On Monday night, I tuned in the news to hear details of President-Elect Biden’s economic recovery plan. Given the announcement of Moderna’s apparently effective virus vaccine, Monday was a day to celebrate. Moderna’s vaccine, added to the previously announced one from Pfizer, is a light at the end of the tunnel. With a strong economic recovery plan, this country might have a solid 2021.
Instead of details on the Biden plan, news outlets offered only more election news. Isn’t the 2020 election supposed to be over?
I still expect the new administration to get off to a strong start in addressing the crisis, but based on what I saw on TV Monday evening, caution is required. All I heard about on Monday night was more outrage over President Trump’s failure to concede, conflicting allegations relating to the pending Georgia recount of votes, and forceful condemnation of Trump for delaying the transition. I also learned that the Wisconsin recount alone is estimated to cost $7.9 million and that millions of dollars are being spent in the two Georgia special elections scheduled for January 5.
Donald Trump is single-handedly undermining the Presidential transition. Will this result in hundreds of thousands of more people dying? Only time will tell. Is it responsible for President Trump to take the risk that it won’t? No.
What I am seeing is wasted time. The country is in a serious crisis—one getting worse every day. Cities are reimposing shutdowns. Schools are closing. More small businesses are realizing that they won’t survive another six months. Emergency room mental health admissions are spiking.
Is President Trump wrong to refuse to concede the election? Call me a radical, congenital Trump hater, but yes. Look at the current electoral vote count. Look at the popular vote. Then ask yourself whether you expect the election results as currently called by major networks, including Fox, to be reversed by having hundreds of thousands of votes thrown out.
It is depressing that the Biden transition cannot proceed with the full cooperation of the outgoing administration. Given that the nation is in a battle for its future, it is disgusting—or treasonous—for the outgoing administration not to give their full cooperation and support to making sure that the war on the coronavirus can be fought without an artificial handicap.
And what about that rally in Washington, D.C., intended to demonstrate that huge parts of the electorate still believe Trump won? Reports suggest the crowds were well below the million attendees advertised by the Trump campaign and apparently confirmed by the long-nosed White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Why can’t the Trump base just admit their guy lost and start thinking about what might be best for the country? Come to think of it, many have. How many of those 72 million Trump voters do you think still believe Trump won? Enquiring minds want to know. The Washington Post reported last week that 8 in 10 Trump voters believe Biden’s win to be illegitimate. Really? My guess is that the real number is closer to 10 percent of them. The Trump voters may be unhappy that Trump lost, but given the evidence, most of them must be coming around.
I wish I could get my mind off of the fact that precious time—time that should be spent on a Manhattan Project-like effort to address the pandemic—is being wasted talking about an election that is clearly over.
What should I do? If I lived, at least for the time being, in Washington, D.C., and owned a golf course in nearby Virginia, perhaps I would pack up my clubs and play a few rounds. That is what Trump has done. Trump, however, is president and I’m not. Does Trump’s recent behavior sound to you like a president who has come to terms with reality? Or who, confident that he won the election, is devoting his full time and energy to preventing more infections and deaths from the virus? No. I didn’t think so.
President Trump is not only wasting his own time as he continues golfing, tweeting, and deluding himself that the election is not over. He is wasting our collective national time. With each additional minute that we ignore the pandemic and the attendant economic crisis, we are wasting time.
It’s time for Trump to go. As Lee Iacocca said,” lead, follow, or get out of the way.” In Trump’s case, I recommend he get out of the way.
J.E. Dean of Oxford is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant. For more than 30 years, he advised clients on federal education and social service policy.