By this time, all who care are aware that last night, President Trump indulged in a self-pitying rant about the progress of the presidential election, including remarks such as: “If you count the legal votes, I easily win”; “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us”; “We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually, and then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret and they wouldn’t allow legally permissible observers,” “They [presumably, Democrats] want to find out how many votes they need, and then they seem to be able to find them. They wait and wait, and then they find them, and you see that on Election Night”; “Our goal is to defend the integrity of the election. We’ll not allow the corruption to steal such an important election,” and “[W]e can’t allow silence, anybody to silence our voters and manufacture results,” “This is a case where they’re trying to steal the election. They’re trying to rig an election and we can’t let that happen. Detroit and Philadelphia, known as two of the most corrupt political places anywhere in our country easily, cannot be responsible for engineering the outcome of a presidential race, a very important presidential race.”
Despite his years of malign behavior, the President’s wanton and apparently baseless effort to undercut confidence in the process that has sustained this nation for over two centuries was still shocking to me. (I know; I’m slow.) No matter that anyone with a modicum of discernment should readily see through Mr. Trump’s transparent fabrications; his fervent supporters believe him. Equally disconcerting was his tone: this is a man in fantasy land, beset by delusions wrought by a maimed psyche. I would suggest that any rational observer — even one that identifies with Mr. Trump’s substantive policies, grievances, and manner — has to question his relationship with reality. Put aside the moral judgements; he lacks to mental stability to conduct the office he holds.
Mr. Trump’s harangue drove me back to Federalist No. 68, in which Alexander Hamilton, speaking as Publius, defended the Electoral College process for selecting the President set forth in the Constitution:
“It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. … Nothing was more to be desired than that every practical obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.”
As far as I know, there is not one case of election fraud to substantiate any of the claims the President made last night. Election officials across the country of both political persuasions have attested to their efforts to conduct free and fair elections according to the rules of their respective states. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have called upon the President and his cohort to produce evidence of the election fraud they allege. So far, they haven’t. Until they do, they are the source of the “tumult and disorder” and the “cabal, intrigue, and corruption” in the selection of the President that concerned Mr. Hamilton over 200 years ago.
It is ironic that specifically because the electoral process has been so measured, if every vote is indeed counted, and Mr. Biden’s vote tally fails to exceed Mr. Trump’s in a sufficient number of states for Mr. Biden to secure victory in the Electoral College, Mr. Trump’s re-election will cause me to despair over the disposition of our citizens and to dread the future for our nation and the world – but I will not feel that his election was a fraudulent one.
All that said … hopefully, today is the day we begin to put this dark chapter in our history behind us.