by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV
The idea that Donald J. Trump could be (even the guy cleaning up behind the horse of) a white knight acting in favor of integrity is laughable, hypocritical and certainly controversial, but that is what a disaster United States political culture truly is.
The man who has been nationally lampooned as a rich buffoon and denigrated as a real estate shark for decades prior to 2016 is now being held up by half the country as a moral leader and living “founding father”. In the American context these persons may somehow even be proven somewhat right, but that is what a disaster United States political culture truly is.
Since the November 3rd vote we’ve all been asking: Where’s Donald? Only future historians can tell us if Trump was right to wait a month before finally formally declaring that he would litigate in order to ensure a judicial verification of a highly- and long-disputed vote. That’s a long time for moral reflection, but in the context of today’s hyper-hyper-polarised US politics it’s been half a lifetime.
In the disputed election of 2000 Al Gore conceded, allegedly for the good of the country, on December 13th – the day before the Electoral College voted that year. This year the College must also cast their ballot on December 14th. On December 2nd Trump gave a 45-minute speech in which he promised to not concede, also allegedly for the good of the country.
What Trump’s speech means is that the US constitution insists that the nation’s political drama is about to explode.
Probably even sooner than December 14: December 8th is known as the “safe harbor” date, because all states must have resolved their disputes by then. Justified or not, they do not currently appear to be resolved satisfactorily for scores of millions of Americans.
For the average Bidenite the blinders are completely on – perhaps they never even could see anything “over there” in Trumpland, which for some reason is a foreign country to many Bidenites. They insist that, “It’s over”. That’s fine – nobody is paying them to give objective, hard-news, daily journalism. They’re free to editorialise all they want. However, saying, “It’s over, Biden won,” is gypsy future-telling, a way to censor political conversation and it also ignores the historical gravity of Trump’s speech – this election is not “over” in any sort of historically-normal way whatsoever: What US election has ever been “over” like this?
Maybe Trump’s speech will deserve to be ignored in the history books? Maybe it will go down as the day history was changed? As this is my editorial I’m entitled to make whatever wild prediction I like, but I’d rather use it to point out just how badly my US journalist colleagues are performing at the craft (not profession) of journalism.
It was certainly quite a speech, indeed
The sitting US president publicly blasted the nation’s electoral process as having allowed, “fraud and abuse to occur on a scale never seen before”.
To my American journalist colleagues: that’s news.
Countless top American journalists refused to report on it. I’ll pass on a couple highlights:
“As president I have no higher duty than to defend the laws and the constitution of the United States,” said Trump, relating a political fact. “That is why I’m determined to protect our election system, which is now under coordinated assault and siege,” said Trump, making a claim for which he’ll have to provide overwhelming evidence, and quickly. “This is not just about honouring the votes of 74 million Americans who voted for me – it’s about ensuring that Americans can have faith in this election and in all future elections,” said Trump, in a statement which is seen in America as either patriotism or shameless partisan duplicity.
Trump listed a litany of alleged offences made across the country and claimed to have massive amounts of evidence to support him – these claims will have to be decided in court, definitively. Initially, however, they are decided in the court of public opinion.
However, the problem here is that US corporate media (and the tiny amount of state media) was so flagrantly biased against Trump’s speech that we probably can’t find 12 untainted people to fill a jury for one the many, many trials Trump seems to demand.
“Acting crazy”, “Propaganda”, “My God, He’s Completely Insane” – this all journalistically-false but very real headlines from the very top US media. This is truly treatment reserved for foreign leaders who are currently threatening war on your country, not your own president.
Amazingly, CNN wouldn’t even air the speech. Is that the last pound on the head of the 2016-begun nail in the coffin for viewing them as “America’s television media of record”? The problem is: what other US corporate entity is a better alternative?
The reason I – for the first time – feel comfortable using the term “civil war” to describe the modern US is: 74 million Trump voters may now see themselves as being attacked and violated. Any sober analysis shows that the November 3rd vote (like it or not) was a concretisation and not a repudiation of “Trumpism” – they prevailed at the state legislative and executive levels, they made gains in the House of Representatives, they will likely hold on to Senate, judges at both the Supreme Court and local level are dominated by conservatives – they won everywhere but the US presidency, in fact. Therefore, anyone with a sense of fair play and tolerance realises that they deserve to be taken seriously; anyone with a survival instinct may realise that trying to push them around may find that they are quickly outnumbered in many areas.
