We can’t even make it through a holiday weekend without new missives from the tweeting toddler.
Rich Galen, the longtime Republican strategist and commentator, said it best last night: “Donald Trump is quickly eroding whatever modicum of forbearance many Americans — even those of us who didn’t vote for him — have been willing to grant … He cannot abide any hint of a loss, so he decided to charge up the old Twitter machine and make a fool of himself.”
Your typical president-elect spends Thanksgiving weekend at leisure, basking in victory, chilling with friends, planning his Cabinet, reassuring the nation, stuff like that. But things are different when the president-elect is a dangerously insecure narcissist. This type of president-elect thumbs stupid tweets on a smart phone.
I’m referring, of course, to Trump’s weekend meltdown over the news that Jill Stein — with nominal support from the Clinton campaign — is pushing for recounts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. A mentally balanced president-elect would simply ignore this long-shot maneuver. A mentally balanced president-elect would say that he has no desire to look back, that it’s time for all Americans to move forward.
But alas, we’re talking here about Trump. Which is why, at 3:30 yesterday, he typed this:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Wow. Trump has inspired me to rethink my life. I now believe I would’ve won the Kentucky Derby if I deduct all the horses that ran ahead of me.
But seriously, this is what happens when a paltry 46.5 percent of the electorate gives us a demagogue. This guy offers no evidence whatsoever that millions of people “voted illegally,” but, hey, if he deems it necessary to slime the electoral process in order to buttress his fragile ego, then so be it. He’s clearly unhinged by his popular vote defeat — Hillary currently tops him by 2.23 million — and if he needs to invent a fake excuse that insults millions of enfranchised Americans, then he’ll do it.
Late yesterday, he typed another tweet that supposedly got specific:
Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2016
But, again, he has no evidence whatsoever that serious chicanery occurred in those states, or anywhere else. As I (and many others) have long reported, not a single credible study of the electoral process – including this new one – has unearthed fraud anywhere near the scale that Trump has concocted in his head.
Sore losers sometimes question the vote count. But here we have an historic case of a sore winner. Indeed, says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer, “we see the victor making a blanket accusation of fraud to delegitimize 2.5 million votes. Given there is no evidence to support the claim, this is simply stunning and troubling as a sign as to what he will do as president.”
Some Trump-watchers are convinced that he tweets for strategic reasons, to purposely draw our attention away from weightier matters — like the fact that his worldwide business conflicts of interest could compromise our foreign policy and breach Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution. (It takes two seconds to read a tweet; it takes a lot longer to ponder the latest evidence of his inherent corruption.) But I don’t believe he tweets strategtically; as we parents know, toddlers simply act on impulse.
On the fraud “issue,” the closest thing to evidence — at least in Trumplandia — was a story posted earlier this month by Infowars, a conservative site, which alleged in a headline: “3 million votes in presidential election cast by illegal aliens.” Two quick observations: (1) The fact-checkers said it’s a baseless crock, and (2) The guy who runs Infowars is on record stating that the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre never happened.
Rich Galen, the aforementioned Republican, brilliantly mocks Trump’s fraud lie: “If more than 2 million people illegally voted for Hillary, they were some pretty sophisticated voters. They had to have voted for Hillary, then crossed to the other side of the ballot to vote Republican for governors, state House and state Senate seats, for U.S. Congress, and for U.S. Senate. Republicans picked up seats (or lost fewer than projected) in each of those categories.”
But if Trump truly believes that millions of illegals deprived him of a popular vote victory, then he should be demanding a national recount. If he truly believes that millions of illegals delegitimized the electoral system, then he should be welcoming a recount that would prove him right and restore our faith in the process. Which is my fancy of saying: Put up or shut up.
Actually, what’s most serious about this episode is what it portends. If a Hail Mary from Jill Stein is enough to unhinge him, imagine what could happen if ISIS tests him. It’s gonna be a long four years.