Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Despite Autocratic-Wannabe Trump's Election Loss, the America Experiment Remains Hanging by the Thread

The 2020 election was never about the issues.  It was about whether we wanted the American Experiment, a government founded 244 years ago on our shared democratic values, a government which embraces freedom of the individual, to survive.  In one term in office, Donald Trump had proven himself to be utterly antithetical to the values of the Republic founded 244 years ago.  He openly admires the powers of dictators and regularly exercised autocratic, extra-constitutional authority as President.  Trump, regularly bypasses Congress in virtually everything he does, executing executive orders instead of working to pass legislation.  If Congress attempts to exercise oversight authority, his administration just ignores the subpoenas.  If his appointed cronies are so unqualified, so unfit they are not able to get confirmed even by a Republican Senate, Trump simply installs them in office anyway, simply adding "acting" to their titles. 

Trump has been equally dismissive of federalism as a limit on his power.   He has ignored the emoluments clause as a protection against executive conflicts of interest.  Trump even takes the position that Americans should have their freedom of speech, particularly the freedom to criticize public figures like him, sharply curtailed.   As President, Trump acts as if he was above the law and accountable to no one.   Government officials who dare report what they believed to be Trump administration misconduct, are savagely attacked by Trump and usually fired.  Many Trump supporters regularly follow up Trump's tweets with personal attacks and occasional physical threats against those who dare blow the whistle.  Meanwhile, Republican elected officials who try to hold Trump accountable are savagely attacked by Trump, and their political careers threatened, if not destroyed.

Trump lost the 2020 election. But we are far from out of the woods when it comes to the survival of the Republic.  Nearly one half of the country was willing to give Trump another term, four more years during which Trump no doubt would have turned his autocratic fantasies into reality, using his authority to enrich himself and punish his enemies.

But even though he lost, Trump is claiming Biden and the Democrats rigged the vote.  Although now two weeks later, Trump's lawyers have not put forth any persuasive evidence to support this claim, some 70% of Trump's supporters nevertheless believe the Democrats stole the election from him.  Meanwhile Trump refuses to cooperate with the transition, even though the delay puts America's national security at risk and could cost the lives of tens of thousands of Americans who might contract Covid-19 in the meantime.  Trump does not care about those Americans or America.  Never did.

You would think that Trump's loss would cause Republicans to develop a backbone.  Not so.  Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Agency, is refusing to process the paperwork to allow the Biden transition to move forward.  Newly-elected South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is willing to risk a felony by contacting swing state election administers trying to get them to throw out legally cast mail-in ballots.  Yesterday, we had two Wayne County (Detroit) Republican administrators refuse to certify election results in that heavily-Democratic county, a decision which could have invalidated Michigan's electoral votes, leaving it to the Michigan legislature to appoint the electors instead. Those local Republicans quickly changed their minds and certified the results.

The one thing Donald Trump has taught us is that American democratic institutions are much more fragile than we ever realized.   So much is based on the honor system.  Well, the honor system does not work when America elects leaders who have no honor, people who have  no commitment to America's values.  Might be time to put those protections, which depend on the honor of America's elected officials, into writing.

OOP's short takes:
  • I see that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, is being investigated by the FBI over allegations of bribery and abuse of power.  Four whistleblowers from Paxton's office were fired or forced to leave their positions.  I am sure Trump sees nothing wrong with anything Paxton is alleged of doing. Guess who is getting a pardon for Christmas?
  • On my blog, I have criticized elected Republican officials, so many of them, for abdicating their constitutional responsibility to hold Trump accountable.  Thus, I should recognize when Republicans risk their reputations and political careers to do their job.  Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger refused to cower to the pressure put on him by President Trump, the two Georgia Senators, and Senator Graham (see above).  Raffensperger could have put his finger on the scale and thrown the election to Trump but he refused to engage in such dishonesty.  If we had more Republicans like Raffensperger there would have been no need for today's column.
  • Speaking of Georgia, Senator David Perdue has announced he will not debate his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff.  That is a good position for a candidate to take when he or she is way ahead in the polls.  It's not a good position to take when the race is dead even.   Perdue not debating Ossoff will be a far bigger campaign issue than any thing that would have come out of the debate.
  • In the other Georgia Senate run-off, appointed Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler has agreed to debate her opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock.  Here is the problem.  Given Loeffler's flirtation with the Qanon crowd during the jungle primary, she is going to be asked whether she denounces the  conspiracy theory that Democrats are are a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who are running a global sex-traffic ring, which ring Trump is trying to stop.  If she says "yes," she runs the risk of losing some of her crazy GOP supporters, which she desperately needs.  If she says "no," she could lose the support of independents and some of the more sane Republicans.  My guess Sen. Loeffler will try the Trump tactic of pretending not to know what Qanon.  That would be consistent with Loeffler earlier this year saying she had not heard of the Access Hollywood tape during which Trump talked about grabbing women's private parts.
  • Yesterday, I heard someone put it quite well.  Let me paraphrase:  "There is no Republican Party any more. There is a Democratic Party and an anti-Democratic Party.  Today's Republican Party does not stand for anything but being against the Democratic Party."  Yep.

1 comment:

True Republican said...

I think Evan McMullen is the one who said what you quoted about the two parties today. At this rate both parties may have to collapse and be rebuilt from scratch.

Indy Republican