So the electors are voting on Monday, and Joe Biden, who won the election, will get 306 electoral votes, and it will all be official. But if you think this will be the end of it, I have a tower in Moscow to sell you.
I see zero signs that Donald Trump and his people are ready to accept this. You’re familiar of course with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ famous five stages of grief. What we’re living through now is Donald Trump’s 10 stages of dealing with defeat, which go something like: denial, lies, more denial, more lies, blame, self-pity, rage, still more lies, pouting, and martial law. I’m not sure exactly where we are, because unlike Kubler-Ross’ orderly, staged process, Trump bounces from one stage to the next like a pinball, minute to minute, tweet to tweet.
At the same time, we’re witnessing the Republican Party’s five stages of dealing with Dear Leader’s defeat, which go: cowardice, more cowardice, still more cowardice, so much cowardice you wouldn’t believe it folks, and fascism.
I joke, but not really. This is one of the darkest moments this country has ever experienced. Those 100-plus House Republicans signing on to that Texas lawsuit will be remembered for committing an act of infamy and sedition with few parallels in our history. Here are the 126 who signed on to the idea that 10 million legally case votes should be tossed out. Get to know the names. They will live forever, and not in a good way. And here are the 70 who did not sign. And please, when you look over that second list, don’t offer them congratulations or praise. That would be like praising someone in a jewelry store for not stealing that pendant, or praising a dog owner for not kicking his dog. Normal, non-sociopathic behavior doesn’t get anybody a gold star.
I’m very nervous about the meetings of electors all going smoothly. The Detroit News reported Sunday that the meeting of Michigan’s electors in Lansing will be held “behind locked doors” at the state capitol. A Michigan reporter tweeted that “State House, Senate office buildings will be closed tomorrow due to ‘credible threats’ related to the #ElectoralCollege meeting in the state Capitol, which will also be closed.” I wonder if these people are safe there and in the other states that were decisive.
Maybe nothing dramatic will happen on Monday, or the 37 days after that we’d have left to sweat through. But even if it doesn’t, we’ve already lived through a period without equal in our history. Previous disputed presidential elections were genuinely, well, disputed. In 1800, there was an Electoral College tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr (although John Adams ultimately won). In 1824, no candidate received a majority of Electoral College votes. In 1876, the popular vote loser had more electoral votes, and besides, both parties claimed victory in three contested states.
Finally, there’s 2000. You’ll hear some Republicans try to say, as Lamar Alexander did on Meet the Press Sunday, that it took Al Gore 37 days to concede. Yes, it did, but that was a completely different situation. Gore and Bush were separated by 537 votes in Florida out of 5.8 million cast. Also, Florida was the ball game—remember, George W. Bush won with 271 EV’s to Gore’s 266, so any candidate of either party would have done what Gore did. The presidency hung in the balance.
But that’s not what’s happening here. There is nothing in legitimate dispute. Trump’s lawyers are 1-55. It’s not all down to one state, as in 2000. It’s about three states, which were close to be sure, but not remotely like Florida 2000, and the results in all those states have been certified; counted three times in one of them. There is nothing to argue about.
This is about one man who has spent his entire life cheating to win and is trying to do the same now. The Constitution is meaningless to him. He could end all this. In The Washington Post’s report on Saturday’s pro-Trump rally in DC, they quoted a couple people like this California woman who said: “If President Trump accepts it and Vice President Pence accepts it, then we will accept it.”
I’m sure there are more rabid people who disagree, but she probably represents the MAGA majority. If Trump said cool it, they’d cool it. And if you really want to stick with the Gore comparison, Republicans, I remind you that as soon as the Supreme Court spoke, he stood down. The equivalent here of the Court’s Bush v. Gore decision would be the electors making it official on Monday. If Trump were to emulate Gore, he’d concede by Monday night.
Obviously, that’s not happening. We’re still somewhere between denial, lies, and self-pity. I just hope that in these next 37 days, we don’t hit stage 10. There are people calling for martial law. Batshit lawyer Lin Wood told Newsmax: “If the Supreme Court does not act, someone who cares about the rule of law in this country has to act: That would be President Donald Trump. If the Supreme Court does not act, I think the president should declare some extent of Martial law, and he should hold off and stay the Electoral College.” Mike Flynn told the MAGA Washington rally that “there are still avenues.” Trump himself is still tweeting, against all evidence, about Democrats’ supposed “attempt to steal the election, which we won overwhelmingly,” and vowing that “We will never give up!”
Still think this is over? These people are fascists, not democrats. They will do whatever they can get away with.