“It increasingly appears that it will be up to the Republican Party to save America from a would-be dictator. President Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear in recent weeks that he has no intention of honoring the will of the voters this election, and he could well get away with dismantling the American system of governance unless Republicans take a stand.”
Timberjay editorial, Oct. 2, 2020
Perhaps the saddest thing we can say about the current state of affairs with our presidential election is that there is nothing here that is a surprise. Donald Trump made it perfectly clear in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 3 election that he would only accept the will of the people if he won.
Most of us learn by the time we reach Kindergarten that you don’t win every game, and that just because you lose at Chutes and Ladders, doesn’t mean the other kid cheated, or that you have the right to throw the board and pieces across the room in a snit. Donald Trump clearly never learned the basic lessons that help the rest of us get along.
Unfortunately, just as the parent who fails to correct the unruly child enables their bad behavior, the failure of Republican Party leaders to put the nation before their own narrow political interests, has allowed an unhinged President to put our representative form of government in the greatest peril in modern history.
The reality is that GOP leaders in Congress and elsewhere are well aware that there is absolutely no evidence of any kind of systematic voter fraud that could sway the election. The Trump administration has had case after case virtually laughed out of court for lack of any basis in reality.
President-elect Joe Biden won a commanding victory, with a popular vote margin that now exceeds six million and an electoral vote margin identical to the one Trump called “a landslide” four years ago.
The people have spoken, yet top GOP leaders sit mute as the leader of their party takes their party’s members down a rabbit hole of mass delusion. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, argued with a straight face last Thursday that election officials, of both parties, across the country, conspired to commit fraud to defeat President Trump. They did so, according to Guiliani, using voting machines linked to the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and George Soros, a funder of liberal causes often demonized by the right, and that votes in the U.S. election were actually being counted overseas.
This would be a surprise to the thousands of election officials around the United States who worked tirelessly for days to complete the vote counting this year. It would be an even bigger surprise to election officials in Georgia, who used the very machines at issue. They recently completed a full hand recount of all their ballots, only to find no evidence of manipulation of the vote in that state, which went for Biden. Trump’s own top cyber-security official certified this year’s election as the most secure in American history. Of course, he was fired for speaking the truth.
The logical disconnects in all of this are stunning. The Trump administration and its followers would have us believe that the very same ballots, which they are happy to count to maintain their Senate majority, are somehow tainted on the presidential portion. Would liberals really conspire to keep Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority leader? Really?
As the news and opinion site Huffington Post recently headlined the situation: “Comically Stupid, Profoundly Dangerous.” It’s true. The Trump campaign’s antics would be a source of amusement if they weren’t destroying America. Several recent polls have shown that large majorities of the Republican base actually believe the vile nonsense being peddled by Trump and his craven allies. How do we ever put the pieces back together as a nation when tens of millions of Americans fall victim to malicious fantasy? This is precisely how nations become failed states.
There was a time when GOP leaders actually demonstrated leadership. In 1974, top Republicans went to the White House and told then-President Richard Nixon it was time to go, for the good of the country. Today, they sit in their offices, many unwilling to even acknowledge the reality of Biden’s election for fear of unleashing the anger of millions of their constituents who labor under the delusion, fed by their own president, that the election was, somehow, a massive fraud.
There certainly is fraud at play here, and President Trump and his GOP allies are the perpetrators.
There is only one way to reverse course, and it requires that top GOP leaders exercise the political courage needed now to save this country from the chaos that Trump seeks to inflict on us all. Otherwise— let’s face it— he’ll burn the house down.