Terry H. Schwadron
Nov. 21, 2020
Just how far does Donald Trump go on this fantasy campaign to overturn election results — and to spend his time — no, our time, the time for which he has been hired?
The toll of disease, death, international tension, lack of federal aid and plain confusion resulting from Trump’s personal tantrum seems ruinous to the country. That price does not even account for the cost of undercutting the institutions of American elections, the role of government and the presidency itself — of seeking to overturning an election won by five million votes.
Unless you’ve chosen to listen only to Trump propaganda widespread fraud over several states, and magically only adversely affecting Trump votes, you know the math says Trump can’t change the outcome. But Trump can and is affecting coordination of all sort in the transition to the Biden era in ways that are dangerous.
Trump is doing nothing about his job of protecting Americans, and everything about protecting Trump — all in the name of American patriotism.
Biden moved yesterday from calling it “embarrassing” to labeling Trump’s resistance “irresponsible.” Trump doesn’t say anything at all, other than tweeting about fraud.
Wildly, it is the image of Rudy Giuliani’s sweaty, leaking makeup at a crazed press conference that has come to symbolize a flailing for overturned elections results.
— Though the Trump campaign has lost all but one legal challenge (the one did not change results), his team intends not only to file more, his campaign is targeting votes in Black and Brown counties. It is an effort that undercuts belief in voting altogether — and, among other things, makes a mockery of two outstanding Senate races in Georgia.
— Indeed, Trump and his team have moved to a political campaign to try to sway Republican legislators in key states to ignore the vote altogether and name a Republican-leaning slate of Electoral College voters. Whatever the legalities of calling Michigan state legislators to the White House to discuss what in effect is a coup.it represents a bald attempt to dismiss the American voter for a personal takeover of government.
— White House inaction on a coronavirus aid package makes it multiple times more difficult to provide the economic flexibility that allows effective response to public health needs for shutdowns. In New York City, state officials are saying that 40% of bus and subway staff face furloughs without an infusion of federal funds that have run out, and millions across the country are facing expiration of unemployment benefits and eviction deLays.
— Now comes word from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that there is no guarantee that Trump will sign any agreement on annual government funding reached in Congress, risking a federal government shutdown altogether just before Biden would take office. We’ve been through a Trump-caused federal shutdown; in the end, Trump was forced to give in.
The longer it all goes on, the worse it is getting.
The Fraud Front
It is hard to declare anything happening extraordinary, because it is becoming routine for Team Trump to insist that he will be inaugurated to a second term in January as a result of fraud. But here were a couple of noteworthy moments:
— In what CNN called “a wild, tangent-filled and often contentious press briefing” led by Rudy Giuliani, the Trump campaign’s legal team outlined its public relations case for fraud in the election (Brietbart brings us the details point by point) over 90 minutes that “was overflowing with falsehoods and conspiracy theories,” with no offers of evidence or proof. One lawyer, Jenna Ellis, said the group was an “elite strike force”; another, Sidney Powell, ”made extreme, baseless claims about communist Venezuela and George Soros supposedly interfering in the US election.”
Many specific claims have already been refuted by federal and state election officials
security experts and a wide, bipartisan array of election administrators across the country. Or they are simply silly.
And while there are federal laws against tampering with election results, Trump is “taking the extraordinary step of reaching out directly to Republican state legislators as he tries to subvert the Electoral College process, inviting Michigan lawmakers to meet with him at the White House,” reported The New York Times. Trump met with Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield who both again ruled out substituting electors from their state.
It is a strategy that, The Times reports, legal experts find legally dubious that friendly legislatures could under certain scenarios effectively subvert the popular vote and send their pro-Trump delegations to the Electoral College.
Earlier, Trump reached out to two Republican local officials who hesitantly certified, then tried to rescind certification of votes from two largely Black counties in Detroit.
While this was going on Americans died at more than 1,200 a day from a disease that Trump had no time to acknowledge. Indeed, Vice President Mike Pence was trotted out to the cameras to say incongruously that this is a time of hope.
How far are Senate Republicans, the attorney general and Americans going to allow this nonsense go?