Thursday, November 5, 2020

America fires Trump

Here are some thoughts about the election from Charlie Sykes in his MorningShots.Bulwark.com:

America To Trump: You’re Fired. He’s about to become a disgraced ex-president.

Sometime very soon — quite possibly today — Joe Biden will secure the 270 electoral votes he needs to become the 46th president of the United States. Pennsylvania will put him over the top; and it’s possible he will also flip Georgia.

Tune out the crazy and the hysterical. Ignore the hand-wringing about recounts and lawsuits. Biden is on track to win more than 300 electoral votes and more popular votes than any presidential candidate in history — possibly more than 80 Million.

And he will have decisively defeated Donald J. Trump.

[SNIP]

If Trump’s history is any guide, he has saved the worst for last, as he launches his post-presidential grievance movement.

Donald Trump’s final days in office will be like so much of his presidency; chaotic, bitter, corrupt, and shambolic. He will undermine the institutions of our democracy, scatter pardons like skittles, and he will embarrass his friends. He will be petulant and vengeful. He might not even show up for the Inauguration.

But two days ago, the voters threw him out of office. It was a very specific and very personal verdict rendered by the largest vote in American history.

And Trump knows it, even if the pundits don’t.

Rage against the vote. I have a possibly contrarian take here. Despite the volume of the Trump/GOP complaints about the election, and despite the lawsuits and protests… it feels like they are really just going through the motions here.

As Judd Legum notes, Trump’s various lawsuits sound ominous, raising the possibility of court decisions that could overturn the results of the election. “But if you look at the details of these cases,” he notes, “they are far less menacing. They appear mostly designed to generate headlines that Trump is contesting the outcome, rather than cases that could determine the outcome of the race.”

Rudy is a tell.

Olivia Nuzzi tweets: It’s astounding that the same Republican Party that has waged a highly organized and successful decades-long campaign to install conservative judges at every level has a president whose election legal battle is being led by a senile lunatic who can’t remember to zip up his pants.

Another tell? The protests are incoherent to the point of self- parody: “stop the vote” in one state, “count that vote” in another.

Both are from Trump supporters.

Also in TheBulwark, Bill Kristol sees in The Day After The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

It looks likely that Joe Biden will win, and that he’ll do so in a way that will be hard for Donald Trump to dispute and in a way that will be reasonably clear by the end of this week. If his margin holds in Nevada, which looks probable and which we should know tomorrow, he’ll have 270 electoral votes (with Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nebraska’s second congressional district, along with the states called for him earlier). Biden could also end up winning Pennsylvania and/or Georgia, but you can’t count either of them one way or the other right now.

Still, every responsible voice needs to join now in saying: Let the votes be counted. No violence, no demagoguery, no delegitimizing lawful election processes.

The Bad

The bad news is that the election results are likely to leave both parties in worse shape, from the point of view of those of us who’d like some fresh thinking of a non-Trumpy, non-Bernie variety.

The Republican party will be geared entirely toward holding the Senate and winning the House in 2022, and that will be viewed as meaning that Republicans must fight and weaken Biden at every turn.

We’ve seen that before - cf. Obama.

The Ugly: Us

In 2016, 46 percent of the American people voted for Donald Trump. They were willing to take a gamble on an outsider, a businessman, a celebrity, against an unpopular Hillary Clinton. They could also tell themselves there would be constraints on his behavior, from his own party, and from Congress.

Now, after four years of seeing Donald Trump govern with results that are, I think, pretty horrifying, and faced with the choice of giving him a second term—in which he would assuredly be less constrained—the American people rewarded President Trump with an increased share of the overall vote. Having seen him in office, almost half the country wanted to give him four more years.

I don’t see any way to gild this lily.

To some very real degree, as Pogo famously said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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