A SAD END FOR THE DONALD – BY NOSA IGIEBOR
So what happened to The Donald? Well, he got beaten very “biggly” by the man he derisively dubbed “Sleepy Joe” and “the worst presidential candidate in American history.” And now he’s throwing his trademark tantrum, vowing not to concede the presidential election that all the major news media had called for former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s candidate.
President Donald Trump is a loser, and a very bad one. His autocratic instincts have kicked into top gear.
He’s not ready to accept the reality of his defeat. He claims pathetically, and without any evidence, that the election has been stolen from him. And he blames the ‘fake news media’ for declaring Biden the winner.
Which is hilarious, considering the fact that even Fox News, his favourite TV network, had called Arizona for Biden on Tuesday night of the election. And Fox News division that made that call refused to walk back its decision to make the call despite huge pressure from the White House. While Biden’s lead has progressively shrunk as counting continues, he’s very likely to stay ahead and win it. Which will add another 11 electoral votes to his current haul of 279, according to CNN’s projection. And if he’s eventually declared winner of Georgia, where he’s ahead by over 11,000 votes, that would bring him another 16 electoral votes. So he’s on course to match Trump’s electoral vote margin of 306 in 2016.
Trump is an uncomfortable study in extreme narcissism. Everything must be about him. Otherwise he goes into a fit of tantrum as he’s doing now. ‘Declare me the winner or I’ll do maximum damage to America’s democracy.’ That’s the explicit threat he issued during his bizarre live TV statement in the White House in the early hours of Wednesday after the election. He had declared himself the winner as he was ahead at that point, and demanded that further vote counting should stop.
Fortunately, the United States of America is not Russia or any other republic run by an autocrat. He was roundly ignored and counting of votes continued and still going on.
He and his enablers in the Republican Party are blaming the media for Trump’s electoral loss. They say the media has no power to call the election for Biden until all the results from all the 50 states, Washington D.C. and other US territories that vote have been certified by the boards of elections. In other words, just delay the inevitability of the sad end for the Donald for a while longer so he and his allies can scale up their efforts to delegitimize the election.
Four years ago, the same news media had called the presidential election for him well before the final tally of votes was done. Former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, his Democratic opponent, readily conceded the election and called Trump to congratulate him. He and his apologists didn’t question the power of the media then to do so.
The spectacle of Trump and his supporters searching for straws to justify his refusal to accept defeat is comical but dangerously so.
They’re making false allegations of ballot manipulation and other sundry nonsensical claims with no shred of credible evidence. It’s like blowing hot air, which, in any case, the cold wintry weather, already prevalent in many parts of the country, immediately eviscerates.
The whole world, excepting Russia, China and many other countries with a hostile relationship with democracy, is finally breathing a huge sigh of relief. The aberration that’s the Trump presidency will end next January 20. And the most unfit person to have ever occupied the White House will leave the office whether he likes it or not. He’s been fired by majority of American voters. And Biden’s presidency will begin.
Considering the enormity of the mess he’s inheriting, you cannot but pity Biden. The COVID-19 pandemic that is raging uncontrollably and has killed nearly 240,000 Americans – no thanks to Trump’s gross irresponsibility and sheer incompetence – is more than enough to test the resolve of any focused leader. Add to that the economy ravaged by the pandemic and has shed millions of jobs. Biden has his work clearly cut out for him. And then the racial fault lines that Trump has widened and inflamed, and the international rules of engagement he doesn’t understand and which he flagrantly ignored – and in many instances, just upended.
Trump is a pathological liar and a conman who never expected to win the presidency in 2016. But he did, his improbable victory powered by millions of white voters, who like him, have racist instincts deeply ingrained in them. His infantile bombast and endless self-absorption couldn’t hide his egregious ignorance and unfitness, both intellectually and temperamentally, for the office that he gleefully reduced to his level of mediocrity.
He is, without question, an outlier for the steady rise of right-wing populism and nationalist politics around the world. And his emergence in 2016 showed that even America, the hitherto gold standard for democracy, isn’t immune to such dangerous, nativist politics of grievances, real and contrived. He deliberately stoked racial divide to serve his political objectives in a country whose history is blighted by slavery and institutionalized racism. He profited from it once but has failed in his second attempt to ride the same racial train to victory.
