So which is it? Is the president a noble warrior, trying to save the nation from a stolen election? Or is he just a sore loser? Is he the victim of a great wrong? Or is he settling into the role of the disheveled old man, wandering the streets of New York, fuming about how the crown was stolen from him and that he is the rightful king of all England?
The answer lies in how much truth there is in the things the president and his lawyers have been saying on TV.
At least daily, President Donald Trump or one of his lawyers is on television talking about the massive fraud that prevented the president from winning reelection. The lawyers hold up piles of papers, insisting that this “sworn testimony” proves that the election was stolen. Depending on which channel one watches, that the election was stolen is either an absolute certainty, preposterous or somewhere in between.
Even the most casual look at the internet offers a list of suspects: Dominion, Smartmatic, corrupt election officials, dead people who voted, the corrupt governor of Georgia, George Soros, Mickey Mouse, the CIA, the FBI, illegal aliens, living people who voted multiple times, Hugo Chavez, the Chinese communists, antifa, Sharpies. A more careful internet search would probably discover more.
A stolen election is a serious thing. If what President Trump and his lawyers say is true, then that reveals a flaw in our election system that has produced a great injustice. If a theft of an election really happened, we need to fix it.
Fortunately, we have a system that can tell us if it really happened: the courts. If the president and his lawyers really have evidence, let them take it before a judge. Let them show votes that were tampered with, voting machines that were rigged, dead people who voted, etc. Let them present whatever evidence they have of fraud; let their witnesses be cross-examined.
The affidavits the president’s lawyers are so proud of are not evidence, or at least not enough evidence to overturn an election. An affidavit might get a search warrant or keep a case from being summarily tossed out of court. If any court is going to overturn an election, that will take in person testimony, under oath, subject to cross-examination.
It has now been over a month since the election, and neither the president nor his lawyers have presented any evidence of fraud. They have talked a good game on TV. One of his lawyers talked about evidence of fraud coming into her office “like a firehose.”
With all of this evidence of fraud, why don’t they do something with it? They have filed dozens of cases alleging things such as election observers who didn’t get to stand close enough to the counting. They have never laid out a case for the fraud that the president talks about and that his lawyers talk about in their news conferences.
We don’t decide what is true by the number of times it is shared on Facebook. Retweets and likes do not establish the facts. It does not matter that, before the election, the president predicted almost daily that the election would be stolen. It doesn’t matter that he has said almost daily since the election that it was stolen. If the president really believes that, let him go to court, be put under oath and say it. Let him be cross-examined. He will have to either say what facts support his allegations or admit he just made it up and knows of no facts to support his claim. Let his lawyers present their “firehose” of evidence.
The president and his lawyers can talk all they want to about fraud and a stolen election. His lawyers can rail on TV against the corrupt system that denied him a victory he so obviously deserved. His supporters can make internet posts showing sinister connections between George Soros, the deep state, Nancy Pelosi and some obscure election official in a battleground state.
None of that counts. Unless they can go to court and present some real evidence of massive voter fraud, the president, his lawyers and his supporters are just shouting into the wind. It’s a lot of noise that means nothing.
The president must have talked to his lawyers. He must know what evidence they have, or don’t have. If the evidence is there, he should fight on. If it is not, he should congratulate Joe Biden and move on. It’s the only way he can salvage a shred of his dignity and avoid leaving office as the sorest of sore losers.