If you follow the anti-Trump narratives in the news, you are being told that Trump – and Trump alone – is undermining public confidence by declaring that the election is being stolen from him. There is no doubt that he has warned of that prospect before the election, complained about the process during the voting period and made that claim since one after another state slipped from his column to the Biden list.
For a man who has made a habit of bellicose bluster and baseless claims, that should come as no surprise. However, we should not be overly concerned that Trump is using whatever legal and constitutional tools are available to him to try to win re-election in an illegal, inappropriate or unprecedented way. Note, that I said, “legal and constitutional.” That is critical to understanding what is going on.
The fact that these “legal and constitutional” resources are being deployed in a situation where they stand virtually no chance of overturning the election is inconsequential – and it is not, in any way, a threat to democracy or the Republic as the hyper-hostile Trump critics contend.
Nothing untoward is happening with regard to the Trump challenges, and nothing untoward will happen. Contrary to the false accusations we see riddled throughout the news media, Trump is not trying to over-throw the election by illegal means. His refusal to concede in the face of growing evidence against him is not common, but also not unprecedented. Virtually every action by the so-called Trump team in this election has been seen in the past.
The rights and powers of electors have been challenged in the past. There have been serious efforts to have electors break with their promises and expectations and vote for a candidate other than the one they pledged to support. In fact, many Democrats attempted to pressure electors to switch away from Trump in 2016 as part of the pre-natal #NeverTrump Resistance Movement – even reports of attempted bribery, which is illegal.
Despite all the political scaremongering, nothing … NOTHING … has transpired on the Trump side that is outside the protective guardrails of our Constitution and the laws that ensued. So far, no one on team-Trump is breaking any law – or even proposing to break a law. The system is working as well as it was intended when it was crafted in 1789.
It is certainly arguable that Trumps words – as opposed to his actions – are promoting distrust in the electoral process. Claiming that if he loses when all the certifications are complete, the court challenges have been lost and the Electoral College has voted that the election was criminally rigged is both wrong and irresponsible. There are two truths that conflict with the narratives. It is possible … probable … that there has been significant vote fraud – but not enough to flip the election back to Trump.
Accusations of such fraud abound, but the hard evidence that is required in courts-of-law is lacking – partly because election fraud is among the most difficult crimes to prove because of the secrecy of the ballots.
However, those sanctimonious critics who accuse Trump, specifically, and Republicans, in general, of undermining democracy by subverting the electoral process are as much – and arguable even more – the blame for any distrust in the election results and process. Those spreading cheap-novel conspiracy theories about Trump seizing power – or even using the constitutional road through the state legislatures – to flip the Electoral College are doing more to sow unnecessary and unreasonable anxieties among the public than Trump – and further generating national divisiveness.
The obsessively Trump-hating press shamefully uses such terms as “attempting a bloodless coup.” That is shameful hyperbole beyond all reality. The reports are filled with mendacious speculative claims of what dark deeds in which Trump will soon engage despite any facts or history to support them.
Apart from the level of potential vote fraud, the American electoral system is working perfectly – protecting the rights of both candidates and, more importantly of the American people. Some elections are more controversial than others, but the system has never failed – the Constitution has never been violated. It is just that sometimes it takes more time than others to have the system work. We should all celebrate that the system – with its flaws and weaknesses – is still stronger than any candidate and any political party. Our mission as citizens is to keep it that way.
This election also affirms the Founders’ wisdom in creating the Electoral College. It is the institution that will settle all controversies and claims and provide the nation with a duly elected President – avoiding months and even years of constitutional crises and destructive uncertainty as the issue makes its way through the courts.
So, there ‘tis.