The republic stands before a test – a test of its constitution, norms and institutions; and most fundamentally of its ability to hold together as a people and polity. It may well prove at least as large as or larger than the challenges of 1929, 1968, 1974 or 2000; the largest, even, since the Civil War and the years immediately after.
Trump is not willing to let go his ego, whatever the consequences. He continues to insist that he is the rightful winner of Elections 2020. Therefore, he pursues little interest in conceding. Is this not just a product of his mendacious and self-pitying character – Perhaps, also the raw personal interest?
And when Trump ceases to become president, he will obviously lose his legal immunity….then suddenly, is required to face his creditors in a barrage of lawsuits, now waiting to be filed in the Courts.
Even a scenario in which it is clear that he has lost beyond hope of legal overturn, and senior Republicans are prevailing on him to concede, it is far from certain that Trump will do this willingly.
If he does not, Americans shall be in for a Little Rock and Roll, compounded by the vagaries of Corona virus ‘Winter-Strain’. And in case the waters have been muddied and results delayed by the legal challenges, as 8 December draws near, it is possible that the president will lean on Republican-led state legislatures in states where Biden has won to appoint pro-Trump electors willing to defy the (unconfirmed, or supposedly fraudulent) popular vote.
In states with Democratic governors but Republican legislators there could even be rival slates of electors going into the vote on 14 December. The certification on 6 January then lies in the hands of Congress; that the Democrats seemed set to win the Senate and hold the House of Representatives bodes well for Biden in this regard.
Should Congress be deadlocked and unable to produce a result, by default Nancy Pelosi, as House speaker, will be inaugurated as acting president on 20 January.
It could get very dark for American democracy in the coming weeks. Think clashes on the streets, violent threats to legislators and officials, perhaps even talk of the union breaking apart.
Trump’s most extreme supporters have repeatedly shown themselves willing to resort to violence; and the president has encouraged them, such as when during the first televised presidential debate he told the far-right Proud Boys to “stand by”.
Last month the FBI announced the arrests of eight men who had been planning to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor of Michigan and the subject of Trump’s attacks and Twitter calls to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN”.
The republic, then, stands before a test – a test of its constitution, norms and institutions; and most fundamentally of its ability to hold together as a people and polity. It may well prove at least as large as or larger than the challenges of 1929, 1968, 1974 or 2000; the largest, even, since the Civil War and the years immediately after.
First of all, it concerns how the US gets through the coming weeks. Can Trump win by throwing out legitimate Biden votes or by decoupling the electoral-college from the popular vote? And if not, can Biden project the leadership and authority needed to push Trump’s theatrics towards the margins and lay the groundwork for the transition?
Let’s welcome Nancy Pelosi into limelight. But, wait…before that, allow the fog to recede in Washington DC!