Minggu, 03 Januari 2021

Ugliest spectacle of Trump era looms - The Australian

“I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world,’ says Republican Senator Mitt Romney. “Has ambition so eclipsed principle?’

It is a fair question for any moderate Republican to ask ahead of what promises to be one of the ugliest spectacles of the Donald Trump era in Congress this week (AEDT).

At the president’s urging, a group of at least 11 Republican Senators seeking to curry favour with Trump and his voting base will seek to block what should have been a routine certification of Joe Biden’s election win. They will be supported in the House by at least 120 Republicans.

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The move, due to unfold in Congress on Thursday (AEDT) is, at its core, an attempt to override the will of American voters because they voted for Biden over Trump.

Luckily it will fail because Democrats and a group of more principled Republicans will combine to shoot it down in both the House and the Senate.

But this is the sort of damage that Trump’s unproven claims about a voter fraud have wreaked.

Trump’s false claims have led one third of Americans to believe that fraud helped Biden win the November election. At each turn in recent months, Trump has acted inappropriately in pressuring states such as Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin to overturn Biden’s win.

On Monday (AEDT) a recording emerged of Trump bluntly telling the Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn his defeat in that state.

This week a group of Republican Senators led by Ted Cruz will vote against certifying Biden’s election win unless an Electoral Commission is set up to conduct an emergency 10 day audit of the election results.

President Donald Trump pressured the Georgia secretary of state in an extraordinary phone conversation Saturday to "find" enough votes to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the Southern state, news media reported. Picture: Brendan Smialowski / AFP
President Donald Trump pressured the Georgia secretary of state in an extraordinary phone conversation Saturday to "find" enough votes to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the Southern state, news media reported. Picture: Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Never mind that in more than 50 cases, courts across the country have rejected all of Trump’s claims of voter fraud and that every state has now certified their results, confirming Biden’s 306 to 232 victory.

Under archaic Congressional rules, the decision to challenge the election results will force each Senator and Congressman to choose sides, placing Republicans in the position of publicly choosing between support for Trump or for the democratic process.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who has acknowledged Biden’s victory, warned Republicans against going down this road. But many Republicans are more fearful of angering the president and his support base than doing what is right by acknowledging the will of the people.

‘A dangerous ploy’

As Republican Senator Ben Sasse put it, the move to challenge the Biden win is ‘a dangerous ploy’ which is ‘designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party.’

Former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said it was difficult to “to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act.’

‘The fact that this effort will fail does not mean it will not do significant damage to American democracy,” he said.

Some Republicans fear that Trump’s claims of electoral fraud may dampen the turnout of Republicans in two run-off crucial elections in Georgia on Wednesday (AEDT) which will determine what party controls the US Senate.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal said “Republicans should be embarrassed by Mr. Trump’s Electoral College hustle,’ warning that if Congress overturned the results of the election ‘riots in the street would be the least of it.’

But there may be riots anyway. Trump is calling for his supporters to gather in Washington on the day of the vote for what he promised would be ‘wild’ protests.

Far-right groups like the Proud Boys, white nationalists and militia members have said they will also attend, all but guaranteeing clashes on the streets of the capital.

The drama that unfolds in Washington on Thursday — both inside and outside the capitol building — will mark Trump’s last stand before Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

It won’t come a moment too soon for many. Trump has wasted his final months in office by acting like a sore loser rather than a president.

Washington Correspondent

Cameron Stewart has been The Australian’s Washington Correspondent covering North America since early 2017. This is his second US posting, having previously been The Australian’s New York correspondent the lat...

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2021-01-04 02:32:00Z

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