Featuring essays by Elizabeth George on the future of our country


Delaying the Election

Months ago I suggested to my husband that Donald Trump would attempt to delay, postpone or call off the Presidential election altogether. I suggested that his excuse would be either the inability of the government to prevent foreign interference (along the lines of "Until we can guarantee the security of the voting process, we will be postponing the election") or the pandemic (along the lines of "Because we cannot be certain that our voting locations will be free of all virus-passing surfaces, implements, marking pens, etc., we must postpone the election until such a time as a vaccine guarantees everyone's safety.") Thus, I wasn't the least surprised to get up this morning and see the headline from a newspaper twitter feed that directed me to Trump's tweet in which he floated the idea of postponing the election. My only surprise was that he had not done this earlier.

The reaction to this was similar to many reactions in the past. "The Constitution forbids this," topped the list. But this particular response to Trump's musing about violating the Constitution has, for me, the substance of tissue paper. Trump has been violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution since the day he walked into the Oval Office and nothing has stopped him from doing this and more.

I see Trump quite differently from the woman who responded to my first email of thoughts with: "No one cares what you think. Take me of your email list!" Obviously, with all evidence before her eyes, she apparently must assume that Trump has demonstrated Presidential honor and leadership from the beginning. So be it. In my eyes, Trump has from the first systematically dismantled safeguards to our Democracy through putting into positions of power sycophants who wish to curry favor by acceding to his wishes or ignoramuses who, having no idea what their jobs are supposed to be, are easily led by lobbyists, mega-donors, corporate interests, and others who are dominated by greed and possessed of the belief that having more trumps being more every time. Thus, in the example of the Judicial Branch of the government, we have seen a succession of Attorneys General in order to arrive at William Barr whose contempt of Congress can be viewed each time he is asked to appear before them and whose outright lies (his words about the Mueller Report being one example) have sullied the branch of government of which he is supposed to be the leader.

So here we are today. Interestingly, here we are just days after Trump had an undocumented phone call with Vladimir Putin. We can call the timing of this idea of postponing the election--days after his conversation with Putin--merely coincidence. We can ask each other, Twitter, the universe, or ourselves what it is that Putin "has" on Trump. We can even theorize that Putin can reveal Trump's money laundering for the Russians, his romping with prostitutes in Moscow, his suspicious monetary deals with Deutche Bank, his fraudulent businesses, the extent of his abuse of adolescent girls while in the company of his pal Jeffrey Epstein...and on and on. But I believe it's something rather different. I believe that from the moment Putin met Trump year ago, he knew exactly what he had: a stooge. No fool when it comes to human nature, Putin saw through Trump's braggadocio to the heart of the man: lacking in confidence, crippled by a life of privilege, embarrassed about his blatant ignorance and as a consequence desperate to cover it up, inept, eaten up by petty grievances, riven with jealousies. And seeing this, Putin knew how to play him. Not by threatening him but, despite his contempt for Trump, by puffing him up with attention, pretended deference,and fulsome compliments with regard to his talents.

What we know about human nature is that a person in possession of self-esteem and self-reliance, sure of who he is and sure of the value of what he has to contribute does not need to seek the approval of anyone. But Donald Trump does not have these qualities. Why he does not have them cannot be our concern at this point. But that he does not have them should be the concern of every person on this planet.

Elizabeth George


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