Wednesday, January 20, 2021

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Our apologies for the four year descent into the Emergency Broadcast System. 

Every president has an opportunity to be great. Donald Trump had that opportunity, and he did change our political culture for good and (mostly) for ill. but instead of trying to unify the country around an issue that both Republicans and Democrats could enthusiastically agree, such as rebuilding our infrastructure, he went straight for the Muslim ban, building the wall, and repealing Obamacare. His response to Covid was to hope it went away. And then there were all of those tweets. He also wallowed, and continues to wallow, in baseless conspiracy theories. 

History does not treat wallowers kindly. Especially those wallowers who incite insurrections.

He's ended his tenure with a graceless exit, refusing both to acknowledge his defeat and the importance of the traditional passing of power from one administration to the next. 

History similarly does not look kindly on unacknowledgers. See Adams, John; Adams, John Quincy and Johnson, Andrew. Add in two impeachments. Stir.

Joe Biden can also be a great president, and he's set an  ambitious agenda to tackle not just Covid, but immigration, the climate, economic opportunity, paid family leave, and social justice. He will have a slim majority in Congress, and the hope is that a couple of Republicans will vote for bills that will move the country forward. There is much he can do with executive orders, but especially with immigration and climate, it would be best to pass some legislation. We'll see if that happens.

My hope is that enough Americans see the insurrection of January 6 as a turning point in American history that ends some of the animosity we've built up over the years. Many Republicans are not in the mood to compromise. This will not be easy, but it will be necessary.

Biden will at least speak the words of unity and patriotism, but it's up to all of us as Americans to welcome them in the national interest. I understand that Democrats did not do this in 2017, and my expectations are such that I don't see Republicans doing it willingly in 2021. Time, though, has a habit of chipping away at the jagged stone of obstruction until it becomes, if not smooth, at least less perilous. Donald Trump did not try to unify the country, nor did he speak words that soothed or tempered the emotions of the moment. Joe Biden will do that. And words have meanings.

As always, I remain optimistic that we will become a more inclusive, more united, more compassionate country than we've been recently and that we will work to right the wrongs we've inflicted upon ourselves and others. 

Godspeed to President Biden and all who serve this nation.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

January 20 Can't Get Here Soon Enough

And here I was planning on writing a hopeful piece based on the new year and the Biden Administration taking over on January 20th. I was even willing to dismiss Senator Josh Hawley's stunt, in which he was going to formally object to the Electoral Vote count on January 6.

Then this happened. Eleven Republican Senators, with the Vice President's blessing, will also formally object to the vote count, and will further call for the formation of a commission to audit the vote in  states that flipped from Trump to Biden.

It seems they are concerned that despite the fact that no credible evidence exists of voter fraud, suppression of votes, or illegal activity on the part of states regarding absentee, mail-in, or voting machine votes, and despite the fact that the U.S. Attorney General, Attorneys General and Governors of states that switched from Trump to Biden, State Court, Federal Appellate Court, and U.S. Supreme Court Justices have found either no credible evidence to support overturning the will of the people or that, well, states can't sue other states and force them to overturn the will of their voters because they don't like the outcome, the election might be tainted. Why? Because Donald Trump says so.

Please understand that this attempted coup will go nowhere because both the House and the Senate would have to approve it and that won't happen. But also understand that if the House and the Senate were both controlled by Republicans and enough of them decided that losing the support of Trump's voters was too difficult to bear, then they could have stopped the process of counting Electoral Votes and possibly reversed the results of the election. Why? Because Donald Trump says so.

And that's the key here. The only reason why these officials are trying to subvert a fair and free democratic election is that Donald Trump cannot lose. He's been squawking about mail-in ballots since the spring, making unfounded accusations about voter fraud. Then he lost, which evidently can never happen, and he continued to make unfounded, unsupported, specious accusations about the vote and filed scores of lawsuits that essentially said that the election was unfair because...Donald Trump says so. 

