Washington Examiner, a Republican mouthpiece has asked US President Donald Trump to concede the election and ‘move on’.
In an editorial published on Friday, the newspaper, which initially supported Trump to challenge the poll, backtracked.
It now said there are not enough cases of fraud remotely enough to change the result.
When President Trump refused to concede the election to Joe Biden in the immediate aftermath of Nov. 3, we argued that he had the right to mount legal challenges if he believed there had been irregularities, mistakes, fraud, or all three. Democratic objections and outrage were as hypocritical as they were inevitable, coming as they did from a corps that refused to accept the 2016 election result not for days, weeks, or even months, but for four years.
But although fair-minded people know there are legitimate procedures for litigation, and that these should be allowed to play out, there is also wisdom in the phrase “put up or shut up.” If you are going to mount legal challenges and allege on national television that there has been massive and systematic election fraud, you had better provide evidence in addition to assertion. Trump’s legal team has not done that.
When more than 150 million voters participate in an election in 50 states that, in our federal system, decide their own rules for balloting and vote counting, there are bound to be irregularities and mistakes, even if there isn’t fraud. And, contrary to what Democrats repeatedly say, there have been plenty of well-documented cases of fraud in elections over the years. Doubtless, there was some of it this year, too.
But not remotely enough to change the result. The vast spread of American democracy, which makes error and malfeasance inevitable, also makes it plain that neither of these regrettable concomitants of mass voting robbed Trump of victory. No fraud or error produced tens of thousands of additional votes for Biden in battleground states.
Take Georgia, for example, which Trump needed to win in order to retain the presidency. If he had been denied victory in that state because of fraud or faulty machines, it would have been discovered in the complete hand-count of ballots ordered and run by Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. But when the hand-count was complete, Biden had won by 12,284 votes.
In addition to Georgia, Biden’s lead stands at about 10,000 votes in Arizona, 20,000 votes in Wisconsin, 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, and more than 150,000 votes in Michigan.
The Democratic nominee didn’t win the presidency by a lot, but he did win it.
The attention Trump has drawn to our flawed election system, which needs reform, has merit. But only up to a certain point, and that point has been reached and passed. The president’s legal team increasingly looks as though it is flinging mud to see what sticks, rather than pursuing a coherent course of litigation. Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell asserted, “What we are really dealing with here, and uncovering more by the day, is the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China in the interference in our elections here in the United States.” She claimed that voting systems used in the U.S. “were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost an election,” and that Trump actually won more than 80 million votes, meaning 7 million Trump votes were switched to Biden. If voting machines were switching that many votes, they would have been uncovered in the Georgia hand-count.
At this point, Trump’s efforts are more likely to damage the Republican Party, and more specifically, undermine its chances of winning the Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia for the two Senate seats that remain undecided. GOP control of the Senate rests on those races; the party must win at least one of them to retain its majority. And that majority is all that stands in the way of a Congress dramatically more capable of passing damaging and extreme left-wing legislation after Jan. 20.
The president’s efforts to reverse the election result and stay in office for a second term are not going to succeed. Without a chance of succeeding, they have become distractions from the really important task of keeping the Senate in Republican hands. In Georgia, Trump is setting Republican against Republican.
Beyond these political concerns, an extended refusal to concede will do damage to the country. The longer he digs in, the more Trump will undermine faith in our elections and make it harder to unify as a country. In more practical terms, Trump is not cooperating with Biden’s transition team, a crucial part of making sure that the executive branch runs smoothly as it is handed off from one administration to the next.
If Trump wishes people to believe he has the good of the country and the legitimacy of its elections in mind, the president should concede that he lost and should do all he can to help his party win the two Senate battles in which it is still engaged.