MINOT, N.D. — It's hard to lose.
It's hard to be lectured about losing gracefully by people who did anything but in 2016, when it was clear that Donald Trump had won the election and the Democrats were already plotting ways to derail his administration, up to and including impeachment. Many of them the same people who were touting conspiracy theories about Diebold voting machines in the early aughts after George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore.
But if you're putting your faith in claims of election fraud being made by Trump and his lawyers — notably Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — you're being conned.
They are deceiving you. They are exploiting you.
Giuliani is a disgrace, and that's before we get to the incoherent legal arguments he's made in favor of his client. He got punked by Borat — he was adjusting his microphone, you guys — and is so incompetent he ended up holding a high-profile news conference in Pennsylvania standing outside of a landscaping business right next door to a porn shop.
As I watched a video of the man's face seeming to melt off on national television, I read some wag on Reddit suggest that the "9/11 mayor has become the 9/11 of mayors."
Powell, meanwhile, probably couldn't find a more credulous audience for her claims of vote fraud than the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News, and somehow she still managed to turn things into a disaster.
"We took Sidney Powell seriously with no intention of fighting with her. We’ve always respected her work, we simply wanted to see the details. How could you not want to see them? So we invited Sydney Powell on the show. We would have given her the whole hour. We would have given her the entire week, actually, and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention," Carlson said on his show yesterday. "But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of polite requests. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her."
If your evidence of vote fraud can't even stand up to the burden of proof set by a friendly cable news quidnunc, eagerly standing by to gobble up your talking points, maybe you don't really have any evidence at all.
As for Trump, one day, I suspect a lot of his most ardent supporters will wake up and realize that his campaign and presidency was one long con. A monument built to the man's enormous ego, not-so-hidden behind a thin veneer of ideology and policy.
Yes, Trump correctly identified and exploited some genuine angst in the American body politic, and yes, his administration made some useful policy and appointed some good judges.
Talked to @jmmeny for @KXMB about how the @realDonaldTrump Administration’s work with North Dakota’s energy producers, scientists, and stakeholders has helped bolster America’s energy dominance. pic.twitter.com/J1f1JHy15M— Sen. Kevin Cramer (@SenKevinCramer) November 20, 2020
Are those accomplishments worth the havoc Trump has wrought? I'm not talking about the stain he's put on the conservative/Republican brand, though that won't wash away any time soon.
I'm talking about the work he's doing to undermine the faith Americans have in some fundamental things.
And to what end is Trump doing this? Does he really believe the election was stolen from him? Or is he just putting on another show to keep his ratings up and keep his audience in their seats as he readies his post-presidency ventures?
It's time to let Trump go.
He's a one-term president who managed to drag a nation down a rabbit hole of hate and mistrust.
Let