Weeks prior to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, President Donald Trump told Attorney General Bill Barr to bring criminal charges against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and previous Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for launching a supposed coup against his administration.
“Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes — the greatest political crime in the history of our country,” Trump said, “then we’ll get little satisfaction unless I win.”
“Where are all of the arrests?” the wild-eyed president added, following a fury of tweets on the subject. “Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? Long-term sentences would have started two years ago. Shameful!”
Of course, there wasn’t a shred of evidence to support Trump’s claim. Perhaps Trump wanted Barr to “create” the necessary evidence? Or maybe Trump thought he was powerful enough to jail them without reason?
Let’s keep it real. It was Trump who was attempting a coup d’é·tat of sorts by asking that his political opponents be arrested for fabricated charges.
Fortunately, Barr, even as an avid supporter of Trump, refused.
Only William Barr stood between Trump and the end of democracy in America. Had Barr followed through, things would have gotten very ugly fast.
What does that tell us about our democracy?
Simply examine 1) the 2020 presidential results and 2) Trump/MAGA attempted coup d’é·tat afterward.
Trump, even after trying to jail his political opponents on frivolous charges, was competitive in the election, receiving 46.9 percent of the popular vote (74,216,154).
And after the election, Trump, with no evidence, of course, insisted the presidency was being stolen from him, encouraging a mob of his supporters to descend on Washington, DC on January 6 to forcibly block the election results from being certified by the U.S. Congress.
Fact: Nearly all of Trump’s election lawsuits were dismissed or dropped due to lack of evidence. Judges, lawyers, and most legal experts described the suits as “frivolous” and “without merit.”
And despite the preponderance of evidence and factual data that point to a clear and legitimate Biden victory, 68 percent of Republicans believe – or want to believe – the election was “stolen” from Donald Trump, per a November 2021 poll from the Public Religion Research Institute.
Even OAN, one of Trump’s favorite propaganda outlets, was forced to report there was no widespread voter fraud.
Nevertheless, Trump, who literally attempted two coup d’é·tats in three months, remains the most powerful person in the Republican Party today.
What does that say about our democracy? And what does it say about Americans who continue to support Trump?
- A sitting president attempted to jail his opponents on frivolous charges yet nearly 47 percent of American voters were seemingly fine with it, supporting him anyway.
- And after over 90 percent of Trump’s election-related lawsuits failed, we witnessed an attempted coup by Trump enthusiasts. Nevertheless, Republican leaders, sans a few like Rep. Liz Cheney, wanted to dismiss it and move on as if nothing happened.
- For the first time in U.S. history, we failed to see a peaceful presidential transition of power, and a lot of Americans and most Republican leaders were seemingly fine with it….
- Many Americans, including and especially some of our public leaders, give more credence to unfounded claims than evidence-supported facts. While some have been duped, others simply choose to believe what they want to regardless of all else.
“Let’s have trial by combat. I’m willing to stake my reputation, the President is willing to stake his reputation, on the fact that we’re going to find (election) criminality there,” stated former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to the pro-Trump mob on January 6.
Seriously!?!? Was that Rudy or the Jack Daniels talking? (Unfortunately, it was probably both)
And who can forget what Republican Rep. Paul Gosar did? Last November, he tweeted a hateful video showing a character bearing his face killing a figure with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s face.
The response from Republican leaders?
And when 13 House Republicans backed President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, several reported they received death threats after their vote.
The response from Republican leaders?
American democracy is ripe for the taking because too many of us simply don’t care about the rule of law or justice anymore. And, more importantly, many of our leaders today are no better than many of the nutty nuts they represent.
In fact, many of those who took an oath to defend the Constitution are doing just the opposite by willingly believing and spreading disinformation and, whether directly or indirectly, inciting distrust in governmental institutions and violence.
The onus is on our leaders – not the average civilian – to put their country ahead of their party, facts over fraud, and evidence over suspicion.
If not for a few honest conservative leaders, like Bill Barr, who knows in what condition the United States would be in following the 2020 Presidential Election?
And there’s certainly no guarantee we’ll be as fortunate if our democracy is tested once more. Again, many of our leaders, instead of being honorable defenders of freedom, like the late Sen. John McCain, are no more virtuous than many of the low-lifes who put them in office.
There’s enough liberalism and conservatism in America to go around. And at every level of government, both parties should be expected to win elections and lose them.
And regardless of our affiliation, we must be willing to accept that our candidate(s) of choice won’t always win.
Oftentimes, the mark of true character is how we handle defeat and address situations that don’t resolve as we’d hoped.
A lot of Americans today obviously lack character.
“We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace.”
– George W. Bush
What do you think will happen if Trump, or someone like him, wins the presidency in 2024?