Trump's Attempted Coup Just a Repeat of Bush's Stolen Election Playbook from 2000


            Democrats and others are swallowing their tongues, expressing outrage and demanding that legislators who voted to challenge the results of the presidential election should resign or be removed from office. Why?

            Trump was just reprising, unsuccessfully, what Bush did in 2000 when neither the Republicans nor the Democrats accepted the results of the election.

            Bush got the Supreme Court to intervene to change Florida's rules for resolving disputed elections. In 2020, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito again wanted to get involved, but Chief Justice John Roberts is not the late Justice William Rehnquist. The court refused to involve itself in the disputed presidential election like it should have done two decades ago.

            In 2000, Republican congressional staff members converged in a mob on county Boards of Elections to thwart the counting and recounting of votes. In 2020, Trump mobilized his supporters to come to the Capitol to protest the counting of the electoral votes.

            Trump, who lost the election, was modeling the behavior Al Gore should have followed to secure the victory that the American people gave him. Gore did not have to accept the illegitimate intervention of the Supreme Court. He could have forced people to pay attention to the actual results, the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County with the thousands of Gore votes that were tallied for Buchanan, the old broken voting machines deliberately concentrated in the black districts of Duval County that disenfranchised 16,000 voters, the failure of Governor Jeb Bush to order a re-examination of all the ballots, including the 120,000 overvotes, that would have conclusively proved that Gore carried Florida. Then Gore could have lobbied, if necessary, for four electors to switch their votes.

            Thirteen members of the House of Representatives challenged the Florida electoral vote, mostly members of the Congressional Black Caucus: Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Carrie Meek, Rep. Corrine Brown, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Rep. Patsy Mink, Rep. Eva Clayton, Rep. Bob Filner, and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Of the thirteen, eleven were black, one was Asian, one was white and nine were women. But not a single senator would support the challenge. There wasn't a single black senator after Carol Moseley Braun was defeated for re-election in 1998.  No one in the Senate, not even newly-elected Senator Hillary Clinton, nor old-timers like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, John McCain, Joe Biden, Patrick Leahy, the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman or Republicans Susan Collins, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley and John McCain would support the House challenge. In 2000, the Democrats and Al Gore caved-in like a house of cards.

            The Democratic outrage at Trump's behavior reminds me of other clearly hypocritical conduct. The Democrats launched the war in Vietnam, yet, once Nixon came to power, they acted like Nixon had started the war and that they hadn't voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and passed war budget after war budget.

            In 2016, when F.B.I. Director James Comey resurfaced Hillary Clinton's email server issue ten days before the election, violating the informal understanding that the security services should not take actions that might influence elections; democrats were justifiably outraged. Yet, four months later, when President Trump fired Comey, the Democrats acted like Trump had committed a crime against humanity. Comey was a bum in October, and he was still a bum in March.

            The truth is that Donald Trump in 2020 showed how Al Gore should have behaved in 2000. The fact that there wasn't a single Senator to challenge the 2000 electoral vote is an enduring stain on the Democratic party and another reason that Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and John McCain lost.

            Even though Trump, like Bush, lost the election, the former can't be faulted for trying to get the Supreme Court to intervene and hand him the White House. The difference is that in 2020 Biden decided to wait a few days while the votes were being tabulated instead of imitating Gore by rushing to concede the election while millions of votes had yet to be counted. President Carter conceded before all the polls had even closed.

            Another difference is that Trump didn't have a father who was a former president and former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, an organization with a long history of overthrowing democratically elected governments.


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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf