I suffered a huge attack of déjà vu on election night. After Florida went for Trump, I was sure we were experiencing another repeat of 2016 and went to bed early. The next morning I hesitated to turn on the radio afraid of hearing the news. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Biden was still in contention. After several days, I came to realize that Biden had won. For a short while, I felt a relief as if a heavy load had been removed. I looked forward to the days when the malignancy that has been the Trump administration was in the rearview mirror.
But of course, I had underestimated Trump again. Instead of graciously conceding what has been obvious to every sincere election official for weeks, Trump has pursued an illegal and unconstitutional attack on the election results of multiple states — oddly only the swing states that voted for Biden. Initially, he refused to allow the Inauguration Committee to meet with representatives of the man being inaugurated on Jan. 20. Apparently Trump’s psychic makeup does not allow for certain facts to be recognized as facts. We should not be surprised by this, when for four years, facts on the ground have not been acknowledged as reality. From denial of the COVID threat, to denying that he threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine when his own words show he did, the glib lies kept coming year after year. Imagine a president leading our nation on the world stage where facts and lies are interchangeable in his mind. That is what we have had under this administration. We are so fortunate to rid ourselves of this albatross. However, we are not rid of him yet. Now in the twilight of his reign, Trump is frantically firing those he considers disloyal, installing ill-qualified replacements, calling Republican state politicians trying to get them to reverse or throw out votes, and bragging about the speed of virus vaccinations. As the virus rages across the country, we can see the results of the drumbeat that “masks are not helpful” and “the virus is just a flu” crowd. I hope that motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., was a good one, since it helped spread it all over the nearby states.
And now we have reached the pinnacle of this absurd administration with Trump’s latest and greatest attempt to upend our democracy. First, he conjured up a lawsuit to have the Supreme Court throw out the whole election and install him for a second term. Texas, with 17 other Republican states attorney generals and over 100 Republican congressional members, has submitted a request to the Supreme Court to throw out the voting results in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The rationale for this seems to be that these states apparently expanded voting by mail to allow voters to dodge long lines of potential virus exposure for this election occurring in this age of COVID. Although they can exhibit no confirmed examples of vote rigging, they claim that this expansion of mail-in ballots opened the door to cheating. Maybe it happened, so, throw out the state’s results. This absurd conclusion is only exceeded by the latest revelation where he strong-armed the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” more than 11,000 Trump votes to overturn that state’s results. If this were to succeed in this and other state’s elections, poof, in one stroke our democracy is gone. Votes cast every four years for our presidents no longer count, and presidents are picked by the Supreme Court.
All this wonder brought to you by today’s Republican party. I have friends and relatives who are Trump voters. I hope they know what the long-term result would be if their hero prevails on this last gasp attempt to stay in power. In that case, Trump’s reign would truly go on and on. The U.S. as a democracy would simply be gone.
Stan Shell is a resident of Newport.