Was a little corner turned Wednesday? For the first day since the election, no one, or at least no one prominent, in Trumpland said anything obscene, ridiculous, or morally objectionable about the election.
Thank God for small favors. It was a big improvement over Tuesday, when Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said Donald Trump didn’t lose by much “and in fact he may not have been defeated at all,” and Mike Pompeo made his sick little joke.
Still, this is an insanely irresponsible situation. This is over. O-V-E-R. And no, we don’t have to give Trump “time.” What the fuck is that? Now we have to treat Trump as if he’s a pre-schooler, putting him in the corner for a time out next to the little poopy stool? A fascinating implicit admission, incidentally, on the part of the people trotting out this line.
I saw Ari Fleischer the other day saying the “decent thing” was to give Trump “the days he needs to absorb” losing. For God’s sakes. He’s a grown man. There’s only one decent thing to do here, and that’s for Donnie Two Scoops to concede the way a real man like Hillary Clinton conceded (the day after) and the way everyone in recent American history has conceded.
OK, admittedly, except Al Gore. That’s what you wingnuts are thinking. But that was a genuinely contested outcome in which the presidency hung on only 537 votes in one state. You know how many votes this hangs on? This hangs on 86,000 votes in two states (Pennsylvania and Nevada, the last two called for Joe Biden). That’s close-ish. But Clinton was closer, and she conceded in a day.
There’s a lot of speculation about why Republicans are doing this. Fear of Trump. Fear of the base. A need to keep the base stoked through the Georgia special elections on Jan. 5. These are plausible, along with “X wants to run for president” or “Y wants a fat Fox News contract.” But they all come down to the fundamental disregard for decency and boundless cynicism and contempt for their own base that drives all authoritarian movements.
I saw some Republican quoted the other day, I’m sorry I don’t remember who, who said this charade was “base management.” Can you imagine? In other words, this Republican was saying, we know it’s over, but we need to lead the rubes along for a few days longer, so they think we mean it.
But who exactly are they playing to at this point? A Reuters/Ipsos poll came out Wednesday showing that 79 percent of people accept that Biden won the election, 13 percent think there’s still some question, and 3 percent think Trump won. So they’re not even managing the “base.” They’re managing the absolutely most extreme bitter-enders among the base. A list that starts, of course, with the No. 1 Toddler himself.
What I want to say to you about all this, fellow liberal, is this: Don’t freak out when these monsters say some egregious thing. Don’t gulp, don’t let your heart start pounding out of control. They’re going to say insane things. But they can’t make them happen. They’re like the Wicked Witch in Munchkinland; they have no power here, and someone might drop a house on them.
States have processes, and they follow them. They do recanvasses, and sometimes they do recounts, as Georgia and I guess Wisconsin will do. But these things don’t go on forever. They have deadlines. Georgia has until Nov. 20. Pennsylvania has until Nov. 23. Ditto Michigan. Arizona has until Nov. 30. Wisconsin until Dec. 1. Same with Nevada.
These dates are not that far away. These states will go about their business, and the end result will be what it is now. Joe Biden won.
So don’t panic about that. Conservatives gain legitimate power in our political world the same way liberals do—by winning elections. But conservatives gain illegitimate power in two other ways. First, they just take it, with no regard for norms. But second, they take it when we give it to them, and we give it to them when we panic.
So don’t panic. And no, we don’t need to march either. Marching is what Trump wants at this point. He wants street action. Because some bozo will throw something, and it’ll be caught on video, and boom, he gets to crack down on violence, declare a state of emergency, who knows. No. Just stay home. We voted the fucker out. We did our work.
What’s going to happen on Jan. 20 is not in doubt, or at least is 98 percent not in doubt, and that’s about as not in doubt as anything involved in walking out your front door can be.
What crazy thing Trump might do between now and then is another matter. This purge at the Pentagon and these nutty people he’s installed there, I have no idea what that’s about. Gin up some national security crisis so he can declare a state of emergency? Maybe so.
Also, there’s bound to be some mischief around the electors, who meet and vote on Dec. 14. Some GOP legislator from Pennsylvania is bound to make some noise about it, but with Biden’s margin in the state bigger now than Trump’s was in 2016, that’s not going anywhere.
And while I put nothing past Trump or any of these people, and the Trumpy Sturmabteilung could materialize in the streets this weekend for all I know, I suspect at this point that it’s just as likely that Dr. Bone Spurs may be getting himself accustomed to the idea of a future life in Mar-a-Lago where people will still call him Mr. President and assure him that he really won and they’ll have lots of ketchup and piles of well-done steaks and he can set up his dumb TV network and dart out every so often for a rally. The main catch to this scenario is the looming scenario of future prison time. That’s probably what he’s spending most of his time thinking about.
But as president, he is cooked. And he, and they, know it. Don’t get taken in by their bullshit. You know you shouldn’t believe it when even they don’t believe it.