Monday, the electors in each state, who are selected by law in accordance with the winner of the popular vote for president in each state, voted to cast their votes for the next president of the United States. The results, which were never in question and which have been known for several weeks, is that President-elect Joe Biden received 306 electoral votes and President Donald Trump received 232 electoral votes.
Whether you are happy about it, sad about it, ecstatic about it, devastated by it, or generally indifferent to all of it, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States shortly after noon on Tuesday the 20th of January, 2021. This is not a conspiracy. It is not a crime. It is not treason. It is not a plot by the People’s Republic of China, nor by the late Hugo Chavez who died in 2013.
It is simply the only realistic and possible outcome of the 2020 presidential election once all the votes were cast, canvassed, counted, validated, and in specific states that had close outcomes, recanvassed and recounted. State and Federal district, appellate, and supreme courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, which has a 6-3 conservative majority with those six conservative justices appointed by President George H. W. Bush, President George W. Bush, and President Trump, have ruled against the President or those suing on his behalf 59 times.
The one victory the President had, which was a procedural one regarding how close canvassing observers could stand to watch the canvassing of the ballots, was later overturned on appeal.
There was no wide spread and/or systemic/systematic voting fraud. We know this because in every single case that President Trump’s legal team filed, they specifically indicated they were not claiming voting fraud.
In those cases filed by Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood, where they alleged voting fraud, the cases were dismissed because neither Powell nor Wood could substantiate their claims. Moreover, Powell’s secret military intelligence specialist never worked in military intelligence, he was a vehicle mechanic who had washed out of the basic intelligence course. Going on Fox News, Newsmax, OAN, Breitbart, and talk radio and claiming there is voting fraud when there is none and then reiterating those allegations on social media is easy because there are no penalties for doing so.
Going into a state or Federal court and doing so when you have no evidence and cannot substantiate your allegations is hard. It is hard because it can come with real penalties, which is why Giuliani and Ellis did not do so and why Powell and Wood had their cases dismissed because they could not provide actual proof.
There is one more institutional procedure left before the 2020 presidential election is completely finalized. Congress has to accept the electoral votes and certify them on the 6th of January. I know that some of you who are fervent supporters of President Trump believe that his most ardent supporters in the House and Senate Republican caucuses, as well as Vice President Pence will somehow reverse today’s outcome. I know you believe this because some of those congressional supporters are posting on social media that they will do so and that it will all be okay and that President Trump will serve four more years as president.
I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but they are lying to you. I honestly don’t know why they are. I really don’t know what they think they will actually get out of doing so other than not being primaried in their next election by someone who thinks they betrayed President Trump.
But in all honesty they are not telling you the truth. Nor are the people in the conservative news media, nor on social media – whether Twitter, Facebook, Gab, Parler, Instagram, YouTube, or any platform I’m missing – telling you the truth about this.
There is no constitutional or legal process or procedure for alternative electors to meet in an alternative Electoral College to reelect President Trump, despite what his senior advisor for policy says on Fox & Friends. Or what your uncle posts on Facebook after he watches Fox & Friends. Or what Congresswoman-elect Boebert or Antonio Sabato Jr. tweet — because neither understand that each state only certifies one slate of electors, which are the ones assigned to the winner of the popular vote for president in each state, and neither is able to distinguish between a political stunt and the actual legal and constitutional political process.
The reality of today – that some Americans’ preferred candidate won and other Americans’ preferred candidate lost – has happened every four to eight years since the mid 1950s when the Constitution was amended to limit president’s to two four year terms. And prior to that, with the exception of FDR, it happened every four to eight years from the 1790s through to the 1930s.
We’ve adjusted the dates when the Electoral College would convene, when the electors would vote, and when the new president would be inaugurated, but like constitutional clockwork, it has happened on a regular schedule. One of the hallmarks — one of the strengths of America as a self governing democratic-republic — is that this happens, in peace time and in war time, and that everyone recognizes – winners and losers alike – that the presidency, as well as every other office up for reelection will be contested again, on a regular schedule. In two years for the House of Representatives, every two years for a third of the Senate, and four years for the presidency; state governors, legislatures, and other state wide offices; and one, two, and/or four years for municipal positions.
The responses to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election by some of the supporters of President Trump – including Republican members of the House and the Senate; Republican state governors, state attorneys general, state legislators; Republican local officials; and members of the conservative news media – have been contrary to America’s actual history as a self governing democratic-republic.
Yesterday in Michigan, Arizona, and Delaware, the state capitol buildings, where each of those states’ electors were to meet and cast their votes, had to be locked down because of credible threats of political violence to disrupt those proceedings. Electors in a number of states had to be escorted by the police to the secured locations where they would cast their votes because of credible threats of political violence – that’s the nice way of saying domestic terrorism – against them if they did so.
