Record numbers of people voted in the presidential election. President-Elect Joe Biden won the popular vote by more than 5 million (and counting) — more than any other presidential candidate in history. As of this writing, he has 306 Electoral College votes, the same number Trump had when he defeated Hillary Clinton.
Given Donald Trump’s life history of lying, self promotion, and spurious lawsuits, his refusal to concede, and his baseless legal challenges were predictable. On the other hand, the Republican response to the election should shock patriotic Americans. I believe it signifies the death of the Republican Party.
The Grand Old Party has been replaced by Trumpism, a political philosophy based on lying and propaganda that places winning and power above everything else, including democracy, national security, and human life. The U.S. death toll from the pandemic is 247,437, with 11,214,231 confirmed cases. More than one million of the confirmed cases are in California. The virus continues to spread unabated. Still, Donald Trump, and members of what used to be the Republican Party, continue to deny the reality of the pandemic. More importantly, he is blocking his administration from giving transition access, to virus data and planning, to the incoming Biden administration.
The nation, and the world, recently received very promising vaccine news: two trials projecting better than 90 percent effectiveness. Common sense and human decency would expect the outgoing administration to forthwith share details of their Operation Warp Speed plan for vaccine distribution, once they become available. Not so, the Party of Trump. Because Trump won’t concede the election, his administration refuses to engage in the traditional transfer of power briefings, not just on the virus, but on national security issues vital to the defense of our nation.
Trump obviously lost the election. His bogus legal challenges are being routinely thrown out of court. So, with so much at stake, why are we essentially hearing crickets from what used to be the Republican Party? Suggestions include: fear of Trump, and keeping the base engaged for the two Senate runoffs in Georgia. Neither of these is even remotely more important than our democratic peaceful transition of power, which we have relied upon since the creation of the United States.
Senator Marco Rubio, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is among a small minority of Republicans who believe that the General Services Administration should certify Biden as the winner and get on with granting him access to presidential briefings, and funding for the transition team — to which he is entitled.
While former President George W. Bush, the last GOP standard bearer, sent his congratulations to President-Elect Biden, and several Republican governors have acknowledged the Biden victory, as of this writing, only 10 elected Republican members of Congress ( two of whom are retiring) have sent their congratulations to the president-elect. By comparison, the leaders of 17 countries (England, Germany, France, Canada, Ireland, Turkey, India, Hungry, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Pakistan, South Africa, Italy, and Japan) have congratulated President-Elect Biden. (Indeed, there may be more, but the State Department, under the Party of Trump, is not forwarding congratulations sent directly to it.)
The dearth of Congressional congratulations signals the demise of the Republican Party. The shame is best summed up by Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham.
Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham each just won additional six-year Senate terms. They, without any threat to their “re-election” prospects, could have acknowledged reality. They should have supported American democracy, congratulated the president-elect, and put an end to the nonsense of Trump’s reality denial. They did not.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell stood in front of the nation and in one breath celebrated the success of Republicans who won election to the House and Senate, in the same election won by Joe Biden. In the next breath he said: “Let’s not have any lectures about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results.”
Lindsey Graham’s public statement was: President Trump should not concede, “If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never by another Republican president elected again.”
Perhaps the many former Republicans who made up the “Never Trump” opposition will form a third party. Regardless of what they do, the Republican Party, as we have known it, is gone; replaced by Trumpism. This is tragic for American democracy.