Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Mark Wignall | US election nightmare coming to an end

Published:Sunday | November 8, 2020 | 12:12 AM
AP
President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the election in the briefing room of the White House on Thursday, November 5, 2020, in Washington.
AP President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the election in the briefing room of the White House on Thursday, November 5, 2020, in Washington.

At the time I am writing this column, Thursday night at 11 p.m., the votes coming in from Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina have not yet been fully counted. In an election where voter turnout has hit records and mail-in ballots reached stratospheric levels, Joe Biden has 253 electoral college votes, and Trump is at 213.

As Biden closes in and Trump flails and continues in his expected lying, many people are seeing his response as standard Trump, the last stirrings of a man who wasn’t quite aware of what it meant to be the US president.

A little over one month ago, more than 100 senior mental-health experts went on video record to declare that Donald Trump was much too psychologically dangerous and mentally unfit to qualify for the presidency or for candidacy for re-election.

Many people in America and in the global community who are not mental-health experts had, since Trump made that descent down the escalator in his Trump Tower in 2015 to announce his candidacy for president, thought it was a joke. If only it was in reality.

In following the many missteps of this badly disordered man as president, those ordinary people immediately saw the danger that Trump was posing to democracy and to the American people. And, by extension, global stability.

According to an article from news website Raw Story, a question was asked: “What’s wrong with 68 million Americans? Mental-health experts say Trump’s mental condition infected 48 per cent of the electorate.”

Over at least the last two years of me questioning those supporting Trump, I have observed what many mental-health experts have. His supporters – white, brown, black, Hispanic – seem to lose their personalities like religious extremists and, in their own minds, become him, or at least an echo chamber for his vileness and cruelty.

Among his supporters, the most honest are the alleged racists. Those sets of people have been so all their lives, and while waiting on a political messiah of sorts to represent them, their dreams were fulfilled when he came down that escalator in 2015.

Now that the nightmare of the Trump presidency is on the cusp of being over, Trump, being true to the nature of a man who wanted to be a king, and a mad one at that, is unleashing as much chaos and confusion into his exit as he possibly can.

Seriously now, are there any sane persons left who didn’t see this coming? America will be put through the wringer between now and January when Trump will demit the office of the president a sore, whiny loser.

A crazy Roman emperor, Caligula (37-41 AD), was fond of a phrase, and he repeated it often: Remember that I have the right to do anything to anybody.”

Reminds you of anyone?

BAD POLLS AND SLOW COUNTS

On a closely connected matter, what was it with these state polls? Many polls were showing Biden up fairly safely in Florida, and in various Senate seats, it was almost a surety that the Democrats would not have too hard a task in flipping those to ensure a majority for the Democratic Party.

Florida went for Trump again, and if the Senate ends up being again in the hands of that disgusting lawmaker Mitch McConnell, a Biden presidency is going to be a living hell for at least the first two years.

If Biden wants to succeed, he will have to revert to any kind of friendship and bipartisan closeness that he may have stored up for the Grim Reaper.

Based on the poor quality of state polls conducted in the days leading up to the elections in November 2016 and those in 2020, there are some political pundits saying that polls were the big losers alongside President Trump.

That, of course, is now water under the bridge as Democrats are expecting presidential wins in what was once a reliably red state named Arizona. They are also expecting to find redemption in Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

On the Senate race, polls were consistently reminding us that Maine Senator Susan Collins would be blown away by her challenger, Sara Gideon. Instead, Collins won by a substantial margin. Polls were also badly off in signalling that Democratic House candidates would at the very least hold on to the numbers that they had amassed in the blue wave of 2018. That did not happen.

If polls were correct, Michigan and Wisconsin would have easily handed Biden wins in those states by eight points as a romp and not end up in a nail-biting, nerve-rattling finish.

TRUMP’S SURROGATES AND VIOLENCE

Election watchers were literally on the edge mentally as they waited out the presidential vote count on election night, Wednesday, and Thursday. As mail-in ballots were counted, Trump and his crazies were out and about spreading their dangerous talk and caring little about how it was assimilated by their followers.

“We think there’s going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence, so much proof, and it’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land,” said Trump on Thursday as he once again opened his mouth on another baseless claim.

One of his ‘here-again-there-again’ surrogates, Steve Bannon, called for violence against some of those he deemed as not supporting Trump. Right-wing talk-show host Mark Levin joined the bandwagon and spewed more hate talk and violence.

As Trump plans for his possible departure, the owners of Twitter and Facebook must consider a plan to control and even lock down his feeds as his potential to sow more discord and violence grows.

It is obvious that after his presidency comes to a crashing end, he will ramp up the violent rhetoric on Twitter. This must not be allowed to continue because the reality is, America is overflowing with those people sitting and massaging their assault rifles and waiting for directions to pull the trigger.

Oh, for a good dose of boredom and normality in politics.

- Mark Wignall is a political and public-affairs analyst. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and mawigsr@gmail.com.