Don’t shoot the messenger but Donald Trump has lost his bid for a second term as president. He doesn’t have enough votes in the Electoral College and that is not likely to change. Whether the election was fair or not is for others to try and prove.
Trump’s team isn’t having much success in the courts or elsewhere trying to overturn the results. For now, the angry rhetoric and personal insults are only serving to create a serious split within the Republican Party at a time they can ill afford it. Come Jan. 5 and the Georgia senatorial runoffs and Republicans could be the minority party in Washington.
I have been around politics and politicians most of my adult life but I am having a hard time understanding the logic of those threatening to sit out the senatorial runoffs in Georgia because they questioned the validity of the presidential election. I am sure Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff would encourage them to do so. Their election would ensure Democrats’ control of the Senate, along with the House of Representatives and the White House.
The late American humorist Will Rogers once said he was not a member of any organized political party. He was a Democrat. He might have a different opinion were he around today to witness a Republican president referring to Republican Brian Kemp as “the hapless Governor of Georgia,” Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan as a “RINO Never Trumper” and “too dumb or corrupt to recognize massive evidence of fraud in Georgia” and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as an “enemy of the people.”
And then there is Raffensperger’ s response to Trump, “My family voted for him, donated to him and are now being thrown under the bus by him.”
While U.S. Attorney General William Barr — a Republican — says the Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the vote, the Texas attorney general — a Republican — has filed a lawsuit against Georgia and three other states saying they “suffered from significant and unconstitutional irregularities.” The office of Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr — a Republican — issued a statement saying, “With all due respect, the Texas attorney general is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia.”
I imagine Will Rogers is having a good chuckle wherever he is these days and wishing he had the opportunity to offer his unique perspectives on this political food fight.
By the way, this is not the first presidential election that was close and controversial. In 1876, Samuel Tilden, the Democratic nominee for the presidency, won the popular vote over Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, but lost in the Electoral College after three states reported two sets of returns.
An Elections Commission made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats determined all the contested votes in favor of Hayes, voting strictly along party lines. And they didn’t even need a Dominion voting machine to reach their conclusion. Tilden gamely accepted the decision to avoid potential violence.
In 1960, Republican Richard Nixon got hosed after the appearance of suspicious last-minute votes in Chicago and lost by a razor-thin margin to Democrat John F. Kennedy. Nixon went against the wishes of some in his party by not contesting the results and gracefully conceded. He wasn’t quite as gracious when he lost the California gubernatorial race two years later but that’s a story for another day.
Of course, this was in a time when Americans put their country before partisan politics. Those days are gone, thanks in large part to the advent of social media and those who use it to threaten public officials — anonymously, of course.
These despicable scumbags are today’s version of yesterday’s obscene phone callers. They don’t have the guts to put their names behind their big talk.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has had to have police protection for himself and his family after such threats. So have some of his staffers as well as poll workers. Kill someone because you don’t like the way the election turned out? Seriously? And we call ourselves a civilized society? This sounds more like the Taliban.
While I’m not thrilled at the prospects of a left-leaning government in Washington, life goes on. As a wise man has reminded me, the sun will still rise in the east, the earth will still revolve around the sun and God is still good. Besides, we survived four years of Jimmy Carter. We can survive this, too.
•Dick Yarbrough is a four-time winner of the Best Humor Column by the Georgia Press Association. Reach him at email@example.com or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.