On a hot July night in ancient Rome, (July 18, 64 AD to be exact) a fire started in the city’s waterfront that eventually devastated ten out of fourteen of the city’s districts, killing hundreds and leaving many thousands homeless. In the aftermath, the people of Rome blamed their Emperor, Nero, who was at the time safely ensconced in his summertime villa in the seaside town of Antium. Still, rumors arose that Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned. Nero, seeking to place the blame elsewhere, targeted the Christian minority as the official scapegoats. This started a three-centuries persecution of Christians in Rome, ending finally in 311 by edict of the Roman emperor Galerius.
In January of 2020, a dangerous new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 was introduced into the United States via air travel from China and Europe. Nearly a year later, 300,000 of our fellow citizens have succumbed to COVID-19. Today, we are enduring 3000 dead each day from this pandemic, equivalent to a 9/11 massacre daily.
Our President, Donald J Trump, downplayed this COVID-19 virus, suggesting that it was a “Democrat Hoax” (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-calls-coronavirus-democrats-new-hoax-n1145721).
Trump repeatedly stated, in public, that the coronavirus would just go away. He did next to nothing to address it on a national level. This forced governors of states hard hit early by viral outbreaks to bid against each other for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ventilators, and so on. There are embarrassing photos of nurses wearing trash bags, and reusing N95 face masks for days on end. We looked, in the spring of 2020, like a failed country.
Trump, of course, was lying about this from the get go. He admitted to journalist Bob Woodward that he knew the virus was deadly, even to children. Woodward has tapes of this; we’ve all heard them (unless you’re listening to Fox News). And what was Trump actually doing while his fellow Americans were dying? You guessed it, playing golf! Trump has made 285 daytime visits to his golf clubs since the inauguration, costing taxpayers $142 million for these trips. This year Trump has played golf 47 times. So, while too many Americans were in hospital ICU wards, struggling to breathe, facing a lonely death on a ventilator, Trump was PLAYING GOLF!
There was one group watching this intently, the American electorate. I’ve delineated in previous blog posts the stupid and ineffectual campaign Trump ran this year. Having won four years ago in the electoral college, aided by just a 70,000 vote spread over three battleground states, it wouldn’t take much to reverse Trump’s advantage. Former Vice President Joe Biden played it smart, campaigning out of his basement, or in small scale COVID-safe events. Biden let Trump destroy himself.
That Trump did, in magnificent fashion. Undercutting his own campaign professionals, Trump insulted every group he needed to win: women, people of color, immigrants, just take your pick. The result was, on November 3rd, to use the words of Navy Lieutenant Clarence Dickenson from the Midway movie, “We’re going to give them a shellacking.” Biden garnered 81 million votes whilst Trump got 73 million. The Electoral College spread was 306 for Biden versus 232 for Trump, almost a mirror image of the 2016 result, but in Biden’s favor. In other words, it was a shellacking!
Let the Whining Begin!
The election ended on Saturday, November 7th at 11:24 a.m. when all the Networks (including Fox News) called the election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The Conservative response was essentially this: “We were winning on election night. How is this possible?”
That’s easy to explain. The Democrats knew that the Republicans cannot win an election fairly, and would thus resort to voter suppression efforts, such as reducing the number of polling places in traditionally Democratic precincts, creating long delays at the polls, and so forth. Texas was especially egregious in voter suppression, having, for example, only one voter drop-off box for an entire large city.
That said, the Democratic plan was to encourage everybody to ask for an absentee or mail-in ballot (I voted in Florida by Absentee Ballot this year). In truth, this was also the most sensible thing to do during a pandemic. The result was actually no surprise for professional politicians savvy in how these things go, the absentee and mail-in ballots went heavily in favor to the Democrats, handing Biden an epic victory.
The Republican Party’s reaction has been tragically comic, led by President Trump and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani. Trump has been constantly rage-tweeting since the election. Here’s an example:
Rudy Giuliani has been comedy gold, at least for Saturday Night Live. Rudy has been staging a series of fake Hearings, basically a bunch of disappointed Republicans in a hotel conference rooms. In one hilarious outing in Michigan, he performed with Mellissa Carone, a clearly inebriated witness, who babbled on about nothing in particular. Apparently, nobody vetted Ms. Carone, who had recently pled guilty and served probation for sending unwanted sex videos to her lover’s ex-wife. Here’s a photograph of Rudy’s star witness (or should I say witless).
Another comedy icon on the Trump circuit is the dour-faced lawyer and conspiracy-monger Sidney Powell. Ms. Powell promised to “Release the Kracken” when she got to court (Hey, that’s Liam Neeson’s line from “Clash of the Titans,” he should sue!). Anyway, when Barrister Powell got to Court, there was a small problem – she had no evidence whatsoever. She was laughed out of court in Michigan and Georgia. In fact, it was so bad that the Trump Campaign disowned her. All of Trump’s lawsuits, save one, were quickly dismissed, many by Republican and Trump-appointed Judges. Here’s Powell in action recently.
When the courts won’t roll over and hand you the election, what’s left for Trump? Sedition, of course. Trump encouraged the right wing militias to take to the streets. One group, composed of pitiful losers called the Proud Boys, showed up in DC and tried to mix it up with the civilians there. Remember, none of these guys could get a woman to talk to them without swiping their credit card. Here’s a photograph of these weekend Cos-players showing their class and intelligence to the American public.
The most unsettling lawsuit was brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, basically suing the states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, claiming they violated the Constitution and diluted the impact of Texas votes. This went right to the Supreme Court, asking them to overturn the elections in those states and give the Presidency to Donald Trump. Now, Ken Paxton is under indictment for securities fraud (this is Texas, it might be political payback). Nonetheless, some speculated that Paxton may be looking for a Trump Pardon.
Even more disturbing is that 17 Attorneys General from Republican states joined this law suit as did 126 Republican members of Congress. One of the co-signers is my Florida Congressperson, Ken Bilirakis. I sent him an email and called him a “traitor.” Here’s Texas AG Ken Paxton.
These modern-day Benedict Arnolds didn’t get very far with the Supreme Court. All nine Justices dismissed the case with a curt reply:
The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of
complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of
the Constitution. Texas has not demonstrated a judicially
cognizable interest in the manner in which another State
conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
As I write this, December 14th, all states are convening their Electoral Colleges and certifying their votes. The last one today is the State of Hawaii, due to convene at 7 p.m. I’m hesitant to use the words “it’s over” because there’s always the possibility of a Trump coup attempt, a bogus state-of-emergency, or some Red state seceding from the Union between now and Inauguration Day, January 20th.
I don’t think anything like secession will happen since almost all of those Red states are beholding to the liberal Blue states. It goes like this: New York contributes much more to the Federal Government than it receives in return. That excess goes to prop up Red states like Alabama and Louisiana. Any secession funny business would result in quick bankruptcy for those states, and they know it.
Still, it’s pleasurable to watch the right-wing Fox News hosts cry “Foul,” and demand that the election get a do-over. It’s fun to watch conspiracy nuts like Alex Jones demoted to hollering over a bull horn at some pitiful Trump street fest. It’s delightful to see Twitter stamp “This claim is disputed” on all future Trump tweets.
These are Conservative tears. They’re more pleasurable than sex, Star Wars movies, Rickenbacker 12-string guitars, and butter pecan ice cream. Well, maybe not as pleasurable as SpaceX rocket launchings, I have standards.
The will of the people has spoken today. Biden has won. The Right Wing hate engine had some sand poured into it’s roller bearings; it’s starting to screech. That’s music to my ears!