Instead, he has been fired through the ballot box. He will leave office as an impeached and a one-term president. And President Barack Obama, his nemesis and object of undisguised hatred, will have the best and last laugh.
Trump’s singular obsession was undoing all that Obama accomplished as president: The Affordable Care Act that provides access to medical service for tens of millions of Americans without health insurance; stricter environmental regulations; the Paris Climate Change Accord; and the nuclear agreement with Iran etc. Even if he got a second term, he would and could never be the president Obama was.
It’s Obama who pithily said that a nation is not made great, orderly and prosperous by strong men but strong institutions. When a nation is blessed with vibrant and independent legislature and judiciary, a free press and a robustly organized and engaged civil society, it can survive existential threat like the one Trump’s presidency has posed to America. And, indeed, the whole world.
Trump has sought to be America’s first autocrat president without any restraint. But the people have just delivered a rude reminder to him that they prize their freedom very much by voting him out.
While he succeeded in achieving a “hostile takeover of the Republican Party”, as his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, said, he met another nemesis in the Iron Lady Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. She had warned Trump before the election, that he would “be fumigated out of the White House” if he refuses to leave office when he’s been defeated. Even his poodles in the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, cannot save him this time.
But most tellingly, the American people weren’t prepared to stand four more years of Trump’s buffoonery. And 76 million (and still counting) of them spoke with their votes loudly and clearly. They listened to Biden’s call that “it’s time for Trump to pack his bags and go home.” And he is going to go because the American judiciary will do the right thing, more so when Trump’s allegation of his “stolen election” cannot pass the most basic judicial smell test. Many of the numerous cases he and his campaign organization have filed have been thrown out for utter lack of merit and being a complete waste of time. And more will be given the same treatment.
There’s a lot that’s confounding, unattractive and admirable in America’s democracy in equal measures. Confounding is the quaint Electoral College system of selecting their president that is not fit for an advanced and thoroughly modern democracy. It creates the anomaly of the candidate, who wins more Electoral College votes but loses the popular ballot, getting the presidency. It has happened many times.
The last one was 2016 when Hilary Clinton got three million more votes than Trump who got 306 Electoral College votes and became president. And the aggregate votes that tipped the Electoral College decisively for him was about 70,000 in four so-called battleground states.
Very unattractive is the blatant attempts to suppress votes by placing obstacles on the way of potential voters particularly minorities. Many Republican-controlled states even passed laws designed to make it harder for millions of people to vote. It’s a most corrupt way to retain power to draw legislative districts that would ensure for them an easy way to win elections for state governorships, legislatures and Congress. This is election rigging American style.
What is very admirable is the sheer determination and enthusiasm of the people to exercise their power to select their leaders. And the many ways they can cast their ballots to do so – mail-in voting, absentee ballot for those who are out of their places of registration to vote, and in-person voting on Election Day. For the first two options, they’re allowed to use them weeks before the day of election.
This was what enabled an estimated 150 million Americans to vote peacefully, without any drama as regularly happens in Nigeria’s elections. And that’s a new record for America’s general elections. No ballot snatching; no manipulation of results. The whole process from voting to counting and collation of results is transparent.
Best of all, elections are conducted by state board of elections, and each state is free to make its own rules for doing it. Imagine if there were a central election board like Nigeria’s INEC, Trump would’ve wantonly attempted to bend it to his will and do his bidding.
The most powerful president in the world is reduced to helplessly watching the people and those in charge of election decide his fate.
The notorious rules breaker has been undone by electoral rules scrupulously adhered to by those he can’t control.
Yes, Trump will be gone in January with his unrestrained corruption, exhausting daily drama of spewing lies, dishing out insults to all and sundry and displaying his crass ignorance and incompetence. But the damage he’s done to his own country and the world order will take a long time to repair.
But for now, the whole world can say welcome to Uncle Joe and bye to Grumpy Trump.
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