It has been almost two weeks since the presidential elections. Each morning since, I have resolved to awaken with grace and acceptance and resignation to the inevitability of our collective fate in a Donald Trump presidency. But then, in the quiet depths of my soul, I hear, “Never!”
Let me be clear. This has nothing to do with the fact that a Republican won. On coming to America and in my early baptism into American politics, I actually viewed myself as and was a registered Republican. I am not a rabid partisan of any political party — anywhere. I believe in speaking truth to power and in holding politicians accountable for the promises they make and their standards of decency. So no, how I feel has everything to do with the fact that it is Trump that won.
We cannot normalize Donald Trump, the vile circumstances that surrounded his campaign, or his pending administration. It is not like previous Republican administrations representing the Bushes or Ronald Reagan, and wishful thinking will not make it so. We need to be vigilant regarding what is happening and maintain the strongest possible resistance. We cannot just go back to our respective bubbles, posting about dinners and cats and cute babies, while atrocities committed upon our citizens in the name of racial and religious beliefs are rampant. I cannot. And neither should you. We may have committed electoral suicide on Nov. 8, but the spirit of America is not yet dead.
Trump may have won the presidency by our archaic Electoral College, but he did not win the popular vote. At the time of writing, as ballots are finalized, Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote victory is unprecedented with margins that are still growing. The Cook Political Report indicates that Clinton’s winning margins now exceed that of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Their frequently updated spreadsheets on the electoral race now put Clinton ahead by 1.16 million votes.
Combined with the fact that Trump won the presidency with the support of only 25.5 percent of Americans, it is unsurprising that we find ourselves now in the political dogfight of our lifetime. Those who felt disenfranchised and apathetic toward making a choice between “the two evils” Clinton and Trump represented — those who didn’t vote at all or made a “protest vote” — are slowly grasping that the presidential election was not a reality show unfolding on the national stage from which they could disconnect and remain unaffected. It may well be too late, but nationwide anti-Trump protests across the country are now reflecting the collective majority’s “Not My President” sentiments.
Trump apologists who claim to distinguish the message from the messenger are in for a very rude awakening. Trump is the messenger, delivering his own message. He has promised to build a wall designed to keep illegal Mexicans out of America. We should believe him. What we should also think about, however, is whether one day that same wall, intended to keep Mexicans out, could not also be used to keep Americans in! The tables always turn.
When we have a potential president — a demagogue — suspected in this entire election cycle of colluding with Russia, our greatest political adversary with a hard-on for our demise, why should we trust Trump as Commander-in-Chief, should that adversary seek to assist him and/or his minions in the fascist takeover of America? Before 9/11 happened on American soil, such incidents seemed “foreign” to most Americans — just like fascism. Indeed, this potentially horrifying development in American politics could never be understated.
Those who insist that Trump is a buffoon, or somehow “not very smart,” do so at their peril. In doing so, they provide camouflage for someone who has already shown us very clearly who he is. Sometimes, I think we have forgotten where Trump fine-tuned his brand of vulgarity and deceitful showmanship and that he learned how to whip a crowd into a frenzy in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) arenas.
Indeed, “The Apprentice” was not Trump’s first or only reality-show endeavor that was all smoke and mirrors. No doubt, both paid off handsomely for him. However, we must not project onto Trump the qualities that we wish for in a president. Trump just took down, almost WWE-style, a gaggle of GOP primary contenders followed by the DNC Establishment contender, Hillary Clinton — even, perhaps, resorting to treason for the power grab. That’s what a demagogue does, not a fool.
Obama Is Still the President, but Time Is Running Out.
Donald Trump may have won the vote to become the president-elect. However, the U.S. Constitution sets out a specific hurdle that must now be passed for him to ascend to the presidency. That will not happen until Dec. 19, 2016, when the 538 members of the Electoral College meet in their respective states to vote for the president.
If you are feeling as motivated to contact these electors as I am, the first thing to know is that doing so is perfectly legal. Second, while there is no official procedure to follow, most electors are public officials, which means Google would be very helpful for contact information. Third, you could join the 4.5 million people, so far, who have signed the Change.org petition, which will be delivered to electors to appeal for a Hillary Clinton vote on Dec. 19.
