Biden’s win official, but Trump’s still in denial

Biden’s win official, but Trump’s still in denial

 Joe Biden was officially declared winner of the presidential election this week, capping six weeks of fruitless efforts by President Trump to overturn his loss with baseless claims of voter fraud—an unprecedented challenge to democracy backed by many Republican lawmakers. 

After electors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia cast ballots Monday, Biden’s win of 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 was certified, effectively ending Trump’s campaign to reverse the outcome of an election he lost by 7 million votes—51.4 percent to 46.9 percent. Last week, 126 House Republicans signed on to a Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to throw out millions of votes in other states and install Trump as president. But after the Electoral College vote, many Republicans surrendered. “At some point, you have to face the music,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke weeks of silence on the matter to congratulate “ President-elect Joe Biden” and urge Republicans to accept the result. 

Biden denounced the attacks on the election and praised election officials for not buckling to pressure and threats. “In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” he said. The Electoral College vote followed the Supreme Court’s summary dismissal of the Texas lawsuit, which sought to nullify the results in four battleground states. The rejection of the unusual suit, which was backed by 18 state attorneys general, marked the end of the road for a campaign of legal challenges to the election that faced withering rejections by dozens of judges, leaving Trump’s legal team with a win-loss record of 1-59. Still, Trump refused to concede, with his campaign announcing he would hold an alternative inauguration on Jan. 20 at the “winter White House,” Mar-a-Lago. “We won every one of them,” Trump said of the contested states. “It is now time for Republicans to move on,” said WashingtonExaminer .com. Now that the Supreme Court has dismissed the “ludicrous” Texas suit and the electors have “delivered the coup de grâce,” there is “no longer any acceptable excuse to deny Biden’s victory.” Even if Trump refuses to face reality, Republicans “must not follow him off the cliff.” “This week will be remembered as a low point in American politics,” said The San Diego Union-Tribune. 

That nearly two-thirds of House Republicans and 18 GOP state attorneys lined up behind a specious effort to overturn legal ballots just because they didn’t like the results “shows how deeply Trumpism has infected and warped the party.” It points toward “a new normal in which facts, logic, and reality don’t matter if they don’t cohere with ideology.”  The Texas lawsuit “was the first shot in a new civil war,” said Lucian Truscott IV in Salon.com. “It amounted to nothing less than an act of sedition by the entire Republican Party.” Having given up on “the democracy this country was founded on,” the GOP is now standing by silently as election officials and legislators face death threats, mobs gather outside their homes, and Proud Boys rampage through the streets of Washington, attacking black churches. 

These people “have seceded from sanity and reason.” Trump’s farcical coup didn’t succeed, said Jonathan Last in The Bulwark.com, but the goal wasn’t really to win in court. It was to win “the battle for the soul of the Republican Party.” Far too many have “signed their souls over,” said Timothy Carney in Washington Examiner.com. They went along even as Trumpism demanded defending “immoral” behavior and “harmful slanders and conspiracy theories.” Forced to choose between Trump and the rule of law, “many failed the test.” This farce “isn’t funny anymore,” said Jamelle Bouie in The New York Times. 

We have to face an unsettling truth: “The Republican Party, or much of it, has abandoned whatever commitment to electoral democracy it had to begin with.” It’s now officially “the party of minority rule”—one that views the votes of people unlike themselves as inherently “illegitimate,” and defeat as unacceptable. Not since the 1850s has such a view “captured an entire political party.” What happens next time? asked Zeynep Tufekci in TheAtlantic.com. Yes, Trump’s attempted coup was “buffoonish,” but he’s writing “a playbook for stealing elections” that’s drawn wide support in a party desperate to maintain power in the face of demographic change. “It’s not enough to count on our institutions to resist such onslaughts.” They rely on adherence to norms, and “once people decide that the rules are different, the rules are different.” We escaped disaster this time, but if there’s a smarter authoritarian and a closer election next time, our luck may run out.


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