Analysis

Trump’s Desperation and Republicans’ Shame

The president’s attempts to cling to power are doomed to fail. Republicans support them anyway.

Donald Trump
American president Donald Trump arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017 (ANG/Annie Edwards)

Donald Trump’s attempt to cling to power has been going no better since we last checked in. He is trying to steal the election, as I expected he would, but there are still officials, including Republicans, who care more about doing the right thing than humoring the president.

  • Election officials in all states counted all the votes, despite cries from Trump and his supporters to stop the count in states where he was ahead before mailed-in ballots could be counted.
  • Secretaries of state and governors, regardless of party, certified the results in all states, despite appeals from Trump and his supporters to overturn the popular will where the outcome was close and appoint electors for the president, rather than Joe Biden.
  • 86 judges of both parties threw out lawsuits brought by Trump and Republicans to discard postal ballots or otherwise invalidate the election results.
  • All nine justices of the Supreme Court, including the three appointed by Trump, refused to even hear a lawsuit brought by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton to overturn the election in four other states.
  • The Electoral College met in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. There were no faithless electors. Republican activists claiming to be electors in Michigan were barred from the state capitol, where the actual electors cast their votes for Biden.

Trump’s last (legal) opportunity to remain in power will be on January 6, when Vice President Mike Pence reads out the Electoral College votes in Congress. But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has already called on his members not to raise objections on that day.

Cult

Not all Republicans are ready to face reality.

Texas’ lawsuit was supported by seventeen other Republican state attorneys as well as 126 out of 195 House Republicans, despite unconstitutionally calling for the invalidation of the elections in other states (Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin).

So much for federalism.

The fact that so many Republicans were willing to lend their names to an effort that not only flew in the face of everything they once claimed to hold dear but was doomed to fail proves theirs is no longer a political party but has become a personality cult beholden to a conman.

62 percent of Republican voters, 46 million Americans, believe the election wasn’t fair. Another 16 percent have little confidence it was.

Trump’s lawyers have not presented any credible evidence of voter fraud.

Grownups

Counting on the “grownups” in the Republican Party to rein Trump in has been a fool’s errand from the start. They didn’t speak out when the president attacked the freedom of the press, encouraged violence, invited a foreign power to interfere in the election, sided with America’s enemies over its allies, pardoned his friends and claimed, without evidence, that the 2016 and 2020 elections were rigged. I don’t expect they will say much now.

But McConnell, most Senate Republicans, conservative judges, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal have recognized the outcome of the election, and they ought to worry that Trump could become a liability to the Republican cause.

For the majority of House Republicans, conservative radio, Sinclair, Breitbart and — for now — most Republican voters, Trump is the cause.

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