Can Another Presidential Election Be Called?

The good faith efforts of those loyal to American democratic traditions.

Posted Dec 07, 2020 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

Amidst President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost the election, the Defense Department’s (DOD’s) recent refusal to allow Biden security and intelligence appointees access to military intelligence records and personnel is a new peak.

Why would the current Administration take such a drastic, dangerous step?

There is only one answer: to protect Trump’s ego. No other consideration — including the existential safety of the United States — earns consideration in Trump’s psychological calculus.

One of the more puzzling elements in Trump’s final steps was replacing the entire upper echelon of DOD management. Beginning with firing the already compromised Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, who was nonetheless too independent for Trump, key decision-making Pentagon officials have been replaced by Trump loyalists.

As Rachel Maddow pointed out, the rationale behind these appointments has been unclear until now. But it was only with such men in charge that the Department could take the radical step of refusing to acknowledge electoral reality at the cost of America’s existential well-being.

Safeguarding Trump’s world view drives everything he does. His 46-minute speech at the White House, which no network had broadcasted, but instead was sent directly to Facebook and Twitter, has heightened concerns about his state of mind. Susan Glasser, for instance, writing in The New Yorker, asked: “The President is acting crazy; why are we shrugging it off?”

Glasser focused on Trump’s self-referential White House performance: 

He called it possibly “the most important speech I’ve ever made.” The pandemic’s grim toll was never mentioned. What was? The “tremendous vote fraud and irregularities” in last month’s election, the results of which the President still refuses to accept. The “statistically impossible” victory of Joe Biden, and the idea that the Democrats had so “rigged” the election that “they already knew” the outcome in advance. It was all “corrupt,” “shocking,” “constitutionally absolutely incorrect,” and “so illegal.” The President said he knew full well that he would be “demeaned and disparaged” for continuing to speak out, especially now that even some of his advisers have “disappeared” or, as he claimed, been bullied into silence. But he would do so anyway.

“He would do so anyway.”

What wouldn’t he do? That remains to be seen.

Another step Trump took that puzzled some was his full pardoning of his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. He was the “first” security adviser because, 14 days into the administration, Trump fired Flynn.

Yet Flynn, as Trump’s first (and foremost) post-election pardon recipient, is very much on Trump’s mind.

Flynn, among Trump’s supporters, has presented the most radical proposal for how the President should respond to the election. To wit, he has circulated a petition on Twitter calling for Trump to declare martial law and order a new presidential election.

This would be a revolutionary event in American history.

But the most prominent supporter of the petition is Trump’s recent DOD appointee, Scott O’Grady, as assistant secretary of defense for international security.

Election officials (including Republicans) and judges (including Trump appointees), sometimes almost miraculously, have withstood Trump and his allies’ political and court challenges to the election (which continue).

The only thing that will stop Trump from declaring the election null and void and from imposing military rule on the country are dutiful military brass. It will be up to these people to continue to honor the American tradition, instituted by Washington, of the military’s non-intervention in political affairs.

A slender thread? That’s what Trump is deciding as you read this.