Trump must concede as a holiday gift to the nation
Enough is more than enough. On Monday, the Electoral College met to certify the 2020 presidential election win for President-elect Biden.
Prior to that, not only was Team Trump 0-2 with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding its election challenges, but it got demonstrably slapped down both times. First, the high court denied a request to stop the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results based on a challenge to a 2019 state law to expand mail-in voting.
It did so with a terse, one-sentence rejection in its Dec. 8 order in Kelly v. Pennsylvania: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.”
Second, the Supreme Court — including the three justices appointed by President Trump — declined to hear Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, in which he argued that changes to those states’ election procedures because of the COVID-19 pandemic violated federal law.
Not once, but three times in just over a week, “Boom!” went the election-rejection dynamite in response to the Trump legal challenges. Except, it appears some of the president’s loyalists can’t hear the reverberations of those critical pronouncements, or simply have chosen to ignore them.
This week on Fox & Friends, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller mentioned that “an alternate slate of electors” from certain swing states would send votes to Congress as a way to keep “all legal options open” until Jan. 20, 2021. Said Miller: “As we speak, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we are going to send those results to Congress.”
Are you kidding me? Is the team behind the Monty Python franchise now drafting the political strategy for the Trump White House?
As Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said last week about this troubling and inflammatory strategy: “This is madness. We have a process. Recounts are appropriate. Going to the court is appropriate. Pursuing every legal avenue is appropriate. But trying to get electors not to do what the people voted to do is madness.”
During that same appearance on Fox, Miller also said: “Think about it. Using the pretext of COVID, state Democrats unilaterally changed their election laws for one sole purpose: to facilitate fraud. They weakened every single anti-fraud measure … and now they’re trying to cover up the results by opposing an audit to the vote.”
While that accusation is much too broad, Miller is within his rights to highlight the concern that a number of voting “irregularities” took place. The question and legal challenge for the Trump campaign from day one was this: Is there proof of enough voting “irregularities” to overturn the result in even one state?
Almost six weeks after the election, the answer to that question is a resounding “No.”
Trump’s legal team had to cut ties with an attorney who made a cringe-worthy claim of massive voter fraud with “communist money” behind the fraud. False social media posts claimed that votes were being secretly counted and switched in Germany and Spain, and folded Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro into the “Stop the Steal” plot. The escalating charges eventually became so surreal that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump supporter, labeled the president’s legal team a “national embarrassment.”
Were there state, county and city voting irregularities in the 2020 election that benefited the Democratic ticket? Historical precedent and plain common sense say that is most likely the case. But again, there were not enough irregularities to overturn the results in even one state.
Because of that, my advice to die-hard Trump supporters would be: “Suck it up, buttercup.” Your complaints and concerns — some legitimate — show why state and local elections also matter, especially if the opposing political party won them.
Former Vice President Al Gore knows all about that painful reality. Trump is contesting results in four or five states; Gore lost the presidency in 2000 because he lost Florida by 537 votes — that’s 537 votes out of the almost 6 million cast in a state where his Republican opponent’s brother was the governor and the Secretary of State was the co-chair of the Bush election campaign in Florida.
Approve of him or not, if ever there were a candidate who had the right to scream “voter irregularities cost me the presidency” forever, it is Al Gore. But to his credit, he did not. He chose to put the nation first and concede one of the most bizarre and troubling presidential elections in our nation’s history.
Christmas is less than a week away. The best present President Trump could give the nation would be to deliver a classy, statesman-like concession speech that implores his supporters to accept the determination of the Electoral College and move on with their lives.
Enough is enough.
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.
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