• Ashok Dhillon

America’s Democracy - Under Sustained Republican & Trump Assault (#128)

America’s inherent ‘Democracy’, and the exercising of it, was flawed from the very start with its imbedded ‘normal democracy’ busting twist called the ‘Electoral College’ written into its very Constitution, which disenfranchised ‘popular votes’ and allowed a Candidate with lesser overall votes to claim victory, in spite of losing by all internationally recognized definitions of ‘Democracy’, which stipulates that a candidate with the ‘most votes’ must win.

Yet, because every Presidential candidate, till Donald J. Trump, accepted the ‘American Democratic Process’ and readily accepted the verdict of the ‘electoral college votes’, in spite of at times having won the greater number of the popular votes, and readily conceded once the electoral vote count was verified and declared by all the States (or a court), America through most of its modern history prided itself in carrying out a democratic election, and in always having ‘peaceful transfer of power’ after elections if the incumbent lost. That is until Donald Trump became President.

Trump became President by winning the majority of the electoral college votes, while losing, substantially, the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, by a margin of over 3 Million votes. Because Clinton adhered to the time-honored tradition of conceding to the winner of the Electoral college votes, in spite of overwhelmingly winning the popular votes, and had accepted defeat on the very night of the election, Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Because of every Presidential candidate having lived by the democratic process of the US, regardless of its many flaws, and having peacefully and cooperatively transferred power to the incoming ‘President Elect’, Trump had gained and exercised power for 4 years as the US President, in a rules-abiding ‘democratic’ America.

On November 3rd, 2020, Presidential candidate Joe Biden, challenging the incumbent President Donald Trump, handily won the Presidential election by winning the electoral college votes, 306 versus Trump’s 209, and the popular vote by over 6 Million votes! By all normal standards of American presidential elections, Joe Biden trounced Trump. But as the popular and astute social commentator, American comedian Bill Maher, had been predicting throughout the four years of Trump’s first term, Trump refused to accept defeat, concede the loss, or peacefully transfer power to the winner and President-elect Joe Biden.

Instead, he spewed torrents of falsehoods and lies about the election having been ‘stolen’ from him, through ‘massive fraud’, and launched dozens of lawsuits in multiple States to ‘prove fraud’ and overturn the election results to deprive Joe Biden his legitimate victory, and ‘steal’ an illegitimate victory from the jaws of a humiliating and resounding defeat. But he lost at every turn, every effort to overturn the election results through every court and in every State - he and his lawyers had chosen to file in. Trump lost even with the Republican Judges he himself had appointed, and at the Supreme Court of America, which he and the Republicans had determinedly stacked, he still lost. And he also lost every ‘re-count’ he forced on the States (at times multiple re-counts, as with the State of Georgia), whether the State was Democrat led, or Republican led. All claims of ‘massive voter fraud’ or ‘election rigging’ that Trump and the Republicans have claimed, upon numerous investigations have been thoroughly debunked and proven false.

Running out of all options to subvert the very democratic process that had allowed him to be elected, and had allowed America, till now, to effectively and peacefully elect its Presidents, and transfer power peacefully to the next President, Trump and his desperate supporters resorted to threats of potential violence from ‘Right-Wing armed and dangerous White militias’, and continued a barrage of bizarre claims of wrongdoing in the face of their claims having been thoroughly debunked, repeatedly, by ALL courts, and by All States.

In a final act of sheer desperation and facing the final confirmation of his fact-based loss of the Presidency, Trump made the reckless and now infamous call to the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger - in turn flattering, threatening, pleading and begging him, and telling him, ‘I only need to find 11,780 votes’, so that his loss to Joe Biden may be reversed illegitimately. To Brad Raffensperger’s credit, he refused to be intimidated, and steadfastly refused to comply. Raffensperger told Trump he was wrong, and that he had lost.

That call of Trump’s to Raffensperger probably broke both Federal and State laws against ‘election and vote tampering’; whether anyone can do anything about it is another matter.

