Nov 15, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – At this point, the parallels between a certain former Guyanese head of state’s post-elections actions and a certain current de facto American head of state’s post-elections actions are so absurdly numerous that they could not have been scripted better. We have had baseless allegations of voter fraud, claims of dead people voting that have been viciously debunked, pointless legal cases, and of course paranoid claims of some grand conspiracy against the incumbent.
Earlier this year, we Guyanese were treated first with the arrogant, “Concede for what? Concede to who?” and then later, the petulant, “I did not concede, I accepted the declaration of GECOM.”
It is therefore no surprise, the trend taken into account, which the US media is currently buzzing with speculation of whether or not Donald Trump is going to concede after a decisive win by his opponent, Joe Biden. Currently, there is no confusion or tension about the distribution of votes, at least not among sane people – every major news organization has called a decisive win for Biden, who has not only a healthy six million vote lead with 99 percent of votes counted as of last night, but also a stupendous electoral college lead of 290 votes to Trump’s 232, a full 20 votes beyond the 270 needed.
At the individual level, the refusal to concede to a clear loss is in itself unpresidential – it shows an absence of ethics, of dignity, of grace and of moral fibre. It is the perpetuation of a lie, not to one person, a family, or a community, but to an entire country. In Guyana, massive external pressure, including ironically from the Trump administration, eventually rendered the refusal to concede here a moot point, the paltry, impotent Parthian shot of a sore loser. In the United States however, the implications are much greater.
According to an article published on Thursday in the Washington Post, Trump’s refusal to concede and the Republican Party’s embrace of that refusal showed a disturbing trend towards authoritarianism in a country that prides itself on being the brightest global beacon of liberal democracy. Out of 53 Republican senators, a majority in the Senate, only four had congratulated Biden on becoming President-elect.
This is not a situation that should be taken lightly. While we can perhaps opt to dismiss political ‘caution’ by the GOP leadership as hedging their bets until 100% vote count is completed, it should be cause for concern that American business is not taking the situation lightly. According to an Associated Press report published on Friday,
“On Nov. 6, more than two dozen CEOs of major U.S. corporations took part in a video conference to discuss what to do if Trump refuses to leave office or takes other steps to stay in power beyond the scheduled Jan. 20 inauguration of former Vice President Joe Biden. On Saturday Biden was declared the election winner by The Associated Press and other news organizations. But if Trump tries to undo the legal process or disrupts a peaceful transition to Biden, the CEOs discussed making public statements and pressuring GOP legislators in their states, who may try to redirect Electoral College votes from Biden to Trump, said Yale Management Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who convened the meeting.”
The irony here of course is that those are the very sort of persons that would have benefitted from Trump’s economic policies, which overwhelming favoured the corporate elite and not his massive voting base, and yet who are now saying that his failure, his outright refusal to concede, is so far beyond the pale, beyond what can be considered normal, that they are ready to make a rare, perhaps historic, intervention.
One gets the sense that America’s institutions – political, democratic, economic and moral – will eventually see to it that, concession or not, the ship of state rights itself in the near term. Until then, however, as long as he does not concede, it will continue to take what may very well amount to irreparable damage going forward.
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