‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE THE ELECTION, AND …

This is the night before the U.S. election. Unless you figure you can’t lose – or unless you figure you can’t win – you have to have two speeches ready for election night, a victory speech and a concession speech. I’ve been commissioned by both campaigns, the Trump campaign and the Biden campaign, to write both for each.

Normally I’d want to be gracious in all four cases. And Trump’s victory speech still could be. But given his claim that if he loses the election was rigged, I can’t see him going down graciously unless he does some walking back on that claim first. 

It would be out of character for Biden to be a sore loser, but he can hardly wish Trump the best when he’s been warning his supporters to expect even worse from a second term. It would also be out of character for Biden to be a sore winner. But how could he resist, at least as the first thing out of his mouth, “Donald Trump, you’re fired!”?

I’m not going to embarrass myself, as I did four years ago, by predicting with too much confidence that Trump will be defeated. And I don’t want to be accused of armchair awfulizing if he’s not. But I do want to comment on what I think this election means, both for the U.S. and for the rest of the world. What it means, I think, is this:

We don’t need an election to tell us there’s always a Hitler or a Mussolini or a Salvini waiting in the wings. But by telling us who they want, elections reveal what people want. All the people? No. Most of the people? No, because even if Trump wins in the Electoral College he won’t win the popular vote. But enough of the people for the rest of us to be worried that this is the direction America is heading. If Trump’s defeated, most Americans will be heaving a sigh of relief.

But how bad could it get if he’s reelected? One of the first priorities in Germany was the Nazification of the courts, the bureaucracy, and education. The courts and the bureaucracies are being politicized in the U.S., but education will have to be a much more hostile takeover. Schools and universities too are being politicized in America, but, as it happens, in the very opposite direction. So if Trump is reelected, it’ll be interesting to see who’ll win the war between Trump-ism and Woke-ism on campus. Let’s just hope that those of us currently in the Resistance against Woke-ism don’t end up regretting our having joined it. 

My wife and I are hosting a big election-watching party tomorrow night. Which, in these times of Covid, means we’re having two people over for dinner. Since the fall of Saigon I’ve been complaining that we’re no longer living in interesting times. I’ll be curious to know whether Wednesday morning marks the end of my whinging. 



Categories: Editorials, Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask

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5 replies

  1. The results of the election will not be known on election night. If Trump loses, and insists that it is the result of a rigged vote, he will simply stay in the White House as if the election had not happened. Then either Trump or Biden will be the commander-in-chief of the US military. If Biden assumes that he is the commander-in-chief he will tell the Marines to remove Trump from the White House. If the Marines obey Biden and remove the Trump family, the first thing Biden can say is “Donald, you are under arrest.” What follows after that will be fun to watch.

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  2. No, the C-in-C is the person who is sworn in as President on Inauguration Day in January, and no other. Up to that date, the C-in-C is the incumbent President, and no other, whether he has met defeat or victory when the Electoral College voted. When the fun starts is the day after tomorrow if Trump, clearly heading for defeat as the late results start to come in, should begin machinations to prevent Mr Biden from being sworn in.

    I do not believe the military will be involved in any way, except as the aircrew of the plane that carries Mr. Trump back to his private life, one step ahead of N .Y. State prosecutors, perhaps. If not sworn in as President, and he can’t be, without an Electoral College victory, he will be removed from the White House as a common private-citizen trespasser by the local police the moment that his (and VP Pence’s) term expires. And it expires on Inauguration Day, even if no one else can be sworn. The Speaker of the House would take over until a President can be named, e.g., by vote in the House, which has happened more than once. And if not her, the law provides a list down the succession. No matter what Trump does, he can’t extend his term unless he is sworn in again by the Chief Justice.

    The Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is not going to spend the rest of his life in Leavenworth Federal Prison from using his soldiers unlawfully to keep Trump in power against the Constitution.

    This doesn’t mean there won’t be rioting, arson, shootings, pipeline blockades, land occupations, and out-of-season fishing by free-lance protestors no matter who wins. But there won’t be a coup and there will not be soldiers illegally involved in the peaceful succession. Marines don’t evict trespassers.

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  3. To quote your writing: “Almost everything we believe is ultimately attributable to a very few people making some observations, a few more drawing inferences from those observations, a few more making inferences from those inferences, and so on. The further up the ladder we go the more our confidence hangs on the confidence we have, sight unseen, in the observations made and inferences drawn at every rung below. Pearls in, pearls out. Garbage in, garbage out.”

    Your opinion of Trump might seem like Pearls to you. Seems a bit more like garbage to me.

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    • I feel for the man in a way. The story of his defeat (maybe?) is the pandemic, the American experience of which is claimed to highlight his inability to lead and unite, and further that the death toll is all on him for various sins of omission and commission. “Look at Europe”, went the refrain. “Thanks to empathetic leadership that respects the science, they’re in great shape while America goes down the tubes due to Trump.” But now Europe is buckling under their second wave, at least the parts of Europe that detested Sweden the first time around. America doesn’t look so bad by comparison with enlightened socialist Europe, all of a sudden. Turns out Europeans don’t like being chivvied and scolded by their governments any more than Americans do. If the election had been a month from now, the President would be back to leading in the polls and cruising to re-election by then…for better or for worse. Nothing that mere mortals threw at him stuck. This did. Maybe. But only because the timing was bad luck.

      The virus is going to do its thing, until it no longer does. Herd immunity may be heartless and a taboo as a deliberate policy but that’s what ends up happening, sooner or later. Try to stay away from it, — give mask non-wearers a wide berth—if you’re re old or vulnerable, and hope you get your turn for the vaccine in time. There isn’t really anything else that public health or the national leadership can do that we aren’t doing already. Lockdown again will kill us. Americans know that. “Live free or die” is not just empty words.

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      • I was living in Arizona when the lockdowns started. The Governors of each state were clearly in charge of the Covid response for their state. By May 1, when we returned to Canada, there were as many different Covid ‘rules’ as there were states and municipalities to drive through on the trip home.

        So yes, President Trump will be blamed for the situation in the United States. When it comes to pointing a finger at the politicians who are responsible for the collateral damage from lockdowns though, the blame rests on the shoulders of the many who didn’t give a moment’s thought to consequences:

        “It’s useful if you have a theory to think through the worst possible consequences of its application, right? It’s a good antidote to ideological possession. It’s like, well, just for a minute, imagine that your theory could go spectacularly wrong. What would that look like?” – Jordan Peterson –

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