Joseph Robinette Biden Jr will swear in as our 46th President. As I write this line, my hand shakes a bit. I wasn’t quite sure, going into the election, what the final outcome may be. As an eternal optimist, I hoped for the best results for the country. But somewhere deep down I also feared that after four years of the current administration, we may have to rinse and repeat for another four. So, the tremor in my hand comes from somewhat of a relief at how it all eventually turned out.
This was no George W. bush versus Al Gore in 2000, where the presidency was won by a margin of 5 electoral college votes! Nor was this the 1960 election where JFK ran against Nixon and won the popular vote by a margin of under 120K, out of nearly 70 million votes cast. Biden received over 7 million popular votes - 81+ million compared to Trump’s 74+ million. In the end, he received 74 more electoral votes than Trump. That should count for a resounding victory. The facts are indisputable. So why does my hand shake?
In our times of Trump and Fake News, facts are often secondary. A delirious Donald Trump refused to accept the people’s verdict and move on. Backed by his loyal sycophants - who were only too happy to encourage him
to legally challenge the results - Trump played a dangerous game, endangering our democracy.
Trump’s allegations coupled with his fiery rabble-rouser rhetoric — put inordinate pressure on state election officials to accept his fraud allegations and block certification of the results. Trump threw ethics and morals by the wayside and largely abdicated the responsibilities of the job he was fighting so hard to keep. Pandemic related infections and deaths kept soaring across the country, while Trump kept jamming the airwaves with his “I am the true victor” tirade.
This has been an election aftermath without precedent in the history of our nation. Even though Trump has finally reluctantly agreed to initiate transition over to President-elect Biden, his weeks-long antics have undermined the country’s faith in elections and in the legitimacy of our next duly elected President. So I guess, my hand also shakes a bit in rage, as I think of the last few weeks.
In the midst of all this chaos, a huge shout-out to all those election officials who refused to embrace Trump’s fabrications, held on to their integrity and simply decided to follow the law. Some even needed security details to protect them from the dangerous threats they received. Respect.
I’ll wrap up with the words of a fellow Hyphenated American. Stephanos Bibas - a Greek-American, is a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He wrote a unanimous opinion rejecting Trump’s request for an emergency injunction to overturn the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”