There are many things for which Donald Trump will be remembered. They include being impeached for his complicity with Russian election interference, caging children and separating them from their parents, wasting billions of dollars on a fake border wall that Mexico will never pay for, alienating allies, and driving the economy into a persistent recession. Wait, that aint all.
Trump has also presided over the despoiling the environment, skimming millions of taxpayer funds for himself, wantonly violating innumerable laws, humiliating the nation with his hostile and infantile behavior, and, of course, being responsible for the deaths of a quarter of a million Americans due to his ignorance, incompetence, and deliberate mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s quite a legacy. But it is apparently not enough for Trump. He is using his final days in the White House to purposefully undermine respect for the most fundamental American principles. Rather than accept the obvious and decisive defeat that he was dealt by President-elect Joe Biden, Trump has chosen to malign democracy with repeated assertions that the election he so deservedly lost was “rigged” by an implausible cabal of Democrats, Republicans, press, tech companies, civil servants, and even members of his own administration whom he appointed.
Not surprisingly, Trump’s bitter and selfish defiance of reality has resulted in an attitudinal shift among his weak-minded cult followers and Fox News junkies. The consequences have been affirmed in a new poll by Reuters/Ipsos. And Trump is so proud of the findings that he featured it in his Wednesday morning tweetstorm:
This was a rigged election. No Republican Poll Watchers allowed, voting machine “glitches” all over the place (meaning they got caught cheating!), voting after election ended, and so much more! https://t.co/YDh7A7wxLW
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2020
Needless to say, literally everything Trump alleged in that tweet is verifiably false. Some of it was even stipulated as false by his attorneys in one of the many court cases he’s filed. For the record, Trump is 1 in 24, a nearly perfect score of lawsuit losses. But never fear, according to his lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, losing is all part of his master plan.
The rest of his morning Twantrum was filled with baseless allegations that the Democratic victory was achieved by cheating, for which Trump has zero proof. Consequently, most of his tweets were flagged by Twitter as disputed, misleading or otherwise false. But that wrist-slapping hasn’t deterred him from continuing to lie. Nine of his 13 Wednesday morning tweets were also flagged.
The link that Trump provided in the tweet above led to the results of a poll that reveals the extent to which Trump has poisoned the political environment. It found that Republicans – Trump’s base – have abandoned any association with American democratic values. They are now a confederacy of anti-democratic subversives whose loyalty is only to their Dear Leader:
“Altogether, 73% of those polled agreed that Biden won the election while 5% thought Trump won. But when asked specifically whether Biden had ‘rightfully won,’ Republicans showed they were suspicious about how Biden’s victory was obtained. Fifty-two percent of Republicans said that Trump ‘rightfully won,’ while only 29% said that Biden had rightfully won. […] 68% of Republicans said they were concerned that the election was ‘rigged.'”
So a majority of Republicans share the delusional belief that Trump was the actual winner of the election. For that to be true, six million votes would have to be thrown out and the results from at least three states overturned. It’s a preposterous idea that has been nurtured by Trump’s relentless whining that he’s a victim of an extraordinarily powerful league of evildoers. His tweets scream out “UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!” and “I WON THE ELECTION.” And his minions chant along blindly.
Let’s not forget to give due credit for this mass hysteria to Fox News, a network that Media Matters has documented as having “cast doubt on or pushed conspiracy theories about the election results at least 574 times” just since Fox themselves called the election for Joe Biden. That’s the sort of air cover that turns Trump’s babbling into a thick mass of dogma that coats the brain cavities of his Deplorables.
Make no mistake, Trump, Republicans, and Fox News are doing the dirty work for Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and other foreign adversaries who are thrilled to see the American people losing faith in their own government. It is an unambiguous act of treason. What’s more, Trump himself used to think so. In 2016 he said that Democrats who disputed the legitimacy of his election were “a direct threat to our democracy.”
Democrats, however, were not disparaging democratic processes or voting systems. They were questioning the unsavory relationships between Trump and Russian operatives. Those relationships were well documented and overtly damaging. The only party that is openly hostile to American democracy is Trump’s Republican Party. And that will remain an obstacle to the healing of our nation for the new Biden administration.
It is, therefore, critical that the crimes of the Trump administration be investigated and prosecuted in order to exorcise the demons summoned by Trump and his cohorts. If there aren’t consequences for those crimes, there will be no deterrent for others going forward. And worse, there will be no moral standing for the prospect of American leadership as an example of democratic freedom.