But media opinion and public opinion don’t have any real weight in court. However, a fatal mistake often being made abroad is assuming that US public opinion is as anti-Trump as media opinion is. One merely needs to refer to the November 3rd results to see how incorrect that idea is. Seventy-four million Trumpers do have their media, but it is certainly not read outside of the US and must be searched for domestically.
One doesn’t have to like Trump or Trumpism, but calling them all “insane” is a way to start a fight, no?
I have never given much credence to the idea that the US is going to explode in election-related violence – above all, this was a sensationalistic US media ploy to demonise Trumpism, to distract from real issues, to get ratings and to increase Democratic turnout – but the events of this week definitely push the US further along that path. It is still very far off, I must add.
Conclusion: the current state of two different battles – the electoral and the cultural
Electorally: I am not going to waste your time by falsely claiming all of Trump’s allegations have either no merit or much merit – only a hysterical partisan is doing that. We should assume that those making false election claims in court will be punished for daring to make false claims.
I will note that I don’t believe US elections can withstand serious scrutiny, and that they were repeatedly ranked by places like Harvard as the worst of the core Western democracies. Allegations of widespread voter fraud – like here in Chicago – laughingly go back to the time of Kennedy, and all Americans know this.
On the other hand, I also note that if Joe Biden’s projected victory is reversed due to proven election fraud this would be not just a “once in a century” story but even more astounding than even that, in the American context. I’m not one to bet on the longest of long shots, unless I feel like wasting some money.
Anyway, that is all just journalistic hot air: courts have to decide on evidence, which is allegedly not all presented – we should not declare prematurely. After Gore conceded prematurely they found that 14% of African-American Floridians had their ballots questionably tossed – that’s not exactly “voter fraud”, but it certainly does render the 2000 American presidential results “fraudulent”.
Nobody here cares about though, strangely? Maybe not even African-American Floridians?
Maybe it’s the media, which now includes the appallingly censorious Twitter and Facebook?
But the inexorable, oppressive, inescapable (and undoubtedly pro-Bidenite) mantra here is “we need to quickly move on”, exactly as it was in America exactly 20 years ago.
Since 2000 nothing is learned; nothing is paid for; no reparations are given; no apologies are made; if America does it or wants it no rules apply because everything they do is exceptional, but only because they live in a vacuum divorced from history and just consequences.
Electorally: The rest of the world is advised to keep waiting – who knows what whims an imperial hegemon will take?
Culturally: I believe it might somewhat explode here given the content of Trump’s speech, the seeming impossibility of coordinating a proper & broadly-accepted judicial review of the vote before the upcoming Electoral College procedures (these dates are prescribed in the US Constitution and would require an already do-nothing Congress to modify), as well as the total war against it from the US media class.
But the math is simple: Two-thirds of the country voted. That means one-third of the country doesn’t care and probably wants it over. One third went to Biden. So it’s fair to guess that for almost 70% of the voting eligible population, “It’s over”. Really. Any talk of civil war must include this endemic American apathy, caused by the atrociousness inequality of their antiquated and aristocratic system, which implicitly sides with the status quo in its irresponsible sloth.
A reversal of Biden’s projected win implies, as I wrote, something of a revolution. In history civil wars have been launched by one-third of the population, but winning them without recourse to secession is certainly rare, and a change installed by only one-third of the population is not a revolution at all. Certainly, any Trumper “explosion” would have to be entirely grassroots, as the media wouldn’t cover it any more than they covered Trump’s historic speech, and it would have to be nearly clandestine, as Facebook and Twitter are now so incredibly and heavily censored. Finally, the US is imperialist and thus there is no revolution possible at all – Trumper or otherwise – they are barely able to have a functioning “democracy with imperialist characteristics”.
I can report that despite what a disaster United States political culture truly is the US system – like it or not – certainly seems to be democratically supported by the (highly propagandised) majority, therefore the world is obligated to respect its processes and results.
The problem for the entire world is that many inside the US do not or will not support the processes surrounding this 2020 presidential election, and that implies either broken processes or a broken culture.
When the imperial hegemon’s culture is broken that is either cause for concern or celebration, depending on your class. And maybe the US is not broken, but just breaking?
4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020
US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020
A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020
CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020
‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020
Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020
80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.