That's it. There's no evidence, but these Senators, and 126 Republican Representatives, believe they must investigate a non- issue that's been investigated and adjudicated multiple times. 

It's a disgrace.

The president lost the election because of his terrible response to the pandemic, his vile tweets, his disregard for democratic institutions, his belief that he had powers beyond the constitution, his policies, his lack of political knowledge about how to get things done, his demeanor, his impeachment, and the general fact that both Democrats and moderate Republicans voted for Joe Biden. 

He lost the popular vote in 2016 and 2020 and his approval ratings were stuck in the mid-40s for almost his entire presidency. He was never broadly popular, and in Joe Biden, 81 million people saw a leader who would restore our pride, place in the world, faith in democratic institutions, and reliance on facts and science.

That, obviously, is not enough for the president or the Republicans who've decided to try and upend the election. There is no fraud. There was no cheating. There was only a free and fair election that saw a resounding rejection of a president that a majority of Americans did not want to serve another term. 

Trump's graceless response to his loss was to ignore the pandemic and the legislative process that might have resulted in more money being given to needy Americans until it was too late, and the rejection of a bill that funds the military because he wanted to keep Confederate names on military bases. For the latter, his veto was resoundingly overridden. He has not, nor will he ever, concede that he lost the election, and he will likely not attend President-elect Biden's inauguration or formally transition the presidency to him, which has been the foremost symbol of democracy after voting, that we have in this country.

Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as our next President and Vice President on January 20th. Americans can then decide whether they want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. The president and those Republican legislators who are plotting against the duly elected government have apparently made their choice.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

President Snowflake

All you need to know about Donald Trump has been on display since the presidential election. Yes, I know that the previous three years plus have been pretty bad, but he's gone above himself since November. It's obvious that he doesn't at all understand how our elections work and why, given the characteristics of the vote this year, he could be winning in the PM, but losing come the AM. 

And I'm not saying that this is some political ploy by a savvy operator who'e just trying to rile up his supporters. It's clear he's just oblivious to how our system works, how votes are counted, how a democracy operates, why even Republican politicians don't support his lawsuits, and, most important, to the fact that he's just not that popular. Polls consistently put his approval ratings under 50% for almost every day of his presidency. He won 46% of the vote in 2016 and 47% in 2020. So mush has been made of the fact that he's won 74 million votes so far. Joe Biden's won 81 million. He wins.

Even more than that, though, is Trump's sense that all Republicans and conservative judges must be on his side rather than on the side of the Constitution. This is obviously the most dangerous aspect of his actions. It's one thing to be transnational about policy; it's quite another to fervently believe that since you appointed a judge, that the judge will side with you simply because you...appointed them. I was heartened when the Supreme Court ruled rather curtly that Texas had no standing or evidence to prove anything other than the president thinks he's entitled to win. I was also not surprised that the two justices who said the case could go forward were Alito and Thomas. They've been out of the mainstream for as long as they've been on the court.

Then there are the Republican legislators and governors who also backed the president. I understand party unity and making sure you win your next election, but supporting what is essentially a coup by trying to enable state legislatures to appoint Trump electors despite having no evidence of fraud or chicanery, is madness. And dangerous. 

If you need to upend an election in order to sate the Republican base, then the problem is the base and all people who believe that Republicans and Democrats, legislators and governors, election workers, all media outlets except the ones you determine to be truthful, technology companies, foreign agents, and government workers worked night and day to deny Donald Trump what he, in fact, lost. The election. The popular vote. Enough states for Joe Biden to win 306 electoral votes.

I am still hoping that the president will invite Joe Biden to the White House sometime next week, after the Electoral College has made Biden's win official, but of course I would not be surprised if it didn't happen. Most likely, Donald Trump will make a graceless exit, not attend the Inauguration, and continue to complain endlessly about how unfairly he was treated. As the ultimate snowflake, who couldn't handle the judgement of the people, he will go down in history as just another impeached one-term president. Let's move on to brighter days.