By Larry J. Schweiger
Pittsburgh Current Columnist
Joe Biden is the declared presidential winner earning a record-breaking seventy-eight million votes and 306 electoral college votes. It is time for a transition, yet Trump rejects a smooth transfer of power that has been a Presidential tradition dating back to George Washington. While hospitals across America reach critical capacities, Biden’s health experts are shutout from response planning information. Meanwhile, Trump ignores the raging pandemic, turns his legal fight over to Rudy Giuliani and goes golfing.
Ignoring repeated assertions by state election officials and other experts about the election’s integrity and transparency, Trump, the poor loser, and Giuliani are fighting the overwhelming electoral and popular election results. In repudiation of Giuliani’s court claims, top government, and industry experts, including the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agencies, declared the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”
The GOP wall protecting Trump needs to crack wide open. While not acknowledging his defeat, some republican lawmakers are encouraging Trump to give Biden the needed National Security briefings. They must hold Trump accountable for ignoring the virus and move the transition forward. The Senate must now address the Heroes Act funding approved by the House. Millions of out-of-work Americans are going hungry.
Trump lost numerous frivolously filed court cases including nine cases in a single day. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) intervened in Trump for President v. Kathy Boockvar. This suit challenged seven county boards of election, including Philadelphia and Allegheny, where Biden won.
The ACLU described what Trump and Giuliani are doing with lawsuits. The memorandum warned the “Plaintiffs have launched an all-out attack on voting by mail-in and absentee ballot. They have done so, unapologetically, in the midst of a global pandemic. The relief Plaintiffs seek from this Court is unprecedented, unsupported and unsupportable: They want to stop Pennsylvania from certifying the results of the 2020 General Election. If that fails, they seek (1) to prevent all mail-in and absentee ballots cast in up to seven counties, including Pennsylvania’s two largest counties from being counted – a request for relief that, if granted, would result in over 2.6 million voters having their lawfully cast ballots discarded; and (2) to prevent ballots cast by qualified electors in the seven named counties from being counted if a voter was afforded an opportunity to cure a mail-in ballot. This flagrant attempt to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters must be rejected.”
Two of Trump’s lawyers were from the Pittsburgh-based firm, Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur. After well-deserved criticism, they withdrew, leaving one unaffiliated Philadelphia lawyer.
Failing in the courts, Trump is spawning an anti-democratic movement. Eleven days after the election, his motorcade drove through a crowd of Trumpsters, including many white supremacists, Proud Boys, QAnons, and anti-government extremists in a carefully coordinated “Stop the Steal” rally. Rodger Stone, the convicted political operative, the wacky My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, and Infowars founder Alex Jones were all involved in promoting the protests. Without a shred of evidence, they claim the election was rigged. Trump’s failure to respect the legal and constitutional mechanisms of voting will undoubtedly continue to spawn doubt about future elections.
The adage “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time” holds in this election. Fact-checking by The Washington Post found Trump uttered at least 20,000 lies and disturbingly misleading claims. During his failed administration, the consummate snake-oil salesman averaged more than 50 false claims a day. Trump has mastered the art of distraction, confusion, and deception and captured 47.4% of the votes. This very flawed man repeatedly lied and blatantly deceived about seventy-three million voters.
Every Trump voter ignored or even embraced his freedom from mask nonsense. They discounted his consistent failures in handling the deadly virus, including his attempt currently pending before the SCOTUS to eliminate health care for millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions. Early on, Trump hid the truth. When the virus went out of control, he failed to create a nationally coordinated response with mandatory PPE manufacturing, contact tracing, aggressive testing and targeted Federally mandated restrictions.
Trump turned precautionary measures like mask-wearing into a macho-political statement at his super-spreader events, ignoring and even mocking the CDC’s warnings. He turned masks into a political wedge issue. He greatly exacerbated the spread of disease to 11 million Americans, with almost a quarter of a million deaths. Trump predicted that the media would not be talking about the pandemic after the election. With a million new cases this past week, the virus is spiking in every state, especially in the three battleground states that hosted many Trump rallies. Trump’s misleading claims and his super-spreader events were hazardous, but millions of voters did not seem to care.
A staggering seventy-three million Americans voted for Trump, knowing he called the climate crisis a hoax. By voting for him, they endorse deregulations that have degraded the environment and threaten our children’s future. They voted for a President who blocked even modest measures underway to address the climate crisis. Trump voters ignored climate enhanced storms and the record-breaking 2020 hurricane season, now with 30 separate named storms. Trump voters also ignored the record-breaking massive climate-fires that burned more than 8.2 million acres in eight states during 2020 alone. They follow Trump in rejecting the compelling science linking the fires to a warming climate. By voting for Trump, they rejected the many climate scientists who warn that we are facing unstoppable climate disruption if we fail to rapidly move to a clean energy economy. The climate carnage continues unchecked.
Nearly seventy-three million Americans voted for a man who in four short years tarnished our standing in the world. Trump insulted many democratic leaders and distanced America from our long-time, most stable democratic friends in NATO. He has even insulted and demeaned our good neighbors in Canada and Mexico.
Trump has been anti-democratic and it shows throughout his administration. He actively cultivated relationships with the world’s most dangerous dictators and strongmen including Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Rodrigo Duterte, and even Jair Bolsonaro, who is destroying the Amazon rainforest. He ignored compelling surveillance information that Putin was paying bounties on American soldiers while he was having numerous private conversations with Putin that never even got a read-out. Serving Putin’s treacherous ambitions, Trump just fired vital military and intelligence agency leadership and replaced them with Trump’s lackeys.
Seventy-three million Americans voted for an undeniable sexist and racist who repeatedly made explicitly racist and bigoted remarks, demonized minorities, insulted numerous prominent women, and established far-reaching xenophobic policies. With at least 26 women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct since the 1970s, white women still supported him in alarming numbers. Trump has repeatedly demonized Muslims and Latinos, even banning entry from many Muslim countries into America. He denies that America still struggles with systemic racism. Trump’s mean-spirited family separation policy orphaned 666 Latino children. Yet he urged suburban white female voters to like him during a rally in Johnstown with an implicit racist message, “I saved your damn neighborhood.” Despite his Access Hollywood confession tape, white women ignored what Trump told Bob Woodward, “You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead… You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”
Think about this. If only white women could vote in 2020, Trump would have won the election since according to exit polls, 55% of white women voted for him. In a Salon piece, Terry H. Schwadron summarized, “Over a lifetime, Trump regularly demeaned and insulted women, he faces multiple charges of assault, he has paid off porn stars for sex, he campaigned by telling suburban women he would find jobs for their husbands, he promoted policies attacking women of color, Muslim women, immigrant women.”
It is now clear that “America First” was really about “Trump First” since in a lame duck mode, he is doing nothing to stop the flood of infections. This is no longer just about Trump. It is about the millions of Americans who voted for a man who has repeatedly ignored the rule of law, denied science, and violated so many American values. Trumpsters need some serious introspection and reflection about what was motivating their vote. Trumpism is a perilous path for the virus, the climate, human rights, world affairs, and for the future of America’s democracy. It is time to drain the swamp of Trumpism.