Scott Hardie | November 7, 2020
Finally, they called it. I wondered how long the mainstream media was going to wait to acknowledge the outcome that everyone else seemed to know already. I was beginning to picture Biden up on a platform giving a speech at his inauguration while the news was still reporting on another batch of votes in Nevada.

I get at least one reason for the delay. When Trump had a lead on Tuesday night, there was pressure to declare him the winner, and they resisted because the votes hadn't all been counted yet. If they had declared Biden the winner as soon as he took the lead while more votes were still being counted, they'd look like assholes. But a mathematical near-certainty is worth reporting as one, and the time had definitely come to call it. There are consequences to waiting.

Elections used to be a big deal around these parts -- Election Day 2004 still holds the record for the most comments in a single day -- but I've avoided raising the topic this year. I suspect that we're all a bit burned out and exhausted right now. I know I am; the last thing that i wrote here turned out hostile and aggressive despite my attempts to rein it in. I didn't know whether talking about the election would have been therapeutic or even more worrying for people, so I erred on the side of not saying anything. But at some point it's worth acknowledging and discussing the thing that we're all thinking about. (And I know that it's easier for me after getting my preferred outcome. If Trump had won re-election, I would dread raising the subject.)

What are your thoughts on election, the aftermath, and the road ahead?

Steve West | November 7, 2020
He's not elected yet, I'm afraid. There is an official process that must occur on a state by state basis. That generally happens a few weeks after election day but we've become used to the networks declaring a winner on election eve. I do believe that Biden is and should be the winner but Trump still has the idiotic idea that the court system can somehow make him prevail. I just dread the notion of how long that process will take. There's only an infinitely small chance it will go past Jan 20 so I'm not saying the sky is falling. I just can't stand the notion of Trump whining about this "stolen" election all the way to that date. When can Twitter close his account?

Samir Mehta | November 7, 2020
[hidden by request]

Samir Mehta | November 7, 2020
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | November 7, 2020
Steve: Trump is going to whine about this "stolen" election until the day he dies. He is incapable of admitting defeat. So far, courts have mostly rejected his baseless lawsuits over this, and the further we get from the election, the less momentum he'll have. It's still possible for a court to rule in his favor in such a way that it changes the outcome of the election, but I'd be very surprised. If you think Trump is hated now, wait until he's perceived to have stolen four more years in power with a bad-faith lawsuit.

Samir: You're referring to Trumpian members of Congress, but if you want to read a decent kiss-off to Trump administration officials and relatives, Slate just ran a series of condemnations of them on their way out. The (ethical, not legal) case that Stephen Miller deserves to be tried for crimes against humanity for the cruelty of his policies is particularly affecting.

Scott Hardie | November 28, 2020
The way I've seen it since before the election, Trump has four paths to another term:

1) Win the election outright.
2) Use lawsuits to throw out enough ballots to change the outcome for him.
3) Manipulate state legislators into turning the electoral college vote for him.
4) Use the National Emergency Act to suspend the Constitution and declare himself the president indefinitely.

He has failed at the first two so far. There's still time for the other two. To my knowledge, neither has ever been tested in court before, so who knows whether it would work if he tried it?

If I were a judge and someone brought me a case about the National Emergency Act, I'd rule the entire thing unconstitutional. Congress could not give the president the authority to suspend the Constitution because it lacks that authority itself! But if Trump actually went that far, he'd just declare that he has "emergency" power over the judiciary as well, I'm sure, and then it becomes like every other line he has crossed, a matter of who's going to let him get away with it.

This election outcome is probably over, but I won't be completely at ease until noon on January 20.

Scott Hardie | November 28, 2020
I've been thinking about Trump's followers who want him to overthrow the election, like this guy:

[Mr. Rocco] could imagine suspending elections so Mr. Trump and his family could rule without interruption for 20 years. "I guarantee you, Trump supporters would not care," he said. "I guarantee you, if you got 69 million Trump supporters, and you said, 'Would you be good with Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump as president?' a lot of people would be 100 percent behind that."
And I've been thinking about something that Samir (I think it was Samir) said about how America's foreign policy hasn't lined up with the myth that we tell ourselves about the country.

The myth -- one of several big ones we tell ourselves, anyway -- is that we're a beacon of democracy and hope, a shining city on the hill, the nation that brought modern democracy to the world, and that we work overtime to promote democratic rule everywhere in the world. But that's not true at all! Our foreign policy since the late 1800s has involved an awful lot of undemocratic actions: Overthrowing duly elected leaders to install puppets who will favor us, funding armed insurrections and rebellions, assassinating leaders who oppose us, invading nations on false pretenses when their interests don't align with ours, and plenty more. And the thing about these incidents is that the American public didn't care. As long as those undemocratic things were happening to someone else, we couldn't be bothered to give a damn; we still had our cheap gas and fat bellies and funny TV and we were pleased as punch.

So is it any surprise that so many Americans would be fine with Donald Trump overthrowing the election and declaring himself president for life? That undemocratic action would be happening to "someone else," except this time it would be their hated fellow Americans across the political divide.

If you feel angry at the thought that Trump might overthrow the election despite the will of the people, I hope you're just as angry about all of the times that we did it to other countries.


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