Even after a crushing and unanimous ruling by the US Supreme Court, denying the lawsuit that he had claimed was “the big one” that would reverse the outcome of the 2020 elections, Donald Trump is continuing to insist that he had actually won the Nov. 3 vote.
Trump is also intensifying his incitement of fascist violence. On Saturday, he ordered his Marine One helicopter to fly low over right-wing demonstrators, including members of the Proud Boys, in Washington D.C., in a signal of his support, as he was being taken to West Point, New York, to watch the Army-Navy football game.
These pro-Trump thugs later engaged in a full-scale brawl with anti-Trump protesters on Saturday evening, in which four people were stabbed and many more injured, as well as 23 arrested. In a separate incident in Olympia, Washington, a Trump-supporting gunman shot and wounded an anti-fascist demonstrator.
In a typical all-caps tweet, Trump declared Saturday, “I WON THE ELECTION IN A LANDSLIDE, but remember, I only think in terms of legal votes, not all of the fake voters and fraud that miraculously floated in from everywhere! What a disgrace!”
The Texas lawsuit rejected Friday by the Supreme Court would have suppressed the result of the popular vote in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia and assigned the task of selecting electors to the Republican-controlled state legislatures in each state. The effect would have been to transfer 62 electoral votes from Joe Biden to Trump, making Trump the winner.
Instead, when the Electoral College electors meet today in 50 state capitals and Washington D.C., they are expected to vote along the lines dictated by the results of the balloting that culminated on Nov. 3, making Biden officially the president-elect. There is not the slightest indication that either Trump or a majority of Republican Party leaders will accept this outcome or acknowledge Biden as the victor.
The trend is in the opposite direction. As late as Dec. 6, a Washington Post survey found that of 249 Republicans in Congress, 27 said Biden had won, two said Trump had won, while 220 would not answer the question definitively. Four days later, on Dec. 10, 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives had signed on to an amicus brief whose contention was that Trump actually won the election.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s unanimous rebuff, only a single one of those 126 House Republicans indicated that he would regard today’s vote by the Electoral College as decisive.
The most extreme statement came from the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, Allen West, a former congressman from Florida, who denounced the Supreme Court decision and declared, “This decision establishes a precedent that says states can violate the US constitution and not be held accountable. This decision will have far reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic. Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.”
While the Republican Party traffics in incitement of violence and discussion of secession, the Democratic Party, under the direction of President-elect Biden, continues to preach bipartisan collaboration. Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are deeply engaged in discussions with these same Republicans on the details of a new COVID-19 relief package—which will go largely to big business—while both the Senate and House have passed a record military spending bill by huge bipartisan margins, in the face of a veto threat by Trump over secondary matters.
Appearing on the CBS Sunday interview program “Face the Nation,” Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, named by Biden as a top White House political counselor, discussed with host Margaret Brennan his efforts to work with House Republicans.
“If two-thirds of the Republican conference doesn’t recognize Joe Biden’s victory as the president-elect, how can you do business with them?” she asked.
Richmond replied, “They recognize Joe Biden’s victory. All of America recognizes Joe Biden’s victory. This is just a small portion of the Republican conference that are appeasing and patronizing the President on his way out because they are scared of his Twitter power and other things.”
“Don’t you take their statements of opposition seriously?” Brennan asked. Richmond replied, “No, I don’t. I talk to Republican members of Congress all the time, and they say one thing privately, they say another thing publicly. But the one thing I will tell you is they realize he lost this election.”
Richmond points to the cowardice, dishonesty and cynicism of his Republican “colleagues,” and actually makes that an argument in favor of working with them. Biden wants to do business with Republicans, his future White House counselor says, because they say one thing in public and the opposite behind closed doors.
The New York Times, which serves as the main mouthpiece for the Democratic leadership, elaborated the case for bipartisanship in a lengthy editorial Sunday, under the headline, “Build on Common Ground.” While the editorial goes on at great length about possible agreements between the two parties on an array of minor issues, from rural high-speed broadband to prescription drug prices to business tax credits to promote carbon capture technology, it reduces the overriding question of the coronavirus pandemic to a single sentence which says nothing at all about a policy to avert the impending deaths of several hundred thousand Americans.
The reason for the silence is clear. There is a bipartisan agreement that nothing should be done to stop mass death: no lockdowns, no school closures, no shutdowns of nonessential businesses. As servants of big business, both parties agree that workers must stay on the job producing profits for the capitalists, regardless of the consequences to their health and lives.
The editorial advises that Biden should be “turning down the temperature of the culture wars” (i.e., making concessions to Christian fundamentalist bigotry) and “backing a policy agenda with broad public support” (i.e., nothing that offends the Chamber of Commerce or Wall Street), while confining himself to “common ground that’s already been scouted and surveyed” (cosmetic measures already before Congress that will do nothing to alleviate the massive social crisis triggered by the pandemic).
Significantly, the only foreign policy issue promoted by the Times is “the need to take a tough line on dealings with China,” and the editorial notes that Biden has indicated he may not lift the tariffs Trump imposed on an array of Chinese imports. It goes on to advocate increased federal investment in “critical industries such as biotech, quantum computing and artificial intelligence,” especially important to the development of future generations of military weaponry.
Only the day before, the same newspaper’s lead editorial decried Republican “nihilism” and asked, “What is left to say about a political party that would throw out millions of votes?” The Times’ answer to its own question is: join forces with them as quickly as possible, and on their terms.
In a similar vein, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, a Republican anti-Trumper, headlined her Sunday op-ed, “So much for ‘Biden the socialist.’” She noted the consistently right-wing, pro-business and pro-military outlook of those Biden has selected for his Cabinet and White House staff, concluding approvingly, “If Biden holds the line against the most progressive elements in his party, ex-Republicans might find themselves surprisingly comfortable in a Biden Democratic Party.”