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At the expense of our democratic norms and ideals

Shortly before the recent presidential election, I came across a New York Times editorial urging readers, prior to casting their ballots, to reflect on the following:

“Of all the things president Trump has destroyed, the Republican Party is among the most dismaying.” The editorial does acknowledge that “destroyed” may be a bit hyperbolic, even simplistic, suggesting that Trump merely acted as an accelerant, revealing a party that has become a “hollowed out shell, devoid of ideas, values or integrity, committed to preserving its own power, even at the expense of democratic norms, institutions and ideals.” It is a party now reduced to “a slurry of paranoia, white grievance, revanchism, and know-nothing populism ”

To stand with Donald requires a constant betrayal of one’s own integrity and values, all while supporting the affairs, the hush money, the misogynistic boasts of grabbing women, a “quid primo quo” foreign policy, a blatant assault on checks and balances, a declaration of a faux border emergency leading to a shutdown of the government, fetishizing “law and order” while maligning the FBI, the special prosecutor and our intelligence agencies.

He has sold “deep state” conspiracies at garage-sale prices to include “rampant voter fraud,” insisting that any outcome not resulting in his re-election was “rigged.” He has trafficked in misinformation regarding the novel coronavirus to include knowing at the outset that it was highly contagious and, for many, lethal; it didn’t disappear. As a result, thousands of Americans have died, masks were politicized, science ignored.

And in the midst of a national emergency, Trump et al. supported the repeal of Obamacare while refusing to embrace an economic relief package, knowing that America is awash in pain.

All of the above is a summary of a pre-election editorial detailing a presidency rife with corruption, grift and malfeasance. So, now knowing the outcome, here is the money question that haunts me still, and will likely never be fully answered to my satisfaction: how to comprehend that 74 million Americas voted not only for Trump, but for down-ballot Republicans when choosing representatives and senators. The election was decidedly not a crushing, Blue Wave repudiation of the last four years, but an affirmation of Trump, greater than that of 2016. Almost half the electorate, with eyes wide open, endorsed this man who would burn down our democracy.

Witness what has taken place since Biden was declared the winner: Lawsuits in search of evidence were filed on behalf of Donald, insisting that he “won in a landslide” and therefore the election should be overturned.

But disenfranchising those who voted in massive numbers for Joe Biden is no longer just the singular intent of Donald Trump. And it’s no longer just ungracious Republicans refusing to congratulate President-elect Biden on his win. The attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton, joined by 17 states, petitioned the Supreme Court to, in effect, award Donald Trump the electors in four swing states where Trump lost. Stunningly, 126 Republican House members joined the Texas suit, declaring their support of the effort to overturn the will of the people, replacing their votes with the will of the Republican Party. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was one of the 126 who asserted that Trump, all evidence to the contrary, was the “true” winner of the election and his fictitious, conspiracy-driven, anti-democratic quest to convince the nation that he should be anointed to four more years should be validated by SCOTUS. This irredeemable betrayal of our democratic principles was and remains breathtaking.

Meanwhile, polls continue to show that 77 percent of Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and the election of Joe Biden is therefore illegitimate.

Given all that needs to be accomplished — the economy and the pandemic (vaccine distribution) — how do we go forward? Trump’s most recent answer: “#OVERTURN.”

Chris Honoré is an Ashland Tidings columnist.

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