This is the end, my only friend, the end. The Supreme Court yesterday struck down Texas’s legal bid to challenge Joe Biden’s election. Donald Trump said the Court ‘really let us down’, but the truth is that the case was a legal Hail Mary. It has failed. Now the quixotic campaign to challenge the official 2020 election result really is all over, bar the tweeting. It’s actually been over for a while, but a lot of Trump supporters refuse to see it.
There’ll be more cases and many more allegations. But whatever the truth of any claims, the fact is the Trump campaign and its Republican supporters have failed to make a sufficiently powerful argument to do something as dramatic and unprecedented as overturn an election.
What happens to Trumpism now is intriguing — does it retreat, lick its wounds, and come back in four years time? Or does it turn into a radical protest movement that refuses to accept the legitimacy of the Biden administration? The answer could well be the latter. Conservatives spent a lot of this year expressing concerns that, if Trump won, Democrats would refuse to accept the result to the extent that they would destroy the union and cause civil war. Last night, however, it was Trump supporters calling for secession because they are convinced the system has stolen democracy from them. The Texas suit was supported by various conservative groups, including ones that claimed to represent the breakaway states of ‘New Nevada’ and ‘New California’. This does not suggest a healthy state of the union.
It’s hard for those who have spent the last few years scoffing at ‘Russiagate’ and Democratic refusals to accept the 2016 election — now they are the ones clinging to threads of evidence and trying to spin them into the greatest conspiracy in American history. They are the ones who sound hysterical.
Vote counting in 2020, especially in swing states, was a strange business — even after you take into account the much anticipated late surge of mail-ins for Biden. But the Republican legal process to overturn the confirmed results — or uphold election integrity, depending on how you see it — has been a bit of a joke from the start, even though the substance of the matter could not be more serious. From Rudy Giuliani’s eccentric press conferences, to Sidney Powell’s theories about international socialist plots, to the charmingly madcap witnesses, the crank factor has been strong throughout — aided and abetted by legions of right-wing media grifters who aren’t really interested in the truth and just want to make money from peddling paranoia.
The Texas case, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, was dismissed with alacrity. It was based on the privilege that states hold, to file suits directly before the Supreme Court. But the court quickly ruled that Texas lacked the legal standing to bring the case. ‘Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,’ the court said.
When Trump says the court let ‘us’ down, who is the us? Trumpists would say the country, democracy, the free world etc. Others would say it’s just Team Trump who feel robbed. Right-wing secessionism aside, the process will play out, and Joe Biden will formally become the next President of the United States. Trump voters who are suspicious of the results but unwilling to spend the next four years instigating civil war are just going to have to face it: the Democrats stole this election fair and square. That leaves a harder fringe of ‘America Firsters’ who want to destroy the system and get rich doing it. Will they be the future of the Republican Party?
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