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McConnell’s knockout blow against Trump

The decision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to unequivocally and decisively state that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential campaign, and will be inaugurated as president in January, ended what little was left of Donald Trump’s 2020 war against democracy. 

Democracy has won. Trump has lost. Biden will be inaugurated. There is celebration throughout the free world.

Here are the highlights of what can only be described as Trump’s week from political hell:

First, the United States Supreme Court, in a decision I predicted in a recent column, ruled without even one dissenting justice that Trump’s case to overturn the results of the 2020 election was rejected.

Then, the Electoral College, with a number of electors facing threats of violence, voted that Biden was elected president of the United States.

And then, in stunning and powerful speech, Sen. McConnell declared the election over, and Republicans should oppose any further attempt to challenge the election results.

If Time magazine were to choose a loser of the year, the choice would be Trump. Here is a blunt summary of the scoreboard of Trump’s losses from Election Day until today:

  • American voters, by a margin of more than 7 million votes, say to Trump: We want Biden.
  • American states to Trump, as defined by the Electoral College, say the same: We want Biden. Not only that, it was a larger margin of voters in those states than Trump won in 2016 — which Trump called a landslide.
  • State courts to Trump: You have proven no significant election fraud. You lost. Biden won fairly.
  • Federal courts to Trump, from district courts to courts of appeals to the Supreme Court: You lost. Biden won fairly.
  • State government leaders, including governors and election officials in red states, to Trump: Biden won. You lost. The election was fair. 
  • Leaders from democratic nations around the world: Biden won. Trump lost.
  • Even Attorney General William Barr, who publicly stated there was no evidence of significant fraud in the 2020 election, to Trump: I’m out! I resign.

Trump is not only acting provoke a division among the American people unprecedented since the Civil War, he is provoking a civil war within the Republican Party.

Trump has fired a long list of his own administration appointees. He attacks Republican governors. He attacks Republican election officials. He criticizes the FBI and CIA, led by people he himself appointed. He attacks the Supreme Court, including justices he appointed. 

He pressured and then criticized his current attorney general after pressuring, criticizing and firing a previous attorney general, who was one of his strongest supporters in the 2016 campaign. He is now criticizing the Republican Senate majority leader, who may not remain the majority leader after the Georgia runoff elections in January.

From the 2020 campaign until today, Trump has created a legacy of losing. And now there is a clear and present danger of Trump igniting the ultimate Republican civil war, and a galactic firestorm from the American people, by granting an unprecedented number of controversial and ill-advised pardons, including members of his family, political cronies and allies worried about legal jeopardy, and possibly himself!

Will GOP members of the Senate and House who are running for reelection in 2022 endorse or condemn these potential pardons? Will his behavior today lead two Georgia Democrats to defeat two Georgia Republicans in the Senate runoff elections in early January? 

The powerful statement by Sen. McConnell on Tuesday was probably inspired by many of the factors cited above — and is certainly a decisive blow to Trump.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.

Tags 2020 presidential election Donald Trump Electoral College Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Republican Party Supreme Court William Barr

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