Though Trump is now grudgingly letting the presidential transition proceed, we must never, ever, forget the damage he and his allies inflicted on American democracy by attacking its very core — our ability to hold free and fair elections and transfer power peacefully. Tens of millions of Americans now believe something that is untrue — that our system is rigged. Who knows what that will mean in the long run?
The depths to which Trump and his legal team sank was manifested last Thursday when Giuliani and Sidney Powell held a news conference alleging, among other things, that software used to disadvantage Trump voters was created at the direction of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. It was insane.
As Jonah Goldberg, a conservative critic of Trumpism, wrote in thedispatch.com: “The G.O.P.’s social media account spewed sound bites from Powell and Giuliani out into the country like a fire hose attached to a sewage tank.” Fox carried the whole news conference live — uninterrupted — for virtually its entire 90 minutes.
Shame on all these people.
Sure, now Trump and many of his enablers are finally bowing to reality — but it is not because they’ve developed integrity. It is because they WERE STOPPED by all those people who had integrity and did the hard right things.
And “shame” is the right word for these people, because a sense of shame was lost these past four years and it needs to be re-established. Otherwise, what Trump and all his sycophants did gets normalized and permanently erodes confidence in our elections. That is how democracies die.
You can only hope that once they are out of power, Barr, Pompeo, Giuliani and all their compatriots will be stopped on the streets, in restaurants or at conferences and politely but firmly asked by everyday Americans: “How could you have stayed all-in when Trump was violating the deepest norms that bind us as a democracy?”
And if they are deaf to the message being sent from their fellow citizens, then let’s hope some will have to face an interrogation from their own children at the Thanksgiving table this year:
“Mom, Dad — did you really side with Trump when it was Trump versus the Constitution?”
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