In Bureaucracy, History, Politics, Social commentary on November 5, 2020 at 12:14 am

For the first time in its history, a President of the United States demanded a halt to the counting of votes while the outcome of an election hung in doubt.

Speaking from the White House in the early hours of November 4, President Donald Trump sounded like a petulant child whose planned outing has been suddenly called off.

“Millions and millions of people voted for us tonight, and a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people and we won’t stand for it, we will not stand for it.”

For a man who had tried—often successfully—to deprive millions of their right to vote, Trump made it clear that he didn’t know what disenfranchisement means.

“We were getting ready for a big celebration, we were winning everything and all of a sudden it was just called off. The results tonight have been phenomenal…I mean literally we were just all set to get outside and just celebrate something that was so beautiful, so good, such a vote such a success.” 

It was Trump-–not his challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden—who was demanding that the electoral process be halted. And that those votes that had not yet been counted be, in effect, flushed down the toilet.

“The citizens of this country have come out in record numbers, this a record, there’s never been anything like it to support our incredible movement….Most importantly, we’re winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount of votes. We’re up 690,000 votes.” 

Donald Trump

Owing to the Coronavirus pandemic—which Trump had refused to aggressively address from its outset in January—millions of Americans had voted by mail. The idea of standing in Coronavirus-infected lines had not appealed to them. And they believed they could perform their civic duty in a far less dangerous way via the Postal Service.

“These aren’t even close, this is not like, Oh, it’s close. With 64% of the vote in, it’s going to be almost impossible and we’re coming into good Pennsylvania areas where they happen to like your president. We’re winning Michigan…I said ‘Wow, that’s a lot’…

“And we’re winning Wisconsin…so when you take those three states in particular and you take all of the others…and all of a sudden it’s not like we’re up 12 votes and we have 60% left, we won states and all of a sudden, I said, ‘What happened to the election? It’s off.’ And we have all these announcers saying, ‘What’s happened’ and then they said, ‘Ohhh.’”

Many Americans were outraged at this brazen attempt to subvert democracy. But it was hardly surprising, considering Trump’s reaction to the defeat of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Mitt Romney

On April 17, 2011, toying with the idea of entering the Presidential race himself, Trump said of Romney:

“He’d buy companies. He’d close companies. He’d get rid of jobs. I’ve built a great company. I’m a much bigger businessman and have a much, much bigger net worth. I mean my net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney.

“Mitt Romney is a basically small-business guy, if you really think about it. He was a hedge fund. He was a funds guy. He walked away with some money from a very good company that he didn’t create. He worked there. He didn’t create it.”

But by February 2, 2012, Trump had changed his mind: “It’s my honor, real honor, and privilege to endorse Mitt Romney” for President.

“Mitt is tough, he’s smart, he’s sharp, he’s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to this country that we all love. So, Governor Romney, go out and get ‘em. You can do it.”  

But Mitt couldn’t do it. On November 6, 2012, Obama defeated Romney.

Related image

Barack Obama

Trump was outraged—and immediately took to Twitter:

  • More votes equals a loss…revolution!  [For Trump, allowing all Americans the right to vote is a travesty—especially when they vote for a candidate he dislikes.]
  • Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us. [Overwhelmingly, the world welcomed Obama’s re-election.]
  • We can’t let this happen.  We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. [This is essentially advocating violent overthrow of the government—treason.]
  • The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. [The 2012 Republican Platform had spoken lovingly about the need for preserving the Electoral College: “We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College.”]
  • The loser one! He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election.  [The loser didn’t win: He lost. Obama got 65,915,795 votes; Romney got 60,933,504.] 
  • We should have a revolution in this country!  [In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote (50,999,897) to George W. Bush’s 50,456,002. But Bush trounced Gore in the Electoral College (271 to 266). It was only when Obama won the Electoral College count by 332 to 206 that this was—according to Trump—a “travesty.”]

This was the man 63 million ignorant, hate-filled, Right-wing Americans elected in 2016. And the man millions have tried to re-elect in 2020.

This does not bode well for democracy.

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