Frankly, this is an easy conclusion. It is overwhelming likely that the first is correct: President Trump has lost the election, and the #1 reason was the four year strategy by the Axis of Unethical Conduct—the Democratic Party, the “resistance,” the mainstream news media, and more recently, the tech giants and social media platforms—to employ unconscionable, unethical means to accomplish that end.
If, by some miracle, the attempted theft fails, it will only be as a result of moral luck. The destructive and democracy-wrecking actions of the AUC are already completed. Their culpability is the same whatever the final election result is. This is why in criminal law an attempted crime often carries the same penalty as a completed crime. What the criminal did was just as wrong whether he or she was ultimately successful or not.
Before President Trump even took office, a full-on campaign to remove him by any means possible was underway, along with a similarly relentless effort to make it impossible for him to function as the nation’s leader. This continued with no respite from the 2016 election right through to the 2020 election. No President of the United States has ever been sabotaged and savaged in such a manner; indeed I am going to add the denial of this fact to the Ethics Alarms list of the Big Lies of the Resistance. It will be #10, right behind the lie that President Trump caused pandemic deaths in the U.S. (Andrew Cuomo definitely killed people, but not President Trump.) The lie: “Progressives treated President Trump no worse than conservatives treated President Obama.”
Big Lie #10 is different from the rest because it usually is used by ordinary citizens rather than Democratic Party officials, flacks and pundits; the reason is that the statement is so false that even Trump’s worst critics won’t go that far. Their alternative position is that he is so evil that he deserved to be abused. But I hear Big Lie #10 regularly from the social media Borg and my Trump Deranged friends and relatives when they are cornered and feel they have to deny what is literally undeniable. Big Lie #10 is a Jumbo: “Bias? What bias?”
The record of the effort to steal/rig/fix—choose your favorite word, but the objective was to make sure this President never had a chance to succeed, and if he somehow did succeed, that he would never get credit for it—the 2020 election is right here, tracked by the Ethics Alarms tag, 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, which I hereby retire after a wild four-year run. It took me twenty minutes to just scroll down through all of the posts that carry that tag; if I attempted to read them all, it would take weeks.
The first entry was here, when I announced and christened the Train Wreck, almost exactly four years ago, on November 13, 2016. In that post and three succeeding ones I highlighted four ugly examples of how the President-elect was being denigrated and undermined immediately, following the first post with this one, this one, and this one. I could not suspect that the efforts to demonize the newly-elected President of the United States would metastasize to the extent they did, with every late night TV show devoting large chunks of time every installment to insulting and denigrating him, with the vast majority of major newspaper columnists attacking him personally to the point of obsession, and all previous rules of decorum and official respect being not only suspended by the Democratic Party, but trashed, even to the point of elected officials calling the President a “motherfucker” in public without any penalty or reprimand, and the Speaker of the House making live theater out of tearing up his State of the Union message on TV.
Let me revisit that first 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck post, focusing on the then Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, saying in a official statement (now removed—if you are going to steal something, it is best to remove what evidence you can):
The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America. White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear – especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.
I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president.
I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear – fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear.
We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.
If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate…
This came from one of the top four leaders of the Democratic Party, with the silent assent of Barack Obama, and the not-so-silent assent of Hillary Clinton. This is the equivalent of kicking a runner in the groin right before the starter’s pistol sounds to begin a marathon. It is unfair. It is cheating. It It is, or has been un-American. Amazingly, the smear campaign got worse from there, and spread.
While the articles and essays under the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck cover individual episodes (but by no means all of them) in the AUC’s efforts to destroy the support of Americans for their own leader so as to ensure they could grab the reins of power as soon as possible, the basic formula employed can be seen in the Big Lies list I already alluded to, and the Presidential Impeachment and Removal Plans list, which is here. This list too requires an addition: the effort by the AUC to manipulate the 2020 election by forcing the use of a corruptible mail-in ballots system, refusing to report vigorously any news or occurrences that might be damaging to the Democratic ticket, attempting to suppress the President’s support through negative and false polls, perhaps engaging in widespread and illegal manipulation of voting totals, and trying to end the election before legitimate challenges to its results can be made.
The AUC prepared for this state of its efforts to remove the President by launching unjustified and unsubstantiated speculation about whether the President would refuse to leave office if defeated, thus giving the news media ammunition to characterize his campaign’s fair efforts to seek recounts and ensure that the election results are accurate as a symptom of Big Lie Big Lie #3: “Trump Is A Fascist/Hitler/Dictator/Monster.”
In this the AUC, especially the media, counts on the short memories of most of the public. Here is how the news media reported Hillary Clinton’s deliberation about whether to challenge the 2016 results. Of course, double standards and hypocrisy have been a core part of the attempted election theft.
And no, this is not politics as usual, or “hard-ball,” or any kind of defensible conduct in a democracy. Presidential leadership was my first field f scholarship, and one clear part of the office was that a new President instantly received the benefit his predecessor’s legacies, notably those of Lincoln and Washington. This girds and protects Presidents by making their lives and conduct before their election secondary to the qualities Americans want in their leaders, and imbue him with out of faith and trust in our system. Taking this away from a President is like removing a force field from a starship. Taking it away from a President before he even takes office is guarantees that the institution of the Presidency will not work, and if the Presidency can’t function, neither can our government.
We still don’t know whether the AUC successfully succeeded at last in its efforts to cripple democracy and our democratic institutions by savaging our elected leader for four years, or if, due to the transparency of the allied Trump foes’ ethical deficits, the immunity to the lies developed by much of the population, and the amazing resiliency and determination of President Trump himself—love him or hate him, you can’t deny that—this latest removal attempt failed like the rest. But even if it is determined that there were no significant or decisive election irregularities at all, this was a stolen election, and the theft was underway four long years ago.