The standard defense of Trump’s possible illegal actions and utterances of the past have always been, ‘he didn’t mean that’, or ‘he was just joking’, or ‘he just talks like that’ and so forth... And his Republican apologists have always rushed to his defense regardless of his misconduct, and even openly backed Trump in his open and embarrassing subservience to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Russia’s interference in American affairs and elections, over America’s own interests.

Since election day, Trump’s persistent, incredibly damaging, and sustained assault on America’s Democracy, through endless false claims of fraud, that have repeatedly been proven to be themselves false, the Republican apologists and sycophants have, as has been the norm, rushed to his defense by themselves adding to the falsehoods spouted by him, and have failed just like him to prove any one of them.

Now, with this possibly ‘criminal’ Federal and State laws breaking call, putting unacceptable pressure on State officials to brow beat them into subverting and illegally overturning a legal and fair election in his favor, by any means possible, Trump may have crossed a red line. And while his usual equally irrational and election subverting supporters will again rush to his defense with the usual anticipated excuses, this time there really was a ‘tape’, and both America and the World heard it.

Everyone openly heard the President of the United States make a desperate one hour long last-ditch effort to illegally overturn the results of the Presidential election. Now, Trump is on tape, forever, mob-like, trying to destroy democracy in America solely for his personal gain. But American Democracy has been under systematic and ruthless attack for decades by the Republican Party, which is at most times the minority in the country. However, it has still managed, through determined and systematic voter suppression, open and shameless gerrymandering (the redrawing of electoral maps at the State and County levels), and blatant rules rigging, to make America a country where the party and electorate in minority, has been able to win and rule both at the Federal and State levels quite consistently at the expense of the democratic majority.

Under Trump and his open and unapologetic bad behavior, the Republican Party has now gotten even more emboldened, and come to expect acquisition and retention of political power by open rebellion to all rules of democracy and law and order, without any meaningful penalties, political or legal.

So far, Trump and the Republicans have had a free pass to all their twisting of facts, and denials and flaunting of expected norms.

The first term of Trump’s Presidency (4 years) has shown the Republican Party that brazenly and perpetually denying the truth, and determinedly and repetitively pushing a false narrative can bring the desired results at best, and at worst, so confuse the issues that they can escape all penalties while damaging the rule of law, and the rules of an operating democracy. And it showed that both Trump and the Republicans can and will distort reality and create their own ‘Alternate Facts’, and with the help of Putin-sanctioned Russian bots convince their own base that no longer will a legitimate election win be a win, unless it is they who are the winners.

Even that piece of priceless, bald-faced cheating, but ‘winning strategy’ was taught to them by Trump, who in his election battle against Clinton, boldly rolled it out by declaring publicly, and repeatedly, and without any trepidation whatsoever, that ‘it is a rigged election, unless I win’. And he has been using that strategy shamelessly since then, even against Joe Biden, only now, he has most of the Republican lawmakers and the base solidly on board, with all them pushing the line – ‘it is not a fair democratic election, unless the Republicans win’.

Trump and the Republicans have now adopted this mantra through all political and legal losses that debunk their atrocious claims of voter fraud, rigged election, and election tampering.

No amount of official investigations or court rulings that debunk their erroneous claims matter, they just keep repeating the lies anyway. And, in a diabolical twist, Republican lawmakers claim to be acting on behalf of their ‘disenfranchised 74 Million Republican voters’, that voted for Trump, as they blithely ignore the glaring idiocy, that by claiming the rights of their 74 Million voters, they are actively undermining and attempting to disenfranchise the majority, the 81 Million plus that voted for Joe Biden.

In a true democracy, a majority of one wins the election. Here, it is over 81 Million plus, the majority of American voters, who are being actively undermined by Trump and his Republicans. Their brazen stance now is to ignore all evidence and setbacks to their false claims and to keep repeating the falsehoods until they convince their electoral base not to accept any election results unless Republicans win. And if Democrats win at the Federal or State level, to believe it was a rigged or fraudulent election, where the Republicans were cheated of a win, and the election was stolen from them. Towards this end, both Trump and the Republican lawmakers have encouraged their base to take to the streets, armed and ready to go to civil war if necessary, to ensure Trump and the Republicans stay in power at all costs.

American democracy could not be more broken under such sustained assault, short of an open civil war - which may be still coming.

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