“If Donald Trump carries the banner of my party, I think it taints conservativism for generations to come. I think his campaign is opportunistic, race baiting, religious bigotry, xenophobia. Other than that he’d be a good nominee.”
Those are the words of Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, spoken in 2016. He commented that choosing between Senator Ted Cruz and Donal Trump as the 2016 Republican candidate was “like being shot or poisoned”
What happened between 2016 and this November when Graham has turned out to be one of Donald Trump’s chief congressional facilitators and cheerleaders.
Neighbouring Georgia is controlled by the Republican party. Its Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, has revealed that Senator Graham had asked him whether it would be possible to invalidate legally cast ballots after Donald Trump was narrowly defeated in Georgia.
Raffensperger told the Washington Post that Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who recently rushed through the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Amy Comey Barrett, had asked him whether it was possible to make a case that political bias might have played a role where poll workers accepted higher rates of mismatched signatures on mail-in ballots and whether he could justify tossing out all mail-in ballots in those counties. Raffensperger was stated to be “stunned” by this inquiry. Graham, for his part, denied that his inquiry was in any way designed to invalidate legally cast absentee ballots.
Quite why Secretary Raffensperger would falsely accuse his fellow Republican is hard to understand or credit. But it is noteworthy that two Georgia Republican senators now facing challenging run-off elections in January also called for Raffensperger to resign for defending the Georgia result..
Rudi Guliani and the Trump clique are campaigning to invalidate the result of the Presidential election on the basis that many voting machines supplied by a Toronto based contractor called Dominion may have been pre-programmed to steal Trump votes. Lacking any evidence to support this particular conspiracy theory, they suggest that Dominion did business in Venezuela and added that the Venezuela link probably evidenced Chinese involvement in the electoral fraud.
Senator Graham is an appalling example of the self-serving Republican chameleon. Realising that his earlier rejection of Trump was damaging to his own chances of re-election to the US senate, he cravenly ate all his words as outlined above and quietly fell into the Trump slipstream.
What has changed in the meantime is that Trump is no longer an insurgent in the Republican Party; he has effective control of it. The “stolen election” narrative is designed to create a wholly dishonest sense of victimhood among the Republican base which will sustain it in opposition to President elect Biden during his term which commences in January.
The stolen election narrative is aimed at creating a pretext for deep-seated prejudice as was done with the racist “Birther” slur invented by the Republicans, including Donald Trump, to undermine the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency.
I recently finished Robert Caro’s “Master of the Senate” volume of Lyndon Johnston’s biography. The post-war Senate portrayed by Caro contained a bastion of southern white supremacism which used every means in Washington to prevent federally guaranteed voting rights for blacks in the southern states, every attempt to defend the civil rights of those black citizens, and even the introduction of effective anti-lynching laws.
Segregated southern blacks were prevented from voting by a variety of means including intimidation if they registered, biased general knowledge tests conducted orally by “good ole boy” administrators, and poll taxes designed to exclude the poor. Southern senators, then mainly Democrats, resisted federal reforms on the ground that they interfered with State rights guaranteed under the US Constitution. The “good ole boys” haven’t changed their agenda –just their tactics.
As I have warned here, Trump is reported to have asked senior advisors in the Oval Office last Thursday whether he could launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facility. Apparently he was only dissuaded by Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, and the acting Defence Secretary, and Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff.
Trump would do anything to create a crisis that would justify retention of office. He will try to use political scorched earth tactics between now and Inauguration Day in eleven weeks’ time.
World peace and American democracy remain in serious peril. The likes of Lindsey Graham, and all Trump’s “sneaking regarders”, are complicit by their silence in this great evil.