- Views & Opinions
When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Republicans sought to undermine his presidency by purveying the falsehood that he’s not a U.S. citizen. Donald Trump was a prominent promoter of the lie, the face of the so-called “birther” movement.
So maybe it’s karma that he’ll begin his own presidency under a real taint of illegitimacy — one that will cling like cellophane over his term as tightly as his egregious conflicts of interest already under scrutiny.
Although recounts are to be held in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, as of Nov. 29, Trump lost the popular vote by more than 2.3 million ballots. To save face, he’s stomping his proverbial feet, making bizarre, baseless claims that he lost 3 million votes due to illegal residents gaining access to the polls. Thus, history will remember him not only as one of the losingest winners in history but as the whiniest.
Trump certainly cannot lay claim to a mandate, even though he’s hiring controversial advisers and ignoring conflict-of-interest rules as though he’d been elevated above both the will of the people and the law. He’s forgotten — or perhaps he never absorbed the fact — that the majority of people favored Clinton’s policies over his vague, chameleon musings.
Only 58 percent of registered voters cast ballots and 54 percent of them rejected Trump. Meanwhile, Clinton won more votes than any presidential contender ever.
Trump’s bizarre claim of an electoral landslide is yet another delusion. John J. Pitney, an author and professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, told the Los Angeles Times that Trump resides on the lower end of the electoral vote scale.
In addition to the recount started by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Trump’s opponents are waging online campaigns to convince Electoral College voters to honor the will of the people and vote for Clinton. More than 4.6 million people have signed a petition to that effect on Change.org.
Although some electors are not legally bound to vote for the candidate who won their states, there’s virtually no chance enough of them would vote for Clinton to hand her a victory. Even if they did, it’s inconceivable that the GOP-controlled House of Representatives would accept such a result on Jan. 6, 2017.
The prospect of a reounct or persuading the Electoral College to alter the election outcome is fantasy, something to help progressives get through the horrors of what happened on Election Day.
Meanwhile, progressives are pouring fears and sorrows into protests against Trump’s presidency. Peaceful marches, which began the day after the election, have continued on a smaller scale. Helping to fuel them now is horror over Trump’s hard-right choices for leadership roles in his administration.
Some of the appointments are so right-wing the editor of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer praised them in an online editorial. His truth-telling is frightening: “Honestly, I didn’t even expect this to all come together so beautifully. It’s like we’re going to get absolutely everything we wanted. Basically, we are looking at a Daily Stormer Dream Team in the Trump administration.”
As if that weren’t bad enough, no president has taken office with the baggage Trump carries, particularly his globe-sprawling, complex business affairs that present endless conflicts of interest.
For instance, through his Byzantine partnerships and shell companies, the president-elect owes huge sums of money to the state-owned Bank of China and Russian investors close to Vladimir Putin, according to CBS and the LA Times respectively.
Add in the temperament of a 3-year-old boy and his record of maligning and lying and taking advantage and our guess is that, by Inauguration Day, the sense of buyer’s remorse permeating the nation will be thicker than winter smog in Beijing (where the leaders understand climate change).
With doubts about his legitimacy, the ongoing protests, the rejoicing of neo-Nazis and the ethical baggage of his businesses, the next few months could prove every bit as incendiary as the 2016 campaign.
Remember, Trump doesn’t like it when he doesn’t get his way. Like the campaign, all of this will make for great TV — as American democracy circles the drain.