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Trump & Biden, 1st TV debate, 2020. Photo: Patrick Semansky/cropped from original/licensed under CC4.0, linked at bottom of article

Trump & Biden, 1st TV debate, 2020. Photo: Patrick Semansky/cropped from original/licensed under CC4.0, linked at bottom of article

Trump’s outrageous power grab is entirely predictable and threatens to plunge the US into a dystopian political meltdown, suggests Sean Ledwith

Trump’s unjustified but entirely predictable claim of victory in the US election threatens to plunge the country into weeks of constitutional turmoil and political meltdown. Even before key battleground states had declared, the President appeared in the White House this morning and, without a shred of evidence, suggested electoral fraud by the Democrats was denying him a second term: 

We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.

The constitutional reality that counting votes is entirely a matter for state authorities and can take days if necessary is of no interest to a man who, at every turn, has upturned the traditional rule of establishment politics in the US.

Nobody can say they are surprised by Trump’s outrageous power grab. For months he has been deliberately creating doubt and suspicion about the electoral process in a desperate bid to avoid facing the consequences of his calamitous handling of the pandemic.

Throughout the summer and autumn, as he has fallen decisively behind Biden in the polls, Trump has accused the Democrats and state administrators of fabricating postal voting forms and other forms of unlikely malpractice. In October, he gratuitously claimed electoral chicanery in Ohio arranged for postal ballots to be incorrectly sent out: A subsequent FBI investigation uncovered no evidence of this whatever.

Breaking News: 50,000 OHIO VOTERS getting WRONG ABSENTEE BALLOTS. Out of control. A Rigged Election!!!

Repeat of 2000?

 Of course, Trump’s career-long modus operandi of truthful hyperbole was never going to let the facts stand in the way of another term in the White House. Unfortunately, his egregious strategy throughout this campaign of throwing enough shade at the American public to utilise other institutions of the US state may yet come to pass.

Only last week, he fast-tracked the appointment of right-wing judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court with this scenario at the forefront of his mind. Trump is clearly looking for a re-run of the massively contentious 2000 election in which the Democrats won the popular vote but disputes over the count in Florida allowed the Republicans to steal the election in the Supreme Court.

Trump now has a 6-3 right wing majority on the court and undoubtedly expects Barrett and his other two appointees to bring home the bacon.This is why he defied constitutional convention by railroading her appointment so close to a presidential election when tradition dictated that such a crucial  decision should have been delayed until later in the year.

Failure of centrism

Democrat optimism based on the polls faded throughout last night in what started to look like a nightmarish repeat of his shock win four years ago. Trump’s big rallies in battleground states such as Pennsylvania. Michigan and Ohio over the past week were wholly indefensible from a medical perspective but clearly fired up his Republican base at the decisive moment.

In contrast, the Democrats have some serious explaining to do after selecting a candidate who is synonymous with the Clinton-Obama policies of recent decades that have created unprecedented economic and racial inequality in the US. Polls before the vote indicated most Democrat voters had minimal enthusiasm for Biden and were primarily voting against Trump.

The failure of the Democrat establishment to decisively stop Trump for the second consecutive election will rightly raise the question of why Bernie Sanders was denied the opportunity by the party hierarchy to mobilise working class support in an uncompromising manner.

Millions of Americans experiencing profound shock today will need to take to the streets to demand the outcome of the electoral uncertainty is not decided in the courts but by the authentic will of the people.

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Sean Ledwith

Sean Ledwith

Sean Ledwith is a Counterfire member and Lecturer in History at York College, where he is also UCU branch secretary. Sean is also a regular contributor to Marx and Philosophy Review of Books and Culture Matters

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