I’ve Been Waiting to Say This for the Past Four Years

GELFAND’S WORLD--You might say that the following is a bit of venting on my part.

It’s still a bit early to put out a victory statement, but if we just keep chugging along, it’s ours. In any case, maybe it’s time to switch over from the endless obsessing that Trump might (again) pull this one out, and instead concentrate on sending our ballots and encouraging our friends to do the same. 

So here goes: 

This is how to respond not only to Trump supporters but to Donald Trump himself when he loses his race to be reelected and wants the states to steal the election for him. It starts with our recognition that Trump has been raising lame excuses for his impending loss for months. If you are Donald Trump, everything is rigged against you. They investigated you for your clear and obvious ties to the Russians, so this had to be some sort of vast conspiracy. They impeached you for good cause, so this had to be a hoax. And now, knowing full well that professional pollsters find that Biden is well ahead, you are raising the excuse that if you lose the election it has to be rigged, because how else could a majority of legal voters choose against you? Then you ducked the second presidential debate for no particular reason at all other than that the moderator would be able to stifle your rude outbursts. 

So Trump has a million excuses and threatens to contest the results of the election. He just can’t imagine that there are enough people who don’t love him to cost him at the polls. 

Here is our answer: 

Actually, we don’t like you, and there are tens of millions of us. And we are going to the polls by our tens of millions to say exactly that. And we expect that our local election boards and our states will count our votes fairly and completely because we want to whip you. Even if it takes a week or two to get our votes counted, we expect to win. And our votes are real – just as real as your votes – and you don’t get to wish them away with some magic wand or stupid argument that mail-in ballots should count less than election day ballots. 

We’ve got the votes this time. Everything else is just lame excuses on your part, and they are pathetic. 

And to the extent that there is any rigging, it is by your side. Just consider the outrageous action by the governor of Texas, who limited drive-up ballot collection to one box per county. One of those counties is larger in area than the state of Rhode Island. Voter suppression is the policy and practice of the Republican Party in this country. So don’t try to blame your loss on Democratic shenanigans. We know what side the shenanigans are coming from. 

And you can brag and bluster all you want about how wonderfully well you are doing in these, the final dark days of your political career. You and your Vice President were beaten substantially in the debates, as the next-day polling showed. You are doing particularly badly among women, but now even white men are turning against you. It’s strange, almost wryly amusing, to hear the right wing talk radio hosts talk up how well Mike Pence did in his debate. It must have been an alternate universe they were listening to that night. 

It’s deeply amusing that at this moment, barely 3 weeks before election day, you are fighting to defend states like Florida and North Carolina and Ohio. If you can’t hold Ohio, you have no chance, and if you were a better president and a better person, it would be a lock for you. Same thing for Florida. But now you are burning jet fuel by the ton to try to shore up states that should already be yours. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is not wasting a lot of travel time on the west coast because those 74 electoral votes are in the bag. They are so in the bag that – this is admittedly a long shot – if Biden takes Florida early enough on election night, the networks could call the election for Biden at 8 PM Pacific time, the moment our polls close. 

An interesting bit of irony: For years and years, the right wing movement did everything it could to smear Hillary Clinton. It actually worked to some extent, although not quite well enough to deny her a majority of the 2016 popular vote. But still, there were enough voters who disliked Hillary at least as much as they liked Donald, and it worked for him. Now, there are a huge number of people who vigorously and sincerely and passionately despise Donald Trump, and it didn’t even take twenty years’ of talk radio to get us there. Trump actually accomplished this all by himself. And now it is coming home to roost, and all the excuse-making isn’t going to change it. 

Addendum: Taking the Senate 

In order for the complete rout of the Republican government to be accomplished, it is necessary for the Democrats to flip enough seats in the U.S. Senate. There is one automatic loss in Alabama, so the Democrats actually need an extra win just to neutralize that expected turnover. At the moment, there is some reason to expect that this can happen. Here are seats currently held by Republicans that (according to data from multiple polls) are the most likely to flip: 




North Carolina 

That would be enough to get nominal control of the Senate assuming a Biden/Harris win. 

But in order to deal with a possible lack of unanimity when it comes to doing big things such as getting rid of the filibuster, it would be nice to have a couple more seats. The following are the admittedly long shot or tossup races at the moment: 




South Carolina 

Of these, the Iowa seat is the most likely to go Democratic based on recent polls. Montana stands a chance. It is unlikely that Georgia or South Carolina will yield up a Democratic senator, but the huge Democratic turnout we have hoped for could push one or the other over the line.


(Bob Gelfand writes on science, culture, and politics for CityWatch. He can be reached at [email protected])