I spent a lot of time during the closing of last year arguing with those who accused President Donald J. Trump of attacking democracy by challenging the results of the November election.
No, no, I said.
He is going to court, which the rules provide for people with a beef.
That is not attacking the system, it is coloring inside the lines. It is following democracy. Going to court is not a coup.
And when the courts, almost every single one, ruled against his thread bare arguments, he accepted it.
Oh, sure, he pissed and moaned on Twitter, his favorite megaphone (Fox & Friends is his second favorite), but he accepted the court’s verdict. He had to. Why? He had no choice. He can’t get the military to arrest judges. Why?
Because our democracy is strong, the checks and balances created by our genius founding fathers remains strong, stronger than the vanity of a deluded president.
Then he called to arm-twist Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. The Georgia official is — or maybe was — a proud Trumpster, but had to listen to an hour’s worth of fantasy from the president, who cited “rumors” and things he had “heard” about the election, which has been more closely examined than an astronaut returning from space. Georgia ballots were counted three times, including by hand.
The president and his emissaries have been unable to present — how do you say? — proof of wide scale election fraud. There are some irregularities — there always are — but not enough to change the results.
Sez who? Every damn judge listening to Trump’s whining — including judges he appointed to the bench — not to mention his hand-picked and generally subservient Attorney General, William Barr.
Is he another traitor, like Jeff Sessions?
On Saturday, Trump tried making Raffensperger an offer he couldn’t refuse, like a Mafia don out of a Mario Puzo novel.
This was not going to court. This was not coloring inside the lines. This approached extortion, and a coup to undo the decision of the majority of the nation. He begged Raffensperger to “find” 11,000 votes for him, as if he were seeking a tax break in a real estate transaction.
Now, this was an attack on democracy, and it failed.
The president’s cajoling and bribery lite was rebuffed by a politician who supported him, but whose duty, and we might say honor, required him to uphold his oath. He was not going to “find” 11,000 votes for The Donald.
So here is a standing ovation for Secretary Raffensperger, a Republican to be proud of.
Unlike the dirty dozen U.S. Senators who will protest the election and shame themselves, aligning with the naked king who believes he is clothed.
And also unlike a president who seems to be believing his own bullshit. Yes, I think he actually believes he won, and that he has been cheated. His ego blots out the sun, and also the facts.
He is turning whatever legacy he might have into tragedy by his demented behavior and inability to leave the stage like an adult.