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Monday, December 14, 2020

Opinion | Trump Has Never Believed in Democracy

Trump Has Never Believed in Democracy

He wants to wield power without winning it legitimately.

“Donald Trump’s continued effort to overturn the result of the election — an effort buttressed by the support of many Republicans in Congress, it should be noted — is nothing short of an attempt at a bloodless coup.

The only way Trump could achieve his aim of denying Joe Biden his rightfully earned victory would be if some people or entities — state legislatures, judges or the Supreme Court — were to agree to throw out millions of legally cast and appropriate votes. (It is also worth noting that many of the jurisdictions being disputed are heavily Black.)

But a stinging defeat in the Supreme Court, packed with three justices of Trump’s own choosing, seems to have slammed the door on any legal path Trump might have had in his outrageous endeavor. The members of the Electoral College will meet on Monday and choose the next president. Barring any extraordinary and unprecedented developments, they will select Joe Biden, as the people already have.

And yet, on Saturday Trump continued to insist on Twitter that “I WON THE ELECTION IN A LANDSLIDE,” and that the Supreme Court ruling was incorrect: “This is a great and disgraceful miscarriage of justice. The people of the United States were cheated, and our Country disgraced. Never even given our day in Court!”

That same day, Trump flew over a “Stop the Steal” rally at Washington’s Freedom Plaza, where the Proud Boys were a prominent presence.

He keeps lying to his supporters, telling them — partly out of pride, partly out of a craven quest for power — that he was cheated and that he actually won the election. Many of them believe him. Right-wing media have aided him in his deception, as have Republican officials, either through their public pronouncements or through their silence.

On Sunday, the House minority whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and said:

“If you want to restore trust by millions of people who are still very frustrated and angry about what happened, that’s why you got to have this whole system play out.”

But of course this isn’t about restoring faith in our elections; rather, it is about allowing Trump to further degrade that faith. Scalise and many other Republicans are accomplices in this crime against our democracy. Trump is still trying to steal this election, and they are outside revving the engine of the getaway car.

That a majority of all Republicans in the House of Representatives expressed support for the frivolous Texas lawsuit signals to me that the difference between liberals and conservatives is no longer about values; it is now about a fundamental belief in democracy. Republicans appear to be saying that not all votes matter or should be counted. This is voter suppression on the grandest of scales, because it is an attempt at voter erasure, at eliminating votes that have already been cast and counted.

All the while, Trump has continued to use the division and deception he has created to raise money. He has now collected more than $200 million in donations in support of his bogus election recounts.

But, as The New York Times reported earlier this month:

“Mr. Trump’s campaign apparatus has continued to aggressively solicit donations under the guise of supporting his various legal challenges to the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr., but as of now 75 percent of donations goes to a new political action committee that Mr. Trump formed in mid-November, up to the PAC’s legal limit of $5,000. The other 25 percent goes to the Republican National Committee. Only if a donor gives more than $6,000 do any funds go to Mr. Trump’s formal ‘recount’ account.”

Trump has realized that trying to steal the presidency is more lucrative than actually being president, so he won’t stop. We are witnessing one of the greatest grifts in the history of the presidency.

The presidency gave Trump something he always craved but never possessed: constant attention and real, legitimate power. And, once tasted, power is craved forever.

Trump has never believed in American democracy. He was never a student of history. He was never really a patriot.

When he foreshadowed his current behavior in 2016 by refusing to say that he would accept the results of that election as legitimate if he didn’t win, we knew. When he cozied up to the world’s dictators and spurned our allies, we knew. When he winked at hate groups by refusing to immediately and fulsomely condemn them, we knew.

Trump wants to operate a dictatorship behind a veil of democracy. He wants to wield power without winning it legitimately. He wants to manipulate his mob and prioritize it above the masses who oppose him.

Yes, Trump is attempting a coup, whether or not you want to call it that. But, no matter what you choose to call something, it will still be what it is.”

Opinion | Trump Has Never Believed in Democracy

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