Over the weekend, after rallies in support of President Trump and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections, members of the Proud Boys who participated in those rallies, as well as a number of others who also attended those rallies, attacked people throughout Washington DC. While some of these acts of violence involved counter-protesters, most of them didn’t. The couple in the video below were just trying to get to where they were going when they were attacked. Based on what the Proud Boys appear to be screaming at the couple, the attack occurred because the guy appears to be Asian American and the Proud Boys wanted him to leave the US and go back where he came from.
— v.for.vincent (@VinnyboyXI) December 13, 2020
The chair of the Texas Republican Party called for secession shortly after the Supreme Court ruled against President Trump on Friday. Rush Limbaugh echoed those sentiments on his radio show and subsequently backed off. Neither Texas, nor any other state is going to secede. It is neither politically feasible, nor is it economically viable.
Texas, as well as the seventeen states that signed on to an amici brief supporting its lawsuit to throw out the votes cast in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all receive more money from the Federal government each year, than they pay into the Federal treasury in taxes. In short those states are takers not makers and are not economically viable without the ten states that pay more in Federal taxes than they receive back from the Federal government.
I’d like to be able to report that this type of behavior is both un-American and something that never has happened before, but it is, unfortunately, all too American. From the Pennsylvanian Mutiny to the Carlisle Rebellion (part of the Whiskey Rebellion) during the founding period to the Great Rebellion, which we now call the Civil War, to the 1946 Battle of Athens in McMinn County, Tennessee, to dozens of other examples that would require a whole other column, this type of political violence is all too American even as it is unacceptable. While the controversy is different today – in 1860 it was about what would happen if a Republican was elected president and the effect of that election on the institution of slavery, today it is simply recognizing that a Democrat has been elected president.
Here’s Abraham Lincoln’s take on the underlying problem facing America from his Cooper Union Speech delivered on 27 February 1860 (emphasis mine):
“But you say you are conservative – eminently conservative – while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by “our fathers who framed the Government under which we live;” while you with one accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy of the fathers.
Not one of all your various plans can show a precedent or an advocate in the century within which our Government originated. Consider, then, whether your claim of conservatism for yourselves, and your charge or destructiveness against us, are based on the most clear and stable foundations.
But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of your Constitutional rights.
That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing.
Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.
This, plainly stated, is your language. Perhaps you will say the Supreme Court has decided the disputed Constitutional question in your favor. Not quite so. But waiving the lawyer’s distinction between dictum and decision, the Court have decided the question for you in a sort of way.
Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government unless such a court decision as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”
To be sure, what the robber demanded of me – my money – was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.
The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone.This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.
Silence will not be tolerated – we must place ourselves avowedly with them.”
It’s sad that over a 160 years later not a whole lot of change has occurred in American politics despite the progress we’ve actually made over that time!
Neither I nor anyone else really knows what a Biden administration will bring. We have some ideas based on the policy proposals that were released during the campaign and who he is choosing to staff the most senior positions in the executive branch, but just as was the case when President Trump was elected there are a lot of unknowns in American politics. But what we do know is things can’t go on this way.
America cannot remain, to use Lincoln’s terminology, a house divided against itself. We cannot go on with one significant portion accepting a common factual reality and another rejecting it because they do not want to or cannot abide accepting that factual reality. And this includes tearing at each other – politically, verbally, and violently – over trivial differences of religion, ethnicity, and race let alone really silly issues like the top marginal tax rate.
As President George Washington, who set the American tradition for the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next, wrote to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island in 1790 (emphasis mine):
“If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.”
Washington* recognized that all American citizens were just that: American citizens. That toleration of each other – of our differences in religious adherence and ethnicities – are an American example that other nation-states and societies should emulate. Sucker punching people because they don’t look American enough for you or because they don’t support your preferred candidate or making threats of violence to disrupt an election are not the United States that Washington understood and imagined. We would all be better off if we took both Washington’s and Lincoln’s wisdom to heart and tried to live up to the ideals they bequeathed to us.
* I know that Washington, by owning Africans as chattel slaves and thereby denying them their essential humanity, failed to live up to his own ideals and idealism (however his will specified that on his and Martha Washington’s death, all slaves in his name were freed). The ideals and the idealism are worth keeping as an inheritance from him to us as Americans, even as we try to create a more perfect union 158 years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Featured image: President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect kamala Harris pose for the photo spray during a commercial break at the second of two Democratic Debates in Detroit hosted by CNN and sanctioned by the DNC.(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn/ZUMA Wire)