Donald Trump’s US election chaos is a gift to enemies of America and a threat to democracy
- As the outgoing US president tries to discredit the results without evidence of wrongdoing, most Republicans either agree or stay silent
- Their party’s confusion is a condition America’s enemies should be optimistic about, and one more dangerous than the surge in Covid-19 infections across the US
“I think it just adds to the confusion and chaos,” John Cornyn, a Texas Republican re-elected to the US Senate for a fourth term this month, said last week about US President Donald Trump’s firing of Christopher Krebs.
The “chaos” of the 2020 US election arises from Trump’s efforts to discredit the results without any evidence of wrongdoing, as well as most of the Republican Party either agreeing with the president or remaining silent on what is possibly his most headline-grabbing act yet.
“I’m sure I’m not the only one that would like some return to a little bit more of a – I don’t even know what’s normal any more,” he said, summarising perfectly the reason Moscow can rest easy even if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s preferred candidate lost.
All previous election losers in modern American history conceded before all votes were certified because they knew the country’s institutions and customs would endure. As the history of their contests were written, they would not have wanted to be portrayed as the kind of obstreperous child Trump has been throughout his tenure.
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Trump has taken an axe to the ties that had always grounded Republicans, a party that used to defer to the organs of power, such as the judiciary and the FBI, or the country’s chambers of commerce as the touchstones of their conservative identities.
Now they are more inclined to support Trump’s efforts to undermine these very institutions or remain silent as the president tries to pulverise them. Amid the “chaos”, traditional Republicans such as Cornyn are trying to figure out what stance will bolster their electoral prospects instead of reasserting the principles that made their party successful before 2016.
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Cornyn and many others like him do not seem to know yet. Their befuddlement is a condition that all of America’s enemies should be optimistic about, and one more dangerous than the surging coronavirus infections throughout the country.
Robert Delaney is the Post’s North America bureau chief