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November 19, 2020

Trump's refusal to admit defeat humiliates us in the eyes of the world, and even in our own eyes.

Photo: Marcus Paolo Prado, Unsplash

We had no choice but to get Donald J. Trump out of office. Our democracy depended on it and frankly, so did our collective sanity.

But it comes as no surprise that he himself is behaving exactly as expected now. His prolonged tantrum has taken the form of crying foul, making baseless accusations of fraud, rage tweeting, golfing instead of working, and filing lawsuits to try to get his way. All perfectly in character — so much so that they hardly bear mention.

But because he's the President of the United States, there is a lot at stake and so yes, we're back to living on a knife's edge again. Watching his every move. Wondering how much villainy he's capable of, and if we'll escape in time.

As of today, Trump has filed 21 lawsuits so far, challenging voting results in 5 states, but so far has gained little traction. So far the campaign has had just one small win (changing a first-time voter ID date in Pennsylvania from November 12 to November 9); make that a tiny win, especially given that there's no way a three-day change in one state's law could overturn the results of a nationwide election.

Naturally Trump is saving the Supreme Court as his pièce de résistance, which he told us he'd do in advance (one reason Amy Coney Barrett was rushed through the nomination process like a fire truck on the 4th of July) — though according to today's Business Insider, the highest court in the land is not as much on board as he'd hoped.

Photo: aljezeera

I think the problem SCOTUS is having is the same problem all the other courts are having: changing the outcome of an election that had a clear winner. Biden is projected to claim 306 electoral votes after the certification process is complete, vs. 232 votes for Trump. Although Trump called this exact same point spread a "landslide" victory in 2016 when he won against Hillary Clinton, now that the tables are turned he's brandishing words like "fraud" and "rigged" and "crooked."

Illustration: Pat Bailey,

The numbers are such that even if Trump won all of the lawsuits it's filed (and most have already been thrown out), there would be no mathematical way for him to change the outcome.

Thus many legal experts -- for instance Michael Dorf, a Constitutional law professor at Cornell Law School — are irritated and baffled by the President's insistence on repeatedly challenging the contest, wasting the courts' time and the taxpayers' money.

But of course it's all classic Trump. Exactly what we expected of him. And if the legal community is frustrated, imagine how We, the People, feel. This election we overcame appalling obstacles, most of them deliberately placed in our way by the party now claiming "fraud," in order to vote. We stood in hours' long lines, we risked catching the virus, we used drop boxes we hoped wouldn't be tampered with, and we mailed our ballots extra early to allow for De Joy's crooked Post Office to take its time delivering them. We closed our eyes and ears to the misinformation coming straight out of the White House, and once the results were in, we endured Trump crowds at counting stations jeering and accusing us of cheating. We did all that and damn it, we won. We will hold that win.

Photo: the Texas observer, election 2020

But God, what an ordeal this is, watching our President — lacking pride even in the best of times — whining and crying and senselessly pounding the walls. He humiliates us in the eyes of the world and frankly in our own eyes, too. It's hard to imagine a human being with less grace and dignity, and even harder to imagine that any President, no matter how poorly suited to the office, could do a worse job in every respect, from the first day to the last.

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