Electoral Dysfunction

A Republic, if you can keep it.”

  • Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 popular vote by some seven-million ballots, is the only president in U.S. history to lose the popular vote twice. That’s more than a presidential asterisk, especially in the context of an undermined transition. It’s also a disconcerting and embarrassing reminder that American democracy continues to distance itself from “one man, one vote” ideal and dogma. Enough. Electoral dysfunction can no longer define America.
  • The Trump voter-fraud, legal effort has fared poorly. How poorly? The U.S. District judge—in this case, Judge Matthew Brann of the Philadelphia-based 3rd District—less-than-judiciously analogized the Trump team legal arguments to “Frankenstein’s Monster.” In more familiar legal language, he called out Team Trump for offering “speculative accusations”–as opposed to, uh, proof. BTW, Judge Brann is a Republican and a Federalist Society member.
  • It’s more than a narcissist’s ego that keeps Trump in a coup-like state. He knows that as an ex-president he’ll be vulnerable to a pending grand jury investigation—by the Manhattan district attorney (Cyrus Vance Jr.)–into Trump’s family business and its practices—and, oh yeah, those still-unreleased taxes.
  • Rudy (Giuliani) awakening: It’s been pondered before, but it still seems incredulous that the erstwhile “America’s Mayor” could farcically morph into Trump’s toady.
  • “I could think of no worse example for nations abroad, who for the first time were trying to put free electoral procedures into effect, than that of the United States wrangling over the results of our presidential election and even suggesting that the presidency itself could be stolen by thievery at the ballot box.” That was Richard Nixon referencing the 1960 election he lost to John F. Kennedy—and why he didn’t push for a recount.
  • Reality check: “When demagoguery and deceit become a national political movement, we Americans are in trouble; not just Democrats, but all of us.”–That was former Illinois governor and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, waxing all too prescient back in the day.
  • Nothing like doubling down on the new normal on the legacy-updating way out. Now we have the appointment of 33-year-old Federalist Society member Kathryn Kimball Mizelle—rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association for a lack of trial experience–to be a U.S. district judge in Tampa. She is President Donald Trump’s 227th nominee confirmed to the federal bench. She also represents a break with the 123-year tradition of not approving judicial nominees put forward by a departing president whose party lost the White House. SCOTUS Justice Amy Coney Barrett would likely approve.
  • Somehow, pushing for “conversion therapy”–that’s designed to change minors’ sexual identity and gender identity—is an extension of First Amendment rights, according to a divided, Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 2-1 majority opinion was joined by Judge Barbara Lagoa, the former Florida Supreme Court justice, who was appointed by President Trump.
  • That was then. “The people have spoken, and the election is over. We must accept this result and then look to the future.”–That was Donald Trump, squinting into the future, back in 2016 when he summarily opposed a recount in Wisconsin—a state he had won by less than 23,000 votes.
  • One of the problems resulting from a delayed transition is that official FBI background investigations for nominees’ security clearances can’t start. That has a ripple effect: Thousands of appointees can’t begin the confirmation process. The resultant delays could leave the incoming administration’s departments short-staffed and rudderless for months.
  • “Not designed to save the environment. It was designed to kill the American economy.” That was the misleader-in-chief–again–underscoring his take on the Paris climate accord—and why he formally withdrew the U.S. from it.
  • Joe Biden is president-elect, but more than 70 million Americans voted for Trump, the most vile, self-serving and dangerous person to ever hold the office of president. That’s beyond sobering; it’s scary.
  • Last Sunday was the 57th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The aftershocks continue.

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