At 2:30 AM on Wednesday, hours after nearly all the polls had closed, President Donald Trump gave a speech which was unique in the history of presidential elections. He cast himself as an angry winner, indignant that he might be made to wait until many more of the votes had been counted before an official declaration was made.
Vote-Counting Should Have Stopped
Trump recited an impressive list of the states in which he led, ignoring that most of the absentee ballots not yet been counted, and that they were cast overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. Indeed, as far he was concerned, the vote-counting should have already stopped. That’s not how fair elections are conducted.
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Surely the president was aware that the ballots that were post-marked by November 3rd were legally required to be counted. Even after four years of unethical, and sometimes unlawful conduct, one might think that this would be a bridge too far even for this president.
Trump has long reveled in playing the role of victim, a trait with which his adoring fans can identify. Indeed, after listing all the impressive electoral victories he had just attained, he then called this election “…a fraud on the American public.”
His charges were focused on voting by mail. Without providing a shred of evidence, Trump has insisted that there has been widespread fraud in the handling of these absentee ballots.
He actually could make a valid point, however disingenuously. More than a year ago, he tapped one of his most generous political contributors, Louis DeJoy, to run the United States Postal Service. In short order, DeJoy introduced a series of “efficiency measures” such as disassembling hundreds of mail-sorting machines and abolishing overtime pay, thereby slowing the delivery of the U.S. mail.
In the meanwhile, Trump’s willful neglect of the gathering pandemic, which culminated in the deaths of over 230,000 Americans, and eventually led to widespread social distancing measures and the avoidance of crowds. Tens of millions of Americans opted to vote by mail in the recent presidential election hoping to avoid being infected in crowded polling places.
As luck would have it, the large majority of those who voted by mail happened to be Biden supporters who were more wary of crowds than Trump supporters. First, the president claimed that voting by mail would lead to widespread fraud, and now he wants to cut off the counting of these ballots. Was he warning us about the fraud he himself was planning to commit?
So here we have the post office slowing down the delivery of mail, including tens of millions of absentee ballots sent to local boards of election And then, there are the loyal Trump supporters in red state legislatures and supreme courts setting up their own roadblocks to voting by mail.
Adding barriers to using absentee ballots, some states severely restricted the use of drop boxes. Texas Governor Greg Abbot limited each of his state’s 264 counties to just one drop box. Help me here: What purpose could these restrictions serve other than to make it harder for these predominately Biden voters from exercising their Constitutional right to vote?
The Fraudulent Handling Of Absentee Ballots
So in a sense, I am forced to agree with the president’s concern over the fraudulent handling of absentee ballots. But that fraud has been committed by the president and his loyal henchmen.
To sum up, first Trump exacerbated the severity of the pandemic. And then, he and his allies tried very trick in the book to make it as hard as possible to vote by mail. And now, he wants to invalidate as many of these ballots as he can, by means legal or illegal.
The president is surely entitled to his opinion that he won this election, but he is not entitled to interfere with the legal vote-counting process. Does anyone have any doubt that Trump will avail himself of virtually any means, however unlawful, to cling to his presidency?