Selasa, 15 Desember 2020

Trump has run out of places to hide from his defeat - Sydney Morning Herald

Now that the Electoral College has formally confirmed that Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States, it is high time for the whole country, including Donald Trump, to accept the outcome.

Since the election, the current President and far too many of his Republican supporters have undermined America’s democracy by challenging the legitimacy of the election based on reckless and unfounded claims of massive voter fraud.

This has continued now for six weeks, even though the election organisers, many of them Republican-elected officials, have certified the results and scores of courts, including the Supreme Court with its solid Republican majority, have rejected lawsuits against their decisions.

Shamefully, Mr Trump has tarnished whatever is left of his reputation by a deranged campaign to remain in the White House.

Instead of ensuring a smooth transition, he has Twitter-trolled judges and lawmakers, accusing them of a massive conspiracy against him. He has driven away or sacked loyal members of his own administration, including on Tuesday Attorney-General William Barr who dared to defend the process. He even tried to bully Republican-controlled legislatures in states such as Georgia not to certify the results of the election in their states.


There have been reports that Mr Trump was fanning the flames in order to raise political contributions for use in other battles. Whatever the motive, his rhetoric made the US sound like a banana republic, not the bastion of Western democracy.

His comments were shamefully taken up by social media and cable television, including here in Australia by Sky News pundits such as Alan Jones.

The vicious propaganda inspired some far-right militants to issue threats against electoral officials. In the latest such instance, security concerns forced police to cordon off the legislature of the state of Michigan where the state’s electoral college met to declare its 16 votes for Mr Biden. This should not happen in a stable, rich country like the US.

Thankfully, Mr Trump’s tactics did not work. US democracy passed the test. The Electoral College, which under the indirect US system chooses the president, has formally and finally announced Mr Biden won by 306 votes to 232, a margin identical to Mr Trump in 2016, which Mr Trump at the time called a landslide.

While Mr Trump still plays the sore loser, a trickle of senior Republicans, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, who have until now parroted the President’s lies, are starting to come to their senses. They have in recent days accepted, however grudgingly and tortuously, that Mr Biden is the winner.

The Electoral College is usually a barely noticed rubber stamp but Mr Biden on Tuesday hailed it as a turning point after the weeks of uncertainty. "The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know nothing – not even a pandemic or an abuse of power – can extinguish that flame.”

Mr Biden has promised to turn the page and take action on fighting the pandemic and climate change. Much will depend on whether he can win control of the Senate by winning the two Georgia Senate seats in run-off elections on January 5. It is a long shot but Mr Trump’s antics could turn away many Republicans.

For the sake of his party and his country, Mr Trump should swallow his pride and publicly acknowledge he has lost. It is time to move on.

Note from the Editor

The Herald editor Lisa Davies writes a weekly newsletter exclusively for subscribers. To have it delivered to your inbox, please sign up here.

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2020-12-15 05:04:00Z

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