Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday November 6, 2020
Trump’s Stunning News Conference
What the president of the United States did tonight wasn’t complicated but it was stunning, even after four long years of the politically extraordinary.
President Trump attacked democracy.
In his remarks tonight from the White House, Mr. Trump lied about the vote count, smeared his opponents and attempted to undermine the integrity of our electoral system.
“If you count the legal votes, I win,” he said, before ticking off a litany of baseless claims about ways his campaign had supposedly been cheated by his opponents, nonpartisan poll workers and a vast conspiracy of technology companies and big business.
But nothing is “rigged” or “stolen” or “illegal.” No one is “doing a lot of bad things.”
Donald Trump is simply losing.
And he’s apparently decided to try and take our system down with him.
Joe Biden has been cutting into Mr. Trump’s lead, or expanding his own, in three of the four states that will decide the next president: Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada. Notably, in the state where Mr. Trump appears to be making gains — Arizona — the president seems to take little issue with the vote count.
The votes that Mr. Trump calls “late” and “illegal” were postmarked by Election Day, making them valid. In Pennsylvania, the Republican-led state legislature wouldn’t allow poll workers to start counting mail ballots until Election Day. So now, they’re being counted.
Instead of letting the process play out, the president is calling on election officials to stop counting ballots, potentially disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of voters. As James Baker, the former secretary of state who led the Republican legal and political team during the Florida recount battle in 2000, told my colleague Peter Baker today: “That’s a very hard decision to defend in a democracy.”
There’s also a pragmatic question about the president’s allegations: If Democrats were going to rig an election, why didn’t they do a better job of it? After many Democrats all but predicted a landslide, the party has so far lost seats in the House and faces a steep path to take control of the Senate. Mr. Trump touted those Republican victories in his comments tonight.
On social media, his family members and allies have been calling for Republicans, like Senator Lindsey Graham, to support the president’s claims — even trying to make the issue an early litmus test for the 2024 campaign. (We haven’t even finished with 2020!) Of course, Republicans who back Mr. Trump could be throwing into question the validity of their own victories.
So with a few exceptions, they’ve largely returned to the position they often adopt with the president: silence. But it may become increasingly difficult to stay quiet. (New York Times)