Trump's alarming war on democracy

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President Donald Trump is backing a lawsuit filed to the Supreme Court by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to block millions of votes from four battleground states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden.

Posted: Dec 11, 2020 1:30 AM
Updated: Dec 11, 2020 1:30 AM

By attempting to steal an election, President Donald Trump is waging a war against American democracy. So far, democracy is winning. But the damage he has inflicted on the country will not end with his presidency, and this won't be the last time we see a charismatic politician with dictatorial tendencies attack the US system of government.

That is a danger the United States cannot afford to ignore.

Even after dozens of failed lawsuits, multiple vote recounts, and attacks against election officials who reject Trump's patently false narrative that the election was stolen, the President has refused to concede.

Trump is also leaning on Republicans to act as his accomplices. He has requested to join an absurd lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the ballots of millions of voters in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Seventeen GOP states are also coming along in this unseemly charade, while Trump's ally Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana has pressured fellow House Republicans to join in on the effort to overturn the outcome of the election.

Meanwhile, Trump backers in the House intend to raise objections to the Electoral College vote during what is typically a rubber stamp meeting to affirm the results of the election. The process would be complicated, however, since objections would have to be raised by lawmakers from both the House and Senate (So far, Sens. Rand Paul and Ron Johnson have said they are open to that option). Regardless of whether members of both chambers play along, it's clear we are entering uncharted territory.

All of these are starkly antidemocratic moves. By making baseless claims about voter fraud, Trump is trying to cast his fight against the election results as a noble effort to bolster democracy. In reality, Trump is ignoring the mandate of the American people in a desperate attempt to keep his grip on power. Abusing the system and finding loopholes to stay in power is what all dictators do.

Despite a sustained attack by Trump, his lawyers, and his acolytes within the Republican party, American democracy is repelling Trump's attack. That is not only because the Constitution built in protections against tyranny but also because enough Americans believed in democracy to vote and defend it -- even when the President showed contempt for it. It's also a credit to the country's judges, including some chosen by Trump, who tossed out farfetched lawsuits. The decentralized electoral system allowed the states to control the process, making it more difficult for Trump to manipulate it, while the media highlighted Trump's efforts to cripple the postal service ahead of an expected barrage of mail-in ballots and allowed the public to watch the voting and vote-counting process as it unfolded, infusing it with a credibility that Trump has tried to undercut.

As a result, the country was ready for Trump's post-election machinations. We predicted what he would do. For months, Trump claimed without any basis that mail-in votes would be fraudulent. He told us he would refuse to accept the results if he lost. We knew. And we prepared.

While all signs suggest Trump's attempts to overturn the election will falter, the country may not survive another highwire act from another aspiring autocrat, perhaps one more skilled than Trump.

It is therefore imperative that President-elect Joe Biden and the next Congress take action to fortify our democracy before the next election.There are many ways to do this. First, we must make the voting and vote-counting process independent of partisan politicians. Every state should have a bipartisan commission led by individuals of recognized integrity to supervise the election, rather than an individual secretary of state, as happens in many states.

Election officials should also be forced to recuse themselves in situations that present conflicts of interest. We should never again repeat what Georgia experienced in 2018, for example, when then-Secretary of State and current Gov. Brian Kemp supervised the very election he was running in -- and won.

It's also time that we do away with the Electoral College and let the popular vote determine the outcome of the election. But as long as we're stuck with the current system, electors should be required to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state.

Democracy is winning because the power of the president is limited, local election officials have done their duty, and judges have so far been able to look beyond their personal political preferences and uphold their oath to the Constitution.

Americans breathed a sigh of relief after the country's top soldier, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, declared last month that the military does "not take an oath to an individual...we take an oath to the Constitution."

Such reassurances should not be necessary in the United States. Presidents don't usually try to usurp power. But now that we know that the unthinkable is possible, we need to take action and safeguard our democracy against the next leader, whether it's Trump, or someone else following in his footsteps.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Unassigned480
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