Theoretically, these 538 electors are free to vote as their consciences dictate. The experts say it is a long shot that they would vote to install Clinton as the president, but “the experts” also predicted that Clinton would win the election — by a landslide. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have laws to compel electors to vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote. However, the inconsequential $500-$1,000 penalties that could be imposed if they do otherwise are constitutionally suspect. Moreover, the National Archives notes, no elector to date has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.
More importantly, according to Federalist Paper No. 68, it would entirely be within an elector’s constitutional right to reject Trump. The Electoral College was designed specifically for the kind of predicament in which America now finds itself — to stop a demagogue from becoming president. These 538 electors owe it to all Americans to take that responsibility seriously and deliberate on their choice in the manner required by the U.S. Constitution.
Despite all the transition posturing by the Trump team, Barack Obama is still our legitimate president. Trump is a threat to our national security at the highest level, and we can only hope President Obama understands what, “Not on my watch!” means.
What we’ve witnessed in our new president-elect are cringe-worthy behaviors that are not reflective of a decent human being, much less the “leader of the free world.” Say what you will about Clinton, if even 50 percent of the accusations thrown at her were true, she would be in jail. Surely, enough time, money, and Congressional and FBI resources have been thrown over the years into making that happen. Yet, Hillary still is a free woman. Whether Trump remains so is left to be seen.
The lawsuits and federal investigations against Trump prior to his election are fast disappearing—not necessarily because of Trump’s innocence, but more likely to reduce the number of his legal entanglements before he takes office. The civil suit against him alleging rape of 13-year-old “Katie Johnson” — which was dismissed in California in May 2016 for technical filing errors but refiled in New York in June 2016 — has again been dropped. Johnson failed to appear at a press conference on Nov. 2, 2016, citing threats to her life, and dropped the lawsuit again on Nov. 4, 2016 for the same reason. On Nov. 16, 2016, Trump’s attorneys dropped an unrelated lawsuit he was pursuing in Florida against Palm Beach County, in which he had complained about commercial air traffic over his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Trump has also now agreed to a $25 million settlement to end three separate cases of fraud that were pending against his defunct real estate seminar program, Trump University. The settlement includes a $1 million penalty paid to New York state for violating the state’s education laws by calling the program a “university” despite offering no degrees or traditional education. It was a major victory for the over 6,000 victims, some of whom will see full refunds up to $35,000 in life savings, invested to learn the secrets of Trump’s dealings and “success.” I’m not sure if they grasped that Trump did, in fact, teach them the exact secrets to his “success” — misrepresentation and scheming one’s way to the top.
As horrible as the details of these lawsuits have been and the still pending investigations into Trump’s foundation and potentially criminal behavior — which includes bribery of a public official, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is also an elector in Florida’s Electoral College — these lawsuits pale in comparison to Trump’s behavior and connections to potentially subversive operatives, which could be construed as espionage or treason. His willing disregard for American intelligence in favor of Russian collusion throughout the election cycle could have catastrophic implications for our national security. Some believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin sees in Trump a “useful fool” — spy parlance for someone who is not completely aware of what is going on or the full implications of his actions. But, in the final analysis, does that really matter? Ultimately, we have to treat Trump like he knows exactly what he is doing. To do otherwise would be folly!
However he does it through the weight of his office and resources, Obama has exactly one month to provide the Electoral College with the information they need to make a really informed vote of conscience, and exactly two months before the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 to present the hard evidence that Trump is now unfit — criminally — to become our next president. Our national security should still be his highest priority, and that may be his ultimate legacy of service to the American people.
“I’m going to be constrained in what I do with all of you until I am again a private citizen,” Obama said recently, even as White House aides indicate that he will likely refrain from criticism of Trump now because of his belief in the courteous and dignified transfer of power. These are not ordinary times, however. Obama has not been a “lame duck” his entire presidency. Now is not the time to start.