Trump’s Incredible Myopia

A Trump challenge to the outcome of the election in Pennsylvania makes it to the Supreme Court.

The word is out that Samuel Alito, Associate Justice for the Supreme Court of the United States, has taken up a case from Pennsylvania. The goal of the plaintiff is to disenfranchise millions of voters who voted for Joe Biden in the Keystone State. They want to either throw out millions of mail-in ballots or let the GOP controlled General Assembly to choose the electors this year. Trump and his allies are seeking a Perry Mason Moment.

I’ve never watched Perry Mason, but I heard about it long ago when I used to read a website called groklaw.net. On that website, they chronicled and crowdsourced numerous lawsuits about intellectual property. The site was run by a woman named Pamela Jones and all the other people who helped her run the site and manage it were quite enamored of her. She had fantastic prose, great humor, and was very knowledgeable in the law as a paralegal herself.

From time to time, she talked about those Perry Mason moments and how they’re not allowed. Such a moment is what we’d see in the pretended courtrooms of the Perry Mason show. At that moment, at the climax of the show, a witness bursts in with new evidence not seen by the counsel for the defendant or plaintiff. Or they’d bring in some document not seen by the other side at the last minute to clinch victory from the jaws of defeat.

That kind of stuff is not allowed in any courtroom. As a matter of principle and the law, both sides are entitled to review and challenge all available evidence in a judicial proceeding. Both sides are entitled to question the evidence before it’s shown to a jury. Then the judge will rule as to whether the evidence presented is proper for the jury to hear or see. This is what a few members of the Pennsylvania statehouse are hoping to see.

The story of the Trump campaign’s challenge to the outcome in Pennsylvania has been widely circulating in this news cycle. There were a few interesting facts to note. The lawsuit is over a law that was passed a year ago, before the pandemic. The purpose of the law was to expand mail-in voting and to make it easier to vote. Now comes the GOP, two weeks after the election, and 3 days before the election results are certified, and they want to knock it down now because they say the law violates the Pennsylvania constitution.

I can see why they might have wanted to wait. They didn’t want their opponents to have time to cure any defects in the law before the next election. Courts will do that. They’ll give you all kinds of feedback to fix your errors and then let you come back to show them your work. The GOP had a whole year to mount an offense, instead, they laid in wait for this to come. Had this gone their way, there would have been no objection, right? Mail-in ballots are cool if Trump wins.

Republicans are ostensibly for states’ rights. They believe in the Constitution and federalism as long as it goes their way. If the pendulum swings the wrong way, they get out of sorts. Normally, they’d be rooting for the state to prevail, but in this election case, they’d much rather see the federal government trounce the right of the state to determine how their elections should be run. Huh. Remember how they went all the way up to the Supreme Court to gut the Voting Rights Act in the name of states’ rights? Yeah, I thought so.

The Supreme Court is shy about overruling the states. They have a tendency to say, “Oof. That’s a political question. We can’t touch that.” But with a 6–3 majority, they are free to rip up any sense of decency if they want to, no matter what John Roberts may have said about the legitimacy of the court. It’ll take at least a generation to fix the damage they could do today if they wanted to. And there is Trump, at the podium of his unadulterated rally, egging on his majority at the Supreme Court to deconstruct the election and put it back together in his name.

The Trump campaign is full of some really short term thinking here. Anything they can do, the Democrats can do. It’s just a matter of who’s in power. No party can hold a majority forever. One year, you have a trifecta, you have the House, the Senate, and the White House. The next year, you’re caught flatfooted by a pandemic, despite having access to some of the best intelligence gathering in the world. This is the mindset of the Trump campaign. The only thing that’s fair in this world right now for them is how the economy works. As long as they get to write the rules in favor of their friends and families, they’re happy.

But to lose the White House after only one term, that’s an insult they cannot bear in some parts. Now I’m mindful of some of the more mature Republicans who can handle losing. They know they’ll be back. But the tiny minority of the GOP that is squirming and fighting over the outcome of this election over the loss of the White House, are demonstrating myopia in the extreme. They appear to be ungrateful that they won 8 governors mansions this year to the 2 that the Democrats won. The GOP won majorities in many statehouses across the country. It’s just that their prized stud bull President Trump, was gored, and I know how disappointing that could be. I wanted Bernie Sanders and look at what I got. Joe Biden.

There will be a next time. There will be another time. To see President Trump carrying on the way he did and continues to do so is just embarrassing. I read the international news and he’s a joke to them, the other countries around the world. The biggest countries in the world can run a far more orderly election than we can, and they have more than two parties running the country. Their contempt for Donald Trump is palpable.

Trump won’t concede, but he’s already prepping for 2024. He’s already talking about it. So you can’t run for President in 2024 unless you lose this one. Trump wants it both ways. He’d dearly like to stay in the limelight until the end of his days because he can’t stand to see himself for what he really is. If everyone is paying attention to him, he won’t have to pay attention to himself and notice that he still doesn’t know who he is. He’s just another human being who wants some attention.

So if I was in the GOP, watching what some very shortsighted people in the GOP are doing, I’d be worrying. I’d be wondering what kind of precedents could be set here that Democrats could use in the future. Do we really want it to be that easy to take down the outcome of this election? That’s what Trump is asking us to do. Anything that the GOP can do to unwind their loss in this election, well, that would count against their wins, too. That would count for future elections, as well. If the GOP could do it, the Democrats could do it.

If I were a member of the GOP, pining away for Trump to pull a win out of the courts this year, I’d be very, very careful to consider what I wished for.

Write on.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store