The Daily Escape:
Bradford Pear, Fields of Wrong, Litchfield County, CT – November 2020 iPhone photo by Wrongo. The Bradford Pear has white flowers very early in the spring, and red leaves in fall. It’s among the first to flower, and last to lose its leaves.
Wrongo is increasingly pessimistic that the majority of Republican voters will accept the result of the Biden vs. Trump 2020 election. The Morning Consult has a survey that shows:
- 7 in 10 Republicans believe the 2020 election wasn’t free or fair: 48% of Republicans say it “definitely” was not free and fair, and another 22% say it “probably” was not. That’s twice the share of Republicans who said the race would not be free and fair just weeks before the election.
- Republicans are most skeptical about the Pennsylvania results: Just 23% of Republican voters say they believe the results in PA are reliable, while 33% say the same about the results in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin.
This has incredibly dire consequences for the country, and possibly, for our democracy. The WaPo’s Greg Sargent writes:
“With Trump unlikely to formally concede, you can see a kind of Lost Cause of Trumpism mythology taking hold, in which many supporters continue believing the election was stolen from him and that squeamish Republicans betrayed him by not fighting hard enough against it.”
No one should be surprised by this. Trump told us four years ago while running against Hillary Clinton, that he would only respect the outcome of the election if he won. And he’s been saying the same thing for months about this election. As Rick Hasen suggests, Trump and the GOP are placing a cloud of illegitimacy over Biden’s presidency.
This is not tenable. You can’t move on to what should come next when 70% of Republicans think Trump should be sworn in on January 20. You can’t reconcile with a party whose voters overwhelmingly believe the election was stolen from them.
Now, America will wait on the courts, which are conveniently stocked with judges appointed by Trump, and handpicked by Mitch McConnell. Don’t expect that all of the cases will be dismissed. Eventually, one or more of them will reach a Supreme Court that has three Justices who Trump has already said he expects will pay him back for their seats on the High Court. Add to them Alito and Thomas, and boom, we might have the Court overturning the election.
Yesterday, Trump filed a lawsuit seeking to block the certification of the Pennsylvania election results. Variations of the word “fraud” appear in the lawsuit 33 times, mostly in the context of prosecutions related to other elections. The only suspected instances of voter fraud cited in the complaint occurred in two counties that voted for Trump: Fayette, where Trump is winning by a 34 point margin, and Luzerne, where his lead is 14 points. The case has been assigned to US District Judge Matthew Brann, a Barack Obama appointee.
More and more Republicans are throwing in with Trump’s stolen-election whine fest. Axios reported that more foreign leaders have called to congratulate Biden than have GOP Senators.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said perhaps jokingly? There “will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” On Monday, Trump ordered senior government leaders to block cooperation with Biden’s transition team, escalating the standoff. That prompted the Biden team to consider legal action.
AG William Barr waded in to President Trump’s unfounded accusations of election irregularities by telling federal prosecutors that they were free to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified. Barr ignored the Justice Department’s longstanding (for 40 years) policies intended to keep law enforcement from affecting the outcome of an election.
This could become a battle about whether we remain a democratic republic. Trump supporters have already indicated what side of that battle they are on. So has the feckless Republican leadership. What can the Democrats do to prevent us from becoming an “illiberal democracy“?
Are they even aware that this is what may happen? Wrongo fears that the Dems are fighting the 20 year-old battle of Bush vs. Gore, not the current high-stakes battle for the soul of the nation.
This could fester for weeks, until the Electoral College meets on December 14. The damage could be incalculable.