosevelt).
To summarize: Six pre-election and seven post-election lawsuits by the Trump camp have all been tossed out. They are, as President-elect Joe Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said, “noise.” Campaign counsel Bob Bauer cautioned that what is going on is “theatrics, not lawsuits.” Judges have described claims that the mail-in ballot system is rife with fraud as “fiction” or entirely based on speculation. None of the allegations about excluded poll watchers have been supported by facts. None of the social media memes about changed ballots or other shenanigans have stood up in court.
Interestingly, Trump’s lawyers refuse to say before a real judge that they have found fraud or other reasons to overturn results. (Keep in mind that, since 2000, only a few hundred votes have ever been changed in a single statewide recount.)
Clearly, the plot to “steal” an election exists only in Trump’s twisted mind. There is no “there” there. But what is going on is something equally sinister: Trump is receiving support from a range of Republican figures, including Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who says congratulations to Biden are premature; a flock of members of Congress from Georgia, who baselessly attack their state’s Republican secretary of state and inexplicably claim their own election victories valid while Biden’s is fraudulent; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who declares the transition will be to a “second Trump administration”; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who perpetuates the fiction that the outcome is in dispute. The aim is not to steal an election, but to sow doubt about the legitimacy of our democracy — just as the Russians intend. These Republicans aim to keep their base in a constant state of anger and crazed denial. Right-wing media fan the flames; right-wing social media groups pour gasoline on the fire.
It is no consolation, indeed it is worse, that McConnell and the rest almost certainly know Trump’s claims are a joke and incapable of overturning an election. They apparently are willing to damage democracy and further divide the country so as to cast the lawful winner as an illegitimate president and avoid Trump’s wrath. Other democracies looking on are horrified; dictators find vindication in Republicans’ refusal to accept the results of the election.
The good news is that voters are not falling for it, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll conducted after the race was called on Saturday. Reuters reports: “Nearly 80% of Americans, including more than half of Republicans, recognize President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the Nov. 3 election after most media organizations called the race for the Democrat based on his leads in critical battleground states.” The bad news is that Republicans are hoodwinking 20% of voters, many of whom seem to be confused about the results: “13% said the election has not yet been decided, 3% said Trump won and 5% said they do not know.”
The only entity that is discredited — and certainly should not be trusted to control the Senate — is the Republican Party, whose leaders’ conduct is anti-democratic, immoral, dishonest and dangerous. They are proving the point that many Never Trumpers have made: They have lost the moral authority to govern, and no politician who is engaging in this farce (either inside the administration or on the outside) should be entrusted with power or rewarded with a plum job for their “service.” It would serve the interests of the country, which needs a two-party system, and the group of decent Republican politicians and voters (easily identified now by their recognition of Biden’s victory) to abandon the shell of a discredited party and start over. The Republican Party’s “brand” is permanently sullied.
Why not call whatever comes along the Conservative Reality Party? Such a body could set a precondition that its members do not create a fictional universe and undermine the political system because they are too cowardly to stand up to a man-baby’s temper tantrum. In other words, they have to accept reality and respect democracy before they can credibly advance ideas.
There are Senate runoff elections coming up in Georgia in January. Voters there can do the country — and, frankly, decent and honorable Republicans — a service by refusing to send two of the worst actors in this horror show, Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, back to the Senate. Perdue and Loeffler are actively trying to undermine the election results by demanding the Republican secretary of state resign. Propounding the Big Lie because they think it will carry them to victory should disqualify them from office.
Enough. End the reward system in which craziness, lying and authoritarian propaganda is the ticket to Republicans’ political success. Remember the few who acted honestly and honorably; any future for their party rests with them.