On the one hand, there’s no obligation anywhere for Trump to concede — not constitutional, not ethical, and certainly not out of self-interest. On the other, it’s genuinely inconvenient — and worse — for Democrats, particularly Uncle Joe.
So what’s up? What should happen right now, and how much should the rest of us care?
Traditionally, the handoff of executive power from one administration to the next — the Transition — takes far more time than there actually is. Presidents get a very short time to accomplish things during their tenure, and productivity during the first hundred days is crucial. Unfortunately for Biden, the GSA’s refusal to recognize him as President-Elect will delay the process. As such, it’s perfectly reasonable for any citizen hoping for government action (a second COVID relief package, for example) to be irritated by Trump’s stubborn refusal to bow to what now appears to be an inevitable Electoral College defeat. It’s also creating a perfect wedge issue that the Democratic Party will eagerly exploit during the upcoming midterm elections (They just keep getting earlier every year, don’t they?)
Conversely, the Republicans, quite rightly fearing the power of Democratic control of the House and Oval Office facing a bare G.O.P. majority in the Senate (if in fact they can hold it, a doubtful proposition), are facing the possibility of a massive upcoming unfunded expenditure, the creation of programs contrary to their ideology, and action on issues like gun control, the War On Drugs, healthcare, a national minimum wage, and so on. Taxes are about to go way up and so are expenditures, and we’re likely to see inflation on a scale not witnessed for generations.
“…This isn’t about fairness. It’s about perception — and fear. The key to understanding the Republican mentality in this (not to mention the reasons 75+ million voters opposed Biden) is to first understand this fear…”
To be fair, we’d see the tax hikes and inflation under Republicans too, but this isn’t about fairness. It’s about perception — and fear. The key to understanding the Republican mentality in this (not to mention the reasons 75+ million voters opposed Biden) is to first understand this fear, which is not (as some pundits would have us believe) of equality and justice and improvements in our lives but instead of the consequences of ill-considered drastic, sudden, and inevitably chaotic change undertaken by people with the very best of intentions but no respect for complexity. One prime example of this is the phrase “Common Sense Gun Control” — a mythological creature that only exists in the minds of crusaders with so much justified moral outrage it leaves no room to consider the consequences.
As well, Republicans remember well those tactics used to delay Trump’s cabinet appointments and the subsequent impact on his administration’s first hundred days. It’s likely they’ll return the favor, at least insofar as they are able. With a minimum of effort, it isn’t unreasonable to think that they would achieve similar obstruction under the plausible guise of due process; it’s become almost traditional by now. And, given Trump’s personal history with respect to petty acts of revenge, one factor motivating him to delay Biden’s Transition must certainly be to aid in this obstruction.
Republicans would be foolish to oppose this; remember that they’re terrified of the inevitable (and to-them disastrous) policy initiatives and will grasp at any straw to delay until the Midterms. (Have I mentioned they’re getting earlier?) And Trump will be so easy to blame once he’s gone.
Because, in the proper perspective, it’s easy to see why he’s doing this. Yes, there’s a carefully constructed yet improbable scenario wherein competing slates of electors are sent by certain states, or the House rejects the count, and so on; we may in fact see some of that, but given the states in question we’re unlikely to see enough to reverse the evident results of the election. (There’s a very slim chance that either Pennsylvania or Georgia will be contested, and for him to win he’d need both — plus one more state — to be not merely contested but decided in his favor.) Nevertheless, for as long as the legal fight continues, the Trump Campaign can send out requests for funds and reasonably expect to get some return.
Trump’s after your money.
I can’t unequivocally state that his donors won’t be getting value for their money, if not necessarily what they think they’re buying. Some will, inevitably, go to pay for legal challenges in the half-dozen states where recounts and lawsuits are presently underway. These are highly unlikely at this point to influence election results, but they’re extremely likely to annoy Democrats while providing a quasi-reasonable justification for the GSA to refuse to acknowledge Biden’s status as President-Elect until it’s actually certified in law.
(Having said that: I’m not donating to Trump, and neither should you. If you’ve got spare cash lying around that you want to give to a good cause, might I recommend for your consideration The Not Fake News? God knows I could use a coffee right now; I’ve been researching this article for two weeks and then writing all bloody night. -Editor)