by Emil Guillermo
I will remember 2020 for COVID-19, of course. But I will remember it mostly as the last ugly chapter of the Trump years, a time in America where it came perilously close to being too much like the Philippines.
Here’s what I mean. I have never felt that the gift I wanted most for Christmas was a pro-Democracy movement in America. What is that? Just ask yourself some simple pro-democracy-oriented questions.
Do you value your vote in free and fair elections? You should because there’s a move to take it away and disenfranchise you.
Do you value the institutions of government like Congress and our system of services? You should because there’s a move to shred it all up as deep-state BS.
Do you value a free press? You should, because a free press exposes the fallacies of Trump.
How about the rule of law? You should because that’s what marks a real democracy as great.
If you care about any of those questions above, then you’re ready to join my pro-Democracy movement in America. Or better yet, start your own. We all should start one. No matter what your political party.
A belief in democracy is a non-partisan issue. Democracy is us. All of us. It’s the start and the end goal of all our politics. Our perfect union. We begin all believing in the same thing. And we end up together because we’re one country.
Basic principles, sure. But we better start caring for these things we take for granted because Trump is doing all he can to destroy America’s sense of itself on his way out.
This is no conspiracy theory of mine, just an observation. We’re seeing it happen in front of our eyes these last weeks of the Trump administration. And yes, it’s really happening.
Wait pare, conspiracy theory?
You know, there are people out there who suggest that the moon landing never happened. Or that 9/11 and the attack on the World Trade Center never happened. Or that the earth is flat. Or that the Holocaust and the killing of six million Jews never happened.
These are all legendary theories that we know are just mental exercises in spreading falsehoods, but for what purpose? To spread doubt and to tear down a sense of the truth that are the foundation of future actions and beliefs.
Trump Did Not Win
So, Trump is proposing another outlandish conspiracy—that he won the election of 2020.
Trump does it every time he tweets or says he won the presidency despite all the votes being certified in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Make no mistake. The results are clear. Trump LOST. But weren’t there irregularities? There may have been.
But even if you grant all the “questionable” votes, there aren’t enough to turn Trump into a winner.
He still lost.
Trump did get more votes than an incumbent ever got, more than 74 million votes.
But Joe Biden got even more votes. More than 81 million votes than Trump. It was enough to give him more than 300 electoral college votes. He only needed 270 to win. It’s enough to make him president-elect.
And yet there are some who refuse to acknowledge the Biden victory, choosing instead to stick their head deeper in the sand while still listening to Trump who says the election was rigged or that there was voter fraud.
It’s Trump’s big lie.
Every time he does it, nearly 80 percent of those believe him, according to reports. And that is the problem. The number of people who will believe the lie and doubt our democracy.
Doubts in our democracy are the last thing we need as a country to get it moving in the right direction.
Trump isn’t just tweeting. He’s out there conspiring with others to set up straw man-type actions. Like a lawsuit filed by the Texas attorney general that suggests that votes in elections in the four key states that gave Biden a win were somehow invalid. No evidence. And more importantly no standing.
I know just enough law from law school roommate osmosis to know that “standing” is everything. It is the right to sue for damages.
Does Texas have the right to sue Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia over their elections? No.
But by filing the suit, Texas is doing Trump’s bidding trying to actually “steal” the vote away from the people. If successful, the suit doesn’t just affect the four named states, but can negate the will of the people in states like Hawaii.
Trump is even talking about the case going before the Supreme Court where his block of court picks could help give him a victory.
Trump’s Gamble—The Silent Coup
For such a no-merit lawsuit, there are more than 100 members of Congress who back the suit. Of course, there are the hopeful Trumpsters who now further believe that the government is scum, democracy is terrible, and only Donald Trump knows the truth.
That’s better than winning the lawsuit.
Some people are calling it the “silent coup.”
The goal of Trump’s conspiracy theories is always manipulation and power. Even a Republican loyalist like Californian Kevin McCarthy plays it down the middle. Too cowardly to condemn Trump’s attempt to takedown the election, McCarthy says simply that Trump has the right to pursue all legal avenues.
It’s McCarthy’s way of being loyal and unloyal at the same time. The eggshell walk, when it should be a real stomp. But it shows Trump’s control of the party as he exits.
As for the Texas AG, Ken Paxton who filed the suit, he’s named in a number of felony cases, and is surely angling for a favor from Trump—like some last day pardon.
This isn’t how the presidency is supposed to be. But it has been how it works under Trump, who has destroyed our sense of what American democracy means and what it stands for. Trump’s actions are real and lasting. And it’s transformed American politics to this landscape from left and right, to left, right and Trump.
In 2021, beyond the rush for a vaccine, Americans will also need an antidote to four years of Trump – where all remnants of his self-serving nonsense is erased by a real pro-democracy movement in America.
EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. He worked in Washington as host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” He was a columnist for the Star Bulletin and a member of the Advertiser editorial board. Twitter @emilamok.
(Editor’s Note: The US Supreme Court rejected a bid from Texas’ attorney general — supported by President Donald Trump — to block the ballots of millions of voters in battleground states that went in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. SCOTUS rejected to hear the case and determined based on briefs that the case did not deserve standing.)