Democracy works: Biden wins, Trump is not conceding

by Elpidio R. Estioko

Photo by AP Photo

After former Vice President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden won Pennsylvania, four days after the Nov. 3 presidential election, he clenched the bar by registering 273 electoral votes (exceeding the 270 votes set by the Electoral College) with President Donald Trump’s 213.

Seven days later, Biden garnered 306 as against Trump’s 233. After a week of denial, Trump “acknowledged Biden won.” But…he is not conceding the election and is not even saying President-Elect Biden or any of that sort in any of his discourse.

NBC News authors Henry Austin, Carol E. Lee, Jane C. Timm, and Allan Smith wrote President Donald Trump suggested Sunday that Joe Biden had “won” the presidential election while saying that the election was rigged — a claim that has been widely debunked.”

Trump wrote falsely claiming that no watchers or observers had been allowed: “He won because the Election was Rigged.”

Well, according to the authors, “It was not clear whether the tweet represented a grudging or an accidental concession by Trump that he had lost the election, which he has repeatedly claimed to have won, even after every major news organization projected Biden as the victor.”

When asked whether Trump was admitting that Biden won, a White House official said: “It looks like it.”

Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that Trump’s early morning tweet was “a further confirmation of the reality that Joe Biden won the election.”

Trump’s former national security adviser-turned-critic John Bolton, speaking on ABC News’ “This Week,” said he believes “it’s very important for leaders of the Republican Party to explain to our voters, who are not as stupid as the Democrats think, that in fact Trump has lost the election and his claims of election fraud are baseless.”

“The fact is that we’ve seen litigation in all the key battleground states, and it has failed consistently,” Bolton said. “Right now, the Trump campaign is doing the legal equivalent of pitching pennies. Where are their silver dollars? Where is the evidence?… as each day passes, it has become clearer and clearer there isn’t any evidence.”

In an interview with CBS News, former President Barack Obama said there are “no factual scenarios” in which Trump wins the election. “We’re not above the rules…We’re not above the law. That is the essence of our democracy,” Obama added.

Biden won both the electoral votes (306 vs 233) and the popular votes (he won by more than 5 million plus and counting). In 2016, former State Secretary Hilary Clinton won the popular votes against Trump by 3 million plus but lost the electoral votes (306 vs 223) but she never contested the election. She gracefully conceded defeat and recognized Trump as the president-elect. That is the opposite of Trump. That is Trump in 2016 and Trump in 2020 for you.

While Trump is entitled to contest the election, this should not interfere in the smooth transition of power to president-elect Joe Biden. The problem is: it’s interfering. Biden’s transition team cannot even get security briefing; they cannot get COVID-19 latest details; and they cannot even get money allocations for the transition and inauguration ceremony. The transition team is spending their private money.

Why is Trump holding on his power as president and even talks of a second term stating that he will have a separate inaugural ceremony in Jan. 21, a day after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration?

Well, your guess is as good as mine! When he is no longer in power, he will lose all immunity a seating president is entitled to. That means, he can now be sued and will be facing numerous civil and criminal cases, in addition to IRS-related cases filed and will be filed against him. I’m sure he does not want that to happen. That is the reason why he is clinging on to his position, I guess!

His actions, however, are bad to the country and to a democratic society such as the U.S., which is the bastion of democratic principles in the whole world. A dictator in a democratic society? No way, right?

Trump has up to noon of Jan. 20, 2021 to officially function as the president of the United States. So, what he is doing now is issuing executive orders which will be hard for Biden to undo. He fired the Defense secretary and who knows what else he will still be doing between now and Jan. 20. The latest: Trump fired official who disputed his false election fraud claims.

There is a lot of things at stake here which could be threshed out if there is a smooth transition, just like what President Barack Obama did to Trump in 2016. In the case of Biden, he is groping in the dark and his transition team is having a hard time getting the desired data they need.

Biden became the oldest elected US president at the age of 78. He was one of the youngest elected in the Senate in 1972. Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate became the first woman and person of color to be elected as U.S. Vice President.

In Biden’s speech, he emphasized that he will be president for all Americans, not for the Democrat, not for the GOPs, but for all Americans. Referring to those who didn’t vote for him, he said: “We are not enemies, we are Americans… I am honored and humbled… the work ahead of us would be hard but if we are united, we can do it. It is time for America to unite and heal.” He pledged to be a president that will unify the nation.

For her part, Vice President-Elect Sen. Kamala Harris said: “This election is not about me and Joe Biden but for the people of the United States of America.”

At this juncture, I would like to commend, first, all the voters who exercised their right to vote. They really made democracy work! People of all walks of life trooped to the polls not minding 3- to 4-hours in line in order to cast their votes.

I would like to commend all the election officers and volunteers who sacrificed and still are sacrificing in discharging their responsibilities to be able to carry on the democratic process which is vital to democracy.

I would also like to commend my friend, former Philippine journalist and now a resident of Anchorage, Alaska Romy Morales who volunteered to serve in this election.

“This year as I’m trying to feel how it is to have been retired from employment, my urge to serve has been aroused again when I accepted a call that I would be an election officer here in Anchorage, Alaska in a nationwide election that took place  in the middle of a pandemic and where the country has grown so polarized, to the point that each one on the political divide becomes enemies. The last time this nation was in a similar situation was one hundred years ago, in 919, after World War 1,” Morales said.

He further said: “As election officials, we were supposed to be apolitical, leaving behind us our political orientation or affiliation, if ever any of us has any, so we can render our job effectively, without political bias and avoiding the appearance of impropriety  as we assisted voters.”

“The whole time we had been in the polling place, the voting went on smoothly as  a sea, without any untoward incident (fraud or cheating, so to say), while a poll watcher was all ears to  name of individual voters as we hollered aloud for the poll watcher’s listening pleasure,” he commented.

For me, I used to serve as an election precinct inspector for Santa Clara County and as a precinct inspector since 2008, but this year, I begged to be excused. I remember the message of Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) Registrar Shannon Bushey, two years ago in her introduction to volunteer election officers: “The role you (referring to election officers) play in the democratic process is an essential and vital one for our county. I truly hope you enjoy working as an Election Officer, and I hope to see you working again in future elections. We could not conduct our elections without you!”

Each election, ROV provides mandatory training to all the Election Officers combining two styles of training: online training and an in-person hands-on training.

Online training provides the volunteer election officer the luxury of learning at their own pace and the convenience of learning at a time that fits their schedule.  Blending videos and interactive exercises, the online course creates a dynamic learning experience that goes far beyond traditional classroom learning.

In addition, they undergo in-person hands-on training course with the opportunity to trouble-shoot election equipment and get practical experience with the various situations they might encounter on Election Day.

The election officers are the eyes-and-ears of polling places all over the country making sure all the precincts are efficiently serving the voters before, during, and after election.

Again, I would like to salute all election officers and volunteers who served and still are serving and beyond. They deserve the best accolade for their service to the country!

Kudos to you my friend Romy Morales from Anchorage, Alaska for volunteering as an election officer!

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris, congratulations… the future of America is in your hands!

Will Trump concede before Biden’s January 20 inauguration date? Maybe… maybe not! Trump is Trump… we never know!

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com


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