John Colson: No answers yet, but some good news
Hit & Run
I had hoped not to be writing about President Donald J. Trump this week, to give myself and the reader a break from the nonstop insanity and spite that has characterized his nearly four years in the White House.
But such is not my fate, as Trump continues to hold out hope that his peculiar brand of “magical thinking” will somehow make his election woes disappear, just as he did regarding news in January that a wickedly infectious and deadly virus had cropped up in the U.S.
The main point, though, is that the 2020 presidential election definitely is not a done deal, as our sitting (or, more appropriately, golfing) president has yet to concede that he lost, despite the fact that President-elect Joseph R. Biden has been called the winner.
As an amusing aside, I understand that after the on-air “talent” at Fox News called Arizona for Biden rather early in the ballot-counting process, at 11:30 p.m. Election Day (followed by the AP at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday), Team Trump went ballistic and started harassing the Fox network’s “brass” (as columnist Maureen Dowd labeled them in The New York Times) to get the early call reversed.
The network’s election division refused to change their call (and Arizona still seems destined to fall into the Biden column). Dowd reported, however, that the “Fox News brass” apparently told the on-air commentators “not to call Biden ‘president-elect’” during their coverage of the election.
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And that is where it still stood Sunday, with Biden still leading Trump by some 17,000 votes in Arizona (according to NBC affiliate 12News of Phoenix), and being hailed as the winner of both the popular vote (74 million over 70 million, roughly speaking) and the Electoral College tally of 279 for Biden (270 are needed to win) to 214 for Trump, even without Arizona’s results, and those of several other states that have yet to be called.
If you are puzzled, you are not alone.
Arizona remained an open question by Monday, with Biden’s lead there up to more than 18,500 votes. According to a CNN report Monday, there remained some 65,000 ballots to be counted in two remaining counties in Arizona (Maricopa and Pinal counties), but most observers believe that the remaining outstanding votes will tilt toward Biden, not Trump.
Trump, however, has more moves to make in this tense game of chicken, most notably his hope that he can push the election into the U.S. Supreme Court and replicate what happened in the George W. Bush-Al Gore election battle in 2000 — the justices intervened to stop a controversial counting of ballots in Florida, with Bush ahead but Gore making steady gains, to give the election to Bush.
According to a report in The New York Times, by Friday, Trump’s attorneys, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, had filed nearly a dozen lawsuits in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia to challenge the balloting and stop the election in its tracks.
According to the Times, if Trump and his crew can’t get enough votes overturned or disallowed in the courts, they will turn to recounts in key states, such as Wisconsin, which went for Trump in 2016 but which this time around has joined this year’s “blue wall” with Michigan and Pennsylvania. All three have gone for Biden.
Trump’s Republican allies, and the president himself, have been strangely quiet, though I understand Trump has been tweeting and barking his mad little head off to say over and over, in various ways, that the election has been stolen from him through fraud.
Never mind that there is absolutely no concrete evidence of widespread fraud in this election. Such an attack on the integrity of our electoral process, by whichever party or persons, certainly would be big news if it were to be uncovered, which gives us some certainty that it simply does not exist and Biden will be our next president.
Regardless of the resultant celebratory attitude of more than half the country, one thing remains clear and certain — there are factions in this country that truly see the election as the opening gambit in what they hope will become a civil war, and they are making preparations in that direction.
On the other hand, there has been a lot of comment about how well our electoral machinery worked in spite of widespread attempts at voter suppression and political chicanery.
It could be that this is the most important lesson to take away from this electoral clash — we, as a nation, are stronger than the most virulent and anti-democratic opposition forces.
And it may be that we are wise enough to rise above our difficulties, learn how to debate frankly and truthfully despite our differences, and move forward to seek out that “more perfect union” that has been our stated goal since this country was founded.
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