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There has never been an election in the United States like this one.
Donald Trump continues to insist that the election was stolen and that he is the rightful winner, even though his opponent Joe Biden has 6-7 million votes more than Trump does and even though Biden will register 306 votes in the Electoral College today, the same as Trump called “a landslide” when he won in 2016. In every presidential election in recent memory, the loser conceded defeat before the Electoral College met. Not Trump. He vows to continue his fight. Some commentators think that he is “fighting” because he is collecting millions of dollars from small donors, which he may use to pay his legal fees after leaving the White House or to pay off bank loans.
About three-quarters of Trump voters believe what he says, despite the Trump campaign’s failure to win in any consequential court, despite 50 losses in state courts, and two rejections by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Among his supporters are people prone to violence. James Hohmann writes in the Washington Post that the Michigan state capitol was locked down to protect the members of the state’s Electoral College.
Michigan’s 16 electors will convene at 2 p.m. Eastern inside a heavily guarded state capitol in Lansing to cast their ballots for Joe Biden to become president and Kamala Harris to become vice president.
A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) said in a statement overnight that the entire capitol complex will be closed to the public based on “recommendations from law enforcement” amid “credible threats of violence.” Police will escort each of the electors from their cars amid what’s expected to be a large “Stop the Steal” protest outside.
This certainly sounds like the prudent call, but it is nevertheless lamentable that the closures – combined with coronavirus precautions – will strip some of the pomp and circumstance from a sacred American tradition that is typically pro forma.
Ugly events this weekend – from Washington, D.C., to Washington state and Minnesota to Kentucky – showed that violence is not hypothetical. This is an especially dangerous development in a democracy that depends upon losers accepting the results of free and fair elections.
Police in Olympia, Wash., arrested an armed right-wing protester and charged him with shooting a counterdemonstrator during protests on Saturday night.
In the nation’s capital, at least four people were stabbed, including someone who is now in critical condition, and 33 more were arrested, after rallies supporting President Trump descended into chaos fueled by white nationalists. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham estimates that as many as 700 Proud Boys and their confederates roamed downtown streets looking to start fights, clashing with about 200 anti-Trump protesters.
Many photographs show the Proud Boys carrying Confederate flags. If they want to secede from the Union, let them go. It is never too late.
Are they Confederates or fascists or both?
Can Trump be impeached retroactively for betraying his oath of office? For attacking the Constitution? For sedition?