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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Fraud and prejudice

"Until December 14, prudence and patience should be the call of the day."

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It may very well be that President Donald Trump is on his way out of the White House after the networks called Pennsylvania for his Democratic rival and presumptive victor, former Vice President Joe Biden last Saturday. This was four days after the voting and before charges of fraud and related irregularities in the conduct of elections in that state could be properly resolved. If Biden’s win in that battl ground state and the four other contested ones in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin are upheld, that gives him more than enough electoral college votes to win the presidency.

Until those contests are resolved, there is no need to rush the coronation as the Biden camp and almost all senior Democrats have suggested and actually did with all the seemingly orchestrated hoopla which ensued since the Pennsylvania run. Neither should there be any rush by foreign leaders to offer congratulatory messages until the US Congress puts a stamp on the Electoral College votes by December 14, the date provided for under the US Constitution for such to be done.

Experts tell us that this month-long period from election day to proclamation is meant to ensure that all controversies, if any, associated with the voting are resolved and the winners ushered into office with nary a cloud of doubt on their legitimacy.

That process with very strict timelines is also meant to provide for a smooth transition and have all concerns about the incoming administration’s mandate laid to rest. Until then, prudence and patience should be the call of the day.

As US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who was himself handsomely re-elected so correctly noted,: “no state has yet certified election results. We have at least one or two states that are already on track for a recount. And I believe the president may have legal challenges underway in at least five states.”

That should put a lid on the Democrats’ misplaced exuberance for now.

The core principle, McConnell said, is for all legal ballots to be counted and any illegal ballots discarded. For the purpose, the process should be transparent or observable by all sides and should any disputes arise the courts should be allowed to resolve these with all deliberate speed.

Every citizen including the president himself has the right to inquire into allegations of fraud and consider his legal options. If that means going all the way to the US Supreme Court for the redress of any grievance, then by all means that should be afforded and not curtailed.

Citing examples of such a process of “exhaustion of all available legal remedies,” Mc Connell insisted that such a right should not be at the expense of any one or to the prejudice of any of the parties in a controversy.

In the 2000 Gore versus Bush presidential contest involving just over 500 votes in Florida, then Vice President Al Gore exhausted the legal processes and waited for 36 days before conceding the elections. In 2004, McConnell added, weeks after the media had “called” President Bush’s re-election, Democrats baselessly disputed Ohio’s electors and delayed the process in Congress.

Four years ago, in 2016, then democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also called for recounts and mounted legal challenges in several states.

The public and the Republicans allowed all of these to run their course without as much as aside remark. In fact, the Democrats mounted all kinds of challenges against Trump including that “Russian interference and conspiracy theory” culminating in the impeachment case against Trump himself which was resolved just before the pandemic.

So, why the biased, highly prejudiced calls from Democrats and other sectors who should know better than invoke rights and privileges with hardly any mention of the concomitant obligations and equaIity clauses they so passionately invoke even in the most ludicrous cases?

McConnell himself has been so frustrated with the revolting calls for President Trump to give up and simply roll over in the face of the Democratic onslaught, supported no less by the major networks gleefully drilling into the public mind all the “good feelings” coming out of the Biden camp. He noted there is a legal process to be followed and that the US Constitution “gives no role in this process to wealthy media corporations.” He was simply stating the obvious — that no amount of commentary or projections of the press or anybody for that matter can override the legal rights of any citizen including President Trump to seek redress.

The Democrats, McConnell added, should have no reason to fear any extra scrutiny over the conduct and result of the elections if they are confident that no irregularities of a magnitude that would alter the outcome of the elections ever occurred at all. Let’s have no lectures, McConnell emphasized, about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election..and who insinuated this one would be illegitimate, too, if they lost again.

Quoting their own statements on Trump and the upcoming elections on various occasions as late as October this year, McConnell recalled senior Democrats continually hectoring President Trump insisting he would only win if he cheated. At that time, no less than Speaker Nancy Pelosi harangued the Postal Service as “inefficient, incompetent and part of a Trump effort to rig the elections” and proceeded with the theory: “I have no doubt that the President will cheat and steal to win this election.”

In August, then former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whom Trump trounced in the 2016 presidential race advised Joe Biden “not to concede,” saying “this is going to drag out..and he will win if we don’t give an inch.” In the same token, both Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer stated “President Trump needs to cheat to win.”

So, why the flurry of words and actions this time around, asking one and all to step aside and let the yet-to-be-proclaimed Biden presidency in the midst of the charges of unresolved irregularities flying all over the contested states? There is really no rhyme or reason for the Biden camp and the Democrats to bulldoze their way in unless they no longer believe in the integrity of the processes and institutions in place.

This is not to suggest that they should simply step aside as well and let President Trump do his worst. Not at all. They should be deliberate in their rebuttal of the accusations of cheating and foul play. They should expose the paucity of the arguments of the critics not piss on their faces. They should patiently and responsibly work things out within the bounds provided for by law.

They should take all the “feel-good feelings” including the barrage of congratulatory messages of world leaders in advisement, as it were. No less than Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who claims to have maintained good relationships with both President Trump and presumptive President Biden, and who is himself a critic of his country’s complex and at times irregular electoral processes, so correctly said: “we don’t want to be imprudent nor act hastily. We think it is appropriate to wait for the official vote count.”

Indeed, it is only fair and proper to exhaust all the legal processes available under the circumstances. To be hasty is ill advised and prejudiced. It is disrespectful and unwarranted.  It can lead to more problems than one can imagine. 


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