A colleague of mine who lives overseas raised this question, “What is going on with the USA election?” Imagining that he knew little about it aside from a few headlines, I replied as follows:
“We have a lame duck, one-term president – Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 election by a margin of electoral votes (306-232) that he referred to as a “landslide” when he won the 2016 election by a comparable lead.
“By the way, in 2016 even though he won, he lost the popular vote by about three million votes. He lost this year by more than five million votes. And, yes, you can lose the popular vote and still win the electoral college vote in the United States. No, it’s not a real college like a university. But that’s a story for another time.
“Despite the fact that he overwhelmingly lost the November 3rd election, President Trump will not concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. In fact, he has charged election fraud without any evidence whatsoever. Thus far, no judge anywhere in the US will accept any of his unsubstantiated claims that the election was “stolen” from him.
“He has even asked for a hand recount of votes in Georgia, which is his right to do because he was defeated by a slim margin – about 14,000 votes. It’s gotten so dirty there that a top elected official in that state – the Republican secretary of state, has received death threats for stating that the hand count of votes is tracking towards Joe Biden as the victor in Georgia. Even his wife has received death threats on her cell phone.
“Why is Trump doing this? Some say it is to generate online donations to pay off his campaign debt, under the guise of helping to mount a defense against the election that he says was “rigged”. This is called “monetizing the presidency”, something that he and his family have done consistently for the last four years; that is, used his elected office for private financial gain.
“Donald Trump is sabotaging a transition, some have speculated because he plans to run again in 2024 and he cares more about thwarting the President-elect than he does our country.
“Because he is a sore loser who is incapable of accepting defeat and will not concede, he has denied President-elect Joe Biden and his team with essential and timely access to critical intelligence and pandemic planning information. A peaceful transition of power will allow the President-elect to get a head start in taking over the efficient and equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine nationwide.
“Well-respected presidential historians report that no president in US history has ever behaved in this manner. Not even remotely.
“Although the election outcome will stand and the incumbent will most certainly leave office on January 20th, he is using his final days to spin false narratives and conspiracy theories to poison the minds of millions of impressionable Americans who still stand by him.
“The departing president appears to be doing all that he can to undermine democracy, to the delight of our foreign adversaries, while the Covid-19 pandemic that he has repeatedly said would disappear, rages on.
“His legacy will be recorded as such and when he does finally leave he will do so without as much as a shred of dignity. Many millions will still revere him and denounce his successor as party to a coup d’état.
“I know this must seem confusing, my friend. What’s more, half the people who are reading my response to your question, if they made it this far, are not the least bit happy about what I’ve just told you. Of that I am certain.
“Nevertheless, to quote the President when asked about the rising pandemic death toll, “it is what it is”.
Andrew Malekoff is a New York State licensed clinical social worker.