Photo by the inevitable Gage Skidmore, God love him. Creative Commons license 2.0.

The members of the Electoral College meet today to officially declare Donald Trump a one-term president who looks funny. This is usually a formality, but Trump has refused to concede or admit he lost. He's also straight-up threatened the electors who are doing their jobs, according to the law and democracy.

BLACK PEOPLE VOTING EVERYWHERE! MASS HYSTERIA! THIS ELECTION IS UNDER PROTEST!

Pretty much everything Trump tweeted was a lie: Dead kids didn't vote in the election, not even dead illegal immigrant children. Trump has not only failed to prove widespread voter fraud, but when his legal eagles were offered the chance to show all their “evidence" in Wisconsin, they didn't even try. The states have already certified their results. The electors aren't committing a crime when they collectively state that two plus two equals four or more specifically 306 equals President Biden. I've had enough of Trump's whiny, democracy-torching bullshit.

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But Trump plans to drag this out until he's dragged out of the White House. On “Fox & Friends," Stephen Miller and the very ill chia pet on his head declared that an “an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we are going to send those results to Congress." That's not how anything works. This isn't a hostile takeover of a corporation or even fantasy football. The popular vote winner of each state's presidential election receives the allotted electoral votes. That is the existing law. Enough with the attempted coups.

The anti-anti-Trump brigade — those who don't especially like Trump but hate liberals more — argue that Trump's refusal to accept the results of a free and fair election is no different from 2016's hashtag #Resistance movement. Yes, the so-called “Hamilton Electors" wanted to deny Trump the White House through the Electoral College, but Hillary Clinton, who conceded the morning after Election Day, had nothing to do with this. More importantly, she wasn't an incumbent president desperately clinging to power. The Hamilton Electors also didn't try to install a defeated Clinton as president but a moderate Republican “compromise" candidate, which is a classic Democrat move.

States tightened up laws against faithless electors after 2016 so instead of charging someone a measly $1,000 after the fact for a failed coup, the states can remove the faithless elector and replace them with someone who'll respect the will of the people, no matter how dumb. The Supreme Court upheld these laws in a unanimous ruling.

Trump's unhinged tweets and Miller's elector cosplay can't change the law or the results of the presidential race. However, they do promote the dangerous fiction that the election isn't settled. Trump tweeted after his (second) Supreme Court loss that “We have just begun to fight." His supporters, who exist in an alternate reality of Trump's own design, are heeding his call, and his incendiary rhetoric, which Republicans ignore and enable, has put a target on the electors' backs.

The New York Times reports:

In Michigan, Democratic electors have been promised police escorts from their cars into the State Capitol, where on Monday they will formally vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In Arizona, state officials are holding the vote at an undisclosed location for safety reasons, far from what is expected to be a heated hearing on election integrity issues that Republicans will conduct in the Statehouse.

Even in Delaware, the tiny, deeply Democratic home state of the president-elect, officials relocated their ceremony to a college gymnasium, a site considered to have better security and public health controls.

This is not normal.

Earlier today, Michigan Republican legislative leaders pulled state Rep. Gary Eisen from his committee assignments after he said during a radio interview that he "could not rule out the possibility of violence" from all those patriots who hate it when Democrats win elections.

From the Detroit Free Press:

[A] radio host asked Eisen to elaborate on his comments several times, saying what the lawmaker described sounded dangerous. When [the host] asked whether Eisen could ensure people would not get hurt, Eisen said no.

"No. I don't know. Because what we're doing today is uncharted. It hasn't been done. And it's not me who's doing it ... it's the Michigan Republican Party," Eisen said.

Tony Zammit, a spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, said Monday morning he is "unaware of what Rep. Gary Eisen is referring to."

Today is uncharted only because one "vain and selfish man" refuses to accept a much-deserved defeat. This election wasn't close. Biden won. As we wait anxiously to see if democracy prevails and violence doesn't break out, we are witnessing the behavior of a failed state.

Once upon a time, we'd shake our heads while reading about a wannabe despot who refused to accept the obvious results of an election. We'd react in horror to footage of the leader's thugs attacking citizens on city streets and intimidating any elected officials who dare oppose him. Trump has battered American democracy while Republican opportunists watch and shrug. His negligent handling of a pandemic has already cost the lives of almost 300,000 Americans, so he hardly cares if more people die as a result of his immeasurable pettiness.

[New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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