This is a brilliant post by Louisiana-based Democratic activist Lamar White…check it out (bolding added by me for emphasis).
Fair warning: This is another long note- more than 1,100 words- but I better say it all now, on the eve of the next Presidency.
The very first vote I ever cast was for Al Gore. I’ll never forget election night that year. I was at the undergraduate pub at Rice (yes, we have one of those), and Florida had been called for Gore, effectively making him the next President.
We cheered. We high-fived. We all breathed a heavy sigh of relief. And then, I walked back to my dorm room, believing things had been settled, but by the time I arrived, it had all changed. The networks said they were wrong: Bush had won Florida. Maybe. Or maybe it was too close to call.
Over the next month, we learned that thousands of Floridians had mistakenly cast their votes for Pat Buchanan, because Florida used an almost deliberately confusing butterfly ballot. We learned about hanging chads. We realized that a fair recount was practically impossible in a state led by George W. Bush’s older brother and a woman named Katherine Harris, who oversaw elections as Florida’s Secretary of State and was an outspoken Republican partisan.
Legal teams descended on Florida. Bush’s team was headed by James Baker III, who- coincidentally- worked most days out of his office at Rice. (I lived then at Baker College, named after his grandfather, James Baker, Sr.). Baker and company knew that all they needed to do was protect their turf in order to maintain their razor-thin 537 vote advantage. Gore’s team, however, miscalculated, attempting to initiate recounts only in the counties in which they knew had already advantaged them.
There should have been a statewide recount and a hand count of all undervotes (those that appeared not to include a vote for President) and overvotes, and if there had been, Al Gore would have probably won Florida (albeit even more narrowly than Bush, according to a $1 million post-election analysis conducted by 8 different news organizations).
But Gore never requested either of these things, and the United States Supreme Court- in a split decision and the only one in history the Court said did not constitute legal precedent- handed the state of Florida and the presidency to Gov. Bush.
Because of the uncertainty (and to be fair, we will never definitively know who would have won had there been a statewide recount) and because Gore won 550,000 more votes nationwide than Bush did, Bush’s election would always be considered illegitimate to millions and millions of Americans.
In other words, my introduction to American presidential politics was an election that seemed to have been rigged- by the Republican candidate’s brother and his Secretary of State, by a news media that couldn’t get its facts straight, and by the five United States Supreme Justices who had been appointed by Republican presidents (including the Republican candidate’s father).
Bush’s presidency was unquestionably disastrous: the most devastating terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history, a dramatic intrusion on our privacy rights, an erosion of fundamental due process rights, the widespread use of torture, the beginning of the two longest and most expensive wars in American history, the manufactured lies about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the dismissal of the “reality-based community,” the failures of the federal government after Hurricane Katrina, and the worst recession since the Great Depression.
But the era that begins tomorrow portends to be much worse.
George W. Bush may have been terrible on policy; he may have outsourced much of his decision-making authority to a warmongering Vice President and Secretary of Defense. But Bush still had his personal charms, and perhaps because of his father’s tenure, he understood the dignity and professionalism demanded by the job.
After 9/11, Bush personally visited a mosque and declared that “Islam is a religion of peace.” He understood that if America framed those attacks in the language of a religious war, then we would be validating the terrorists’s perversion of a faith shared by more than 1.3 billion people and millions of our fellow citizens.
Donald Trump, however, has thus far demonstrated nothing that even remotely reassures the majority of Americans who opposed his election that he truly and thoroughly understands his next job or that he respects the dignity and the rights of his critics, people he refers to as his “enemies.” He demeans women, the disabled, war heroes, Gold Star families, Muslims, immigrants, African-Americans, and the basic function of the press. This isn’t normal.
Yesterday, we learned that Trump has still yet to appoint anyone to his National Security Council except Gen. Michael Flynn, a man who trafficked in fake news and conspiracy theories throughout the campaign. Whereas Sec. Clinton’s team had a plan to coordinate with the outgoing NSC only two days after the election, Trump’s team waited more than two weeks. The entire council is vacant.
We also learned that the Obama administration prepared 275 different reports for the Trump team- more than 1,000 pages of confidential intelligence on the most important issues in the world. Trump’s team hasn’t yet bothered to read a single page.
Serious people don’t behave like this.
Our next President ridicules and dismisses the very institutions he will now lead. We were sold hackneyed bluster- entertainment- and not thoughtful, substantive policy.
In short, he doesn’t know what he is doing. This is performance art, the newest reality television show starring Donald Trump.
Bush was considered illegitimate because of the circumstances surrounding the Florida recount. That meets one definition of the word “illegitimate,” but as others have pointed out, Trump’s victory meets the other definition of the word: He isn’t illegitimate because of disputes over the 80,000 margin with which he captured the Electoral College. He’s not illegitimate because he lost the national popular vote by 2.8 million.
Trump is illegitimate because he was swept into office by a torrent of fake news, the actions of an FBI Director who appears to have violated the Hatch Act, and the thoroughly-documented interference ordered by an adversarial foreign government.
His illegitimacy is more pernicious, because it’s not only a result of the failure of American institutions, it’s also a result of series of criminal actions undertaken by a foreign dictator who understood that his grasp on power would have been threatened if Americans had elected a former Secretary of State quite familiar with his brutality. Months ago, when the former director of the CIA called Trump an unwitting agent of Russia, many thought he was exaggerating. Today, that seems undeniable. Trump has criticized almost everyone under the sun, but he’s offered nothing but praise for Vladimir Putin. That’s not a mere coincidence.
Some of my Republican friends may implore me and others to simply give Trump a chance to prove himself. We did. He’s had a chance since he announced his candidacy in June of 2015.
We aren’t going to waste any time by waiting for him to change his entire personality and agenda.
Day One of the opposition begins tomorrow.