Transition of Power
A new blog post by USRESIST Reporters on the transition of Presidential Power from the Trump to the Biden administration
Post # 2 Trump’s Enablers
By Sean Gray
November 19, 2020
Donald Trump has lost the 2020 presidential elections. His failure to acknowledge as much has no bearing on the outcome. Nor to date, have any of his frivolous and fast-failing legal challenges. The incoming Biden administration is already being hindered by the incumbent’s lack of cooperation. Trump’s insistence on claiming victory stolen by nonexistent voter fraud only serves to undermine public confidence in our elections. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, his political flunkies have faithfully parroted his dangerous rhetoric.
Trump’s failed running mate Mike Pence addressed a crowd of fawning supporters chanting ‘’four more years’’, to which Pence responded: ‘’that’s the plan.’’ It is hardly jaw-dropping as the outgoing Vice President has cosigned even the most heinous of Trump’s words and deeds during their time in office. Pence has previously stated that he is ‘’a Christian, conservative, and Republican, in that order.’’ It appears he has deliberately eschewed the honesty integral to the Judeo-Christian value system, omitted ‘’American’’ and committed wholeheartedly to Republican conservatism, cost be damned. That Pence mentioned a ‘’plan’’ is especially troubling in light of similar comments along the same lines by other members of the administration.
Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and the nation’s top diplomat played a similar tune when asked about the prospects of a smooth transition. With the world watching, Pompeo flippantly remarked that ‘’there would be a smooth transition – to a second Trump administration.’’ This the day after slapping sanctions on former Nicaraguan leaders for ‘’undermining democratic institutions’’. In the same press conference Pompeo bemoaned the ‘’disenfranchisement’’ of voters in Myannmar. The irony might be humorous if it didn’t portend something sinister. In a world where authoritarian regimes are rapidly growing in numbers and influence, the US is nominally the standard bearer for free and fair elections. Its chief diplomat just nodded in approval at a weak coup attempt.
Since Trump co-opted the GOP in 2016, Congressional Republicans have mostly stayed silent or towed his line. Few are actively echoing his claim of outright voter fraud, but enough of his allies are acting at his behest to escalate an already bad situation.
Boisterous sycophants in the House, Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz have both made the rounds on conservative media, and Twitter, insinuating malfeasance in vote counting has resulted in a victory stolen from their benevolent leader. Sen. Ted Cruz, he of degrees from law and public policy from Harvard and Princeton, has tweeted a steady stream of Trump-like blather about election fraud without actually committing to any specific accusation.
Most troubling of all is the news that broke Monday of a call between Senator Lindsey Graham and Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. The historically red state, which went blue for Biden, has been a favorite target for baseless conservative conspiracy theories. Raffensperger told the Washington Post Graham inquired about signature matching on mail-in ballots and mechanisms to toss out legally cast votes. The allegations merit further investigations, and felony charges for the South Carolina senator if they are substantiated. For his role in upholding the integrity of Georgia’s election, Raffensperger, a Republican, has received death threats. If Pence and Pompeo are to be taken at their word (and this administration has a habit of telegraphing their most illicit designs), in conjunction with Graham’s freelancing voter suppression, it is difficult to interpret the administration’s collective ploys as anything other than a soft coup attempt.
50% of Republicans believe the election was neither free nor fair. Trump’s voter fraud claims most assuredly have a hand in that troublingly high number. The inevitable result will be a deepening of the political chasm in the country. Worse, an untold number of Americans will view Biden as an illegitimate president, which will likely embolden some Congressional Republicans to obstruct him at every turn.
The Government Services Administration (GSA) is the Executive Branch agency which signs off on presidential transitions, which ordinarily would occur when a victor is declared. To date, GSA Director Emily Murphy, yet to sign off on the switch, delaying Biden’s access to federal resources and personnel necessary to hit the ground running the minute after noon on January 20th. Pathetically delaying the inevitable will only intensify partisan gridlock and political divide.
44 previous presidential transitions have occurred without issue. In one final middle finger to democratic norms, Donald Trump is breaking with this tradition as well. Seamless transitions from one lawfully elected leader to another is a hallmark of a democracy. Power grabs and false claims of rigged elections, are endemic of authoritarian regimes. Trump looks poised to go kicking and screaming all the way to Marine One. It’s truly disheartening that he won’t be alone.