Looking at the ongoing battle by defeated Donald Trump to hold onto power & change the will of the American people, in it lies a very important lesson on why the foundations & strengths of political institutions matter in every democracy.
On Saturday, November 21, the Trump campaign lost yet-another lawsuit in its desperate effort to overturn the election results of November 3, which saw Joseph Biden Jr. beat Trump. This latest defeat in the state of Pennsylvania was the 35th lawsuit that the Trump campaign had either lost or withdrawn since they started their assault on America’s democracy.
Just as 79million Americans voted him out of power over two weeks ago, America’s political institutions have stood up to resist serial attempts to cheat the people out of their votes and knee-cap their will.
Court after court have ruled against Trump, citing a lack of evidence to support the mostly-hysterical claims that Biden committed voter-fraud. The allegations coming out of the Trump camp have been so scatter-gun and erratic, it almost makes it hard to believe that Trump is actually the incumbent in this election.
An incumbent is supposedly difficult to unseat in any election. A sitting American President is even much more-harder to remove; which is why it has happened only five times (!) in America’s 231 years history of democratic govt. Trump surely must have been favourite going into this race & even though he lost resoundingly, he’s tried every trick in the book to sabotage the will of the people.
Long before this election, that sabotage started almost immediately after Trump was sworn-in on January 20, 2017. Trump came into office and was met with 32 vacancies of judges in several Federal circuit courts around the country. In his own words, this was like a “…christmas present in January”. And of course, he seized on this incredible opportunity to fill those vacancies with Republican (Trump’s party) judges – judges whom he believed will be favourable to him one day, if needed. As a sort of cherry on this court-packing cake, Trump had the unique opportunity to appoint three (!) Supreme Court judges as well; the latest being Amy Coney Barrett who was confirmed just a week before this election.
Apart from his court-packing, Trump and the Republican Party twisted, bent, manipulated every rule in the book to either prevent, block, limit the ability of minorities such as African-Americans, Native-Americans and immigrants from voting. These groups are all considered very-likely to vote for the Democratic Party and it was thus a major desire of the Republican Party to make sure they either did not vote, or their votes were thrown-out under all sorts of technicalities.
Additionally, Trump & Republican Party installed a Postmaster-General at the US Postal Service who set about sabotaging the entire postal system so that the huge numbers of minorities who often had their ballots mailed to them, would be systematically-excluded, when their ballots (votes) either arrived too late to be counted or did not arrive at all. To drive home this agenda, Trump kept on telling his supporters not to mail-in their ballots, but to go out on election day and cast their votes.
All these well-laid-out schemes were meant to deliver the election to Trump on November 3. As we have all now seen, the opposite happened. Clearly rattled by the results, Trump and his henchmen (and women too) have unleashed all manner of insane/laughable/ridiculous attacks on the election results, even describing it as the Big Steal. He has filed lawsuit after lawsuit in all the states & counties where Biden won, raising all manner of allegations of fraud and cheating. Over and over again, we have seen that the courts have thrown out these lawsuits, or forced them to be withdrawn due to a lack of any tangible evidence before it. Over half of the judges in these suits have either been Republican judges, or those appointed by Trump himself. To add salt to Trump’s injured-ego, Republican officials in the states where the results have been questioned by Trump, have maintained their integrity and reported the results accurately. Of particular note is the Secretary of State in Georgia (a Republican stronghold, which Biden narrowly won), Brad Raffensperger.
Raffensperger, who describes himself as “a Republican through and through and never voted for a Democrat” defended Georgia’s vote for Biden, and resisted requests from Trump henchmen and camp, who asked if Raffensperger could toss out all mail-in votes from counties with high rates of questionable signatures.
“This office runs on integrity,” Raffensperger said, “and that’s what voters want to know, that this person’s going to do his job.” Raffensperger has received death threats from fellow-Republicans and he’s not the only one. Election officials in Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona have all also reported threats against their lives and family members.
What about Katie Hobbs, the Arizona Secretary of State who has called on Republicans to stop “perpetuating misinformation”, adding that threats and “continued intimidation tactics will not prevent me from performing the duties I swore an oath to do. Our democracy is tested constantly, it continues to prevail, and it will not falter under my watch.”
Big ups to her, as well.
These public officials have been tested, harassed, pushed-to-the-wall during Trump’s repugnant presidency but have mostly-passed honorably; including the so-called Trump-judges.
Included in this Roll of Honour are public health officials such as Dr Anthony Fauci unwilling to lie about Covid-19; military leaders unwilling to support Trump’s attacks against Black Lives Matter protesters; Inspectors-General unwilling to cover up Trump’s corruption; US foreign service officers unwilling to lie about Trump’s attempts to coerce Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden illegally; intelligence officials unwilling to change their reports to suit Trump; and Justice Department attorneys refusing to participate in Trump’s obstructions of justice.
Mind you, some of them lost their jobs. Many were humiliated and demoted. A few have been threatened with violence. They’ve risked all this to do what is right in an America poisoned by Trump, who has no concept of what it means to do what is right.
This is why strong democratic institutions matter. Institutions such as the judiciary, the civil service, the legislature, the military, even the press must continue to stay strong at all times. It is why their foundations must remain unshakeable, firm and immovable like granite. These institutions ain’t perfect of course, but they protect the will of the people and uphold the Constitution. The will of millions who stood in line; who braved all kinds of weather and personal circumstances to cast their votes and voice their will against tyrants such as Trump. And those like him who will surely try again in the future, to sabotage the people’s will and hijack power.