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To The Bitter End

Nearly three years ago, in this column, I discussed the upcoming 2018 New Year and the speculation that if the Mueller investigation were conclusive, Donald Trump’s Presidency could end like that of Richard Nixon’s. However, I also commented that unlike Nixon: “I can’t envision our current President getting on a helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House and quietly leaving town.”

The Mueller investigation came and went and so did the 2020 election. Yet, it seems that the observation still has merit — this President is not going to easily leave the White House.

We have now been through recounts and lawsuits in several “battleground” states. One was Wisconsin. This was a state that Donald Trump carried by about 20,000 votes in 2016. He accepted and celebrated the vote — no problem. However, this year the voters of that state said that they had enough, and President Trump lost the state by about the same margin. In 2020, the election In Wisconsin was deemed a “fraud” by the President.

Similar accusations were made against other states that he lost, including Georgia where Republican officials ran the election and also watched over two recounts. Still, the President didn’t believe it, as if to say: “If I don’t win, there must be some kind of fraud involved.”

Think back over the past several years starting with the crowd at the inauguration being the “biggest ever” — though it wasn’t. Then there was the President’s advisor, Kellyanne Conway, inventing the phrase “alternative facts” as she did her best to create a spin over the President’s various falsehoods and misrepresentations.

This President cannot mentally accept the fact that he lost the 2020 election. It reminds me a bit of the country song: “Call me Cleopatra — ’cause I’m the Queen of denial.” Though, in this case, it is Donald Trump, the King, singing the song.

In most of the Presidential elections that I can remember, the loser of the election, by this time had conceded defeat. The only exception was in 2000 when the vote count was close in Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the recounting of ballots in that state which gave George W. Bush a 500-vote advantage and the election.

This year, the same Supreme Court declined to hear a “Hail Mary” appeal supported by the President to invalidate the election in five states. To their credit, our two Republican, Western New York Congressmen — Tom Reed and Chris Jacobs — declined to join in that lawsuit. Other Republican leaders, now including Majority Leader Mitch McConnel in the Senate, have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden.

When will Donald Trump finally “fold his tent” and end this? It could happen on Jan. 6, 2021, the day that Vice President Mike Pence declares the results of the Electoral College valid. Then, the President, could turn to Pence as his final scapegoat and give up the fight.

Whatever happens, it won’t be pretty — and we are likely to see a President leave office under protest with the promise to run again in 2024. He could decide not to join the new President at the Inauguration Ceremony on Capitol Hill on January 20. In his mind, that might legitimize an election which Donald Trump will only recognize if he can be the winner.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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