By Stump Connolly

          Let’s try this again. Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. Decisively. By a wide margin. In a free and fair election.

          Donald, can you step to the front of the class and say it? I am a loser. Yes, it is humiliating to have to admit it. But we can only have one teacher at a time in this class, and until you say it there are students here who will go to their grave believing America chooses its leaders based on who has the most twitter followers, not who got the most votes.

          On Monday, the Electoral College, a quaint institution set up by your favorite founding fathers in what is called a constitution, will certify that Joe Biden received 81,282,903 votes, and Donald Trump got 74,223,030. They were cast, in person or by mail, at tens of thousands of local polling places.

          Republican and Democratic volunteers came together, as they do every election, to make sure the election machinery ran smoothly. This was especially hard this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many longtime poll workers didn’t volunteer for fear of contracting the virus, and a majority of voters chose to send in absentee ballots for the same reason. The counting took longer than expected, but state and county election officials anticipated the problem and set up safeguards to make sure every vote was counted, tracked and recorded properly. Poll workers didn’t complain about the laborious process, even as your designated “poll watchers” peeked over their shoulders and shot videos of them through the windows.

          Christopher Krebs, the director of cybersecurity you appointed to safeguard the election process, called it “the most secure election in American history.”

          The state-by-state totals gave Biden 306 electoral college votes to your 232, the same margin that you called a landslide four years ago. In five states, at the insistence of Republicans, the votes were recounted (three times in Georgia). The results did not change.

          On Election Night, you started a drumbeat that led us to the current moment. At 2:20 in the morning, to the accompaniment of “Hail to the Chief”, you stepped to the microphone to declare yourself the winner and decree that all voting must stop. You were so proud of the states where you appeared to be winning or held big leads, then you said, “all of a sudden everything stopped. This is a fraud on the American republic, this is an embarrassment to our country.  We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.” And you added, “We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning to add them to the list. As far as I’m concerned, we already have won this.”

          When you declared your victory, only 85 percent of the votes had been counted – 7 million fewer than the 2016 vote total and 23 million votes short of the ultimate tally. But you couldn’t get it out of your head that the Democrats “stole” your election. So you spent the rest of the night riffing on Twitter (22 times) about secret late night ballot dumps, rigged machines, dead people voting, switched votes, deleted votes, and a nefarious Democratic plot to steal your election.

          In your mind, the narrative was set. The next day your crack legal team, led by the Covid cousins Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, set about trying to prove it. They filed 40 lawsuits in 40 different state courts, and 39 of them were dismissed for lack of evidence. Finally, as the last state legislature certified Biden’s win Tuesday, the Supreme Court unanimously refused to consider a desperate challenge to the Pennsylvania voting law that already had been upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

          Over the weeks following the election, you have obsessed over your defeat, to the exclusion of anything else. If 75 people walked into your Oval Office, the Washington Post’s Ashley Parker reported, they got 75 versions of the same rant. You were robbed. Even as you held your vaccine summit, you kept hoping somebody would step in to reverse the outcome. “Let’s see whether or not somebody has the courage, whether it’s a legislator or legislatures, or whether it’s a Justice of the Supreme Court or a number of Justices of the Supreme Court, let’s see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right.”

          Your despair over your loss is understandable. You ran a terrific campaign by modern day standards. You raised and spent over $1 billion, mostly on the internet, before the campaign even began. Your rallies generated millions of email addresses that were fed into a sophisticated database your campaign used to target supporters by states, counties and 100 other criterion. The highest rated cable channel, Fox News, turned into a perpetual propaganda channel for you. Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs and Laura Ingraham carried your water for you every night. And you garnered 74 million votes – 12 million more than you got in 2016.

          Unfortunately, Joe Biden got 81 million – from people who’d had enough of your lies, your indecency, your ego, your self-dealing, your callow behavior, your profound ignorance and reckless incompetence. Their votes went to a man campaigning in a mask from his basement on the promise he would bring an end to the sturm und drang of the Trump Years. “Will you shut up, man!” he said, and in that phrase, he captured the mood of the nation.

          So Donald, accept it. You lost. Now please step to the chalk board and write 100 times I’m a loser, I’m a loser, I’m a loser, I’m a loser, I’m a loser, I’m a loser, I’m a loser, I’m a loser, I’m a loser, I’m a loser . . .

          And never forget it.



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