Drain the Swamp With Trump In It

By Susan Estrich

November 21, 2020 6 min read

This is getting absolutely ridiculous. Rudy Giuliani's money grab. The utter waste of resources, all of it aimed at stopping the state from certifying election results that show Joe Biden has won. Weeks of searching that brought just two people whose ballots were rejected as inaccurate, called by the president himself, in the hopes that they would convince the judge to throw out every other vote and eliminate Pennsylvania from the Electoral College vote. Two ballots invalidating tens of millions — not going to happen. I am beginning to feel sorry for the lawyers who keep filing these frivolous suits knowing that they could be sanctioned for it. And should be.

Every day has been the same since the election. Every day, they file another lawsuit; they lose; lawyers quit or are fired; new increasingly unqualified lawyers are found. For all their efforts, the Trump lawyers have won only one suit in Pennsylvania, the focus of their attention. But the state Supreme Court just reversed it. Of the countless lawsuits filed, Trump has lost virtually every one. Giuliani's utter ineffectiveness this week in a Pennsylvania hearing — his inability to present any specifics whatsoever to back up his claims of nationwide fraud and his clumsy performance under questioning — strongly suggests (actually, proves) that the expenditure of millions of dollars to prove with evidence that the election was crooked has failed entirely in the courts.

To be clear, the orderly transfer of power is the hallmark of a democracy. Trump never cared much for the Constitution, and it shows. His determination to hold on to his base, to convince it that the election was stolen and that he is fighting back, is not helping in Georgia. But Trump is keeping the base angry and focused. Trump wants his hardcore base to resist Biden at every point, to turn Trump himself into the figure that Biden must deal with, not his colleagues in the Senate or elsewhere.

Trump has been trying and succeeding in convincing people, certainly his base, that the election process was unfair, and even that the presidency was stolen from him. That they can't prove it in court is just a reason to attack the courts. In the alternate reality that Trump has created and that Republican cowards play lip service to, the election isn't over; the transition can't begin; and if Biden is inaugurated, as he will be, it will be the debut of Trump's new television show on which he claims Biden is an illegitimate president. Trump has a base whose strength and strong-held beliefs will, if he plays it right, be a power for him to "reclaim" the job that no one apparently has had the guts to tell him he lost. If you're looking for cowards, look no further than the yes-men around Trump, and that is the last thing he needs.

Or if you want to be bipartisan, look at California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The other big story, probably the only story big enough to challenge Trump's public breakdowns, is the coronavirus, where politicians should serve as role models as infections spike. Except for Newsom. It's not just that he went out to dinner with 12 friends, including a number of major medical lobbyists, to celebrate another one of the lobbyist's birthdays. They also sat closely and, according to pictures, without wearing masks. The glass door that opened to the patio was reportedly shut at least part of the time to provide greater privacy for their discussions, no doubt of issues entirely unrelated to health care. No one appeared to have a mask on, even though most were not eating. "Do as I say, not as I do" simply doesn't work.

What makes it even worse is that Newsom's original response was clearly the work of a weasel. He claimed that he "took safety precautions," but the pictures clearly show there were more than three families at the celebration. Newsom hasn't denied the photos' accuracy. What credibility does this man have when he tells us to stay home while he goes out to drink and dine with lobbyists?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, I should add, may be even less popular than Newsom. The inconsistencies of his regulations, the warnings followed by nothing, the clear inability to stand up to anyone — all of this has marked the mayor's term. His big accomplishment is one that seems a little ridiculous today: hosting the Olympics, maybe, in 2028. This is what he has to show for himself. The homelessness problem is out of control. There are countless kids who aren't even registered for school. Garcetti's promise to address homelessness while protecting neighborhoods has led to failed "bridge" refugee camps on expensive city property, while meth users and bike thieves operate openly in front of the police. When people heard that he might be up for a job in transportation, everyone laughed. Garcetti is an expert in traffic; we have more of it than we did before he became mayor, and we're still holding our breath to see if we are the last major city to have a train to the airport.

Do you think we could get rid of all three of them? Trump needs to go, of course, but we'll do that; it's Newsom and Garcetti who may be next in line.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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