If the Nobel Committee ever had a prize for whacky imaginations, the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump would win it hands down; in fact, he will have no competition.
In his view, he is the clear winner of the November 3 election but he was cheated out of it or stolen from him by Big Money, Big Technology and Big Media, all of whom are in cahoots with the Democrats.
Former Vice-President Joseph Biden and Senator Kamala Harris would only wish it to have this way for they could have walked away with all of the 538 electoral college votes.
But seen in a different way, Trump’s preposterous outbursts along with proclaiming himself as the winner is no different from how any politician in some democracies behave in the aftermath of a vote count — if it is a win, the system is the best; and if it is a loss, blame the rigged electronic voting machine!
In the last four years, Trump has been known to say outrageous things, only to turn around and deny all of it. His behavior in the last few days takes the cake or puts all of the last four years to shame. He has not only condemned the electoral process but questioned the very basis of American democracy.
Trump, as everyone who knows him from close quarters, is a bad and a sore loser; and in every losing moment, he will try to bully his way through it. His second press meet was so outlandish that major networks like ABC, CBS and NBC pulled the plug, something that networks never do to an American President.
‘Enough is Enough’ was the message with the three media houses making the call that they were not going to be used to propagate vicious and malicious ideas that not only undermine the foundations of democracy but also indirectly incite violence.
Trump’s SOS to courts
It is obvious that Donald J Trump is electorally a drowning man, desperately looking for a straw to save himself; and that succor he thinks will come by way of courts, including the United States Supreme Court, in the belief that Associate Justices that he has nominated in the last four years and other conservatives will hand him a victory.
But some legal luminaries believe that the courts will not even entertain something so bizarre that Trump and his campaign are saying.
In a system where every valid vote has to be counted, including the early and mail-in, Trump’s logic is not even funny — that when he was in the lead in places like Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, everything was hunky dory, but when he started trailing, he demanded counting to be stopped.
Till the time of writing this column, the President has not given even a single explanation as to how and why he thinks “fraud” has taken place. That goes back to a fanciful maxim: keep repeating a lie and that will become the truth.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2020
If the unofficial tally for the electoral college is anything to go by, Biden has around 306, considering Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona have come into the Blue fold. This figure in the electoral college is close to what President Trump got in 2016, 304, which at that time was passed off as a landslide.
But nearly everyone is waiting for the official sign-off from the Associated Press for any formal victory celebrations which by any account will be very quiet and measured given what the country is going through by way of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s different this time
Donald Trump will not leave the scene without a fuss even when the writing on the wall is clear. This has been the only worry for both Republicans and Democrats right from the beginning.
Even good advice from well-meaning elders in the Grand Old Party is unlikely to get anywhere. In 1974, the tough, no-nonsense Republican Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater firmly advised President Richard Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal and Nixon listened.
It is certainly not out of the ordinary that election results are not declared on the night of the voting day itself; in the past, networks have called races that were clearly decisive but not divisive.
In the present context, it had been clear for a very long time that that the Presidential election will go down to the wires, that battleground states will be critical and some were even predicting that traditional southern strongholds like Texas and Georgia will flip to Democrats paving the way for a so-called Blue “Wave”, something that clearly did not happen.
Contrary to opinion polls, Biden had to fight his way through Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania; and was unsuccessful in Florida; Georgia was perhaps a stunner but Texas remained within the Red category in spite of occasional worries during the counting process. By and large, Red States stayed that way.
The outright lies, cheap shots and misrepresentations apart, Trump campaigned till the very end, even as critics pointed out that he is responsible for being a “super spreader” of the pandemic on account of not insisting on masks and maintaining social distancing in rallies.
Trump was making sure that his frenzied rallies focused on the critical swing states, especially Pennsylvania that he repeatedly visited to make sure that his hard core voter base stayed with him on election day.
Some Democrats argue that Biden could have been in a better position today had he and his running mate done more campaigning in states like Texas and Florida; and perhaps had more outreach to the Hispanic community.
In fact, for all the talk of getting back control of the Senate, Democrats seem to be struggling there as well, but the run-off election in Georgia leaves room for some optimism; and instead of picking up seats in the House of Representatives, the party lost a few.
Biden’s formal entry into the White House may be delayed on possible litigations, but Democrats have a lot to learn from where things went wrong in the absence of any impressive gains in Congress or for that matter coming anywhere close to what was fancied as a “wave”.
(The writer was a former senior journalist in Washington D.C. covering North America and the United Nations.)
(The Federal seeks to present views and opinions from all sides of the spectrum. The information, ideas or opinions in the articles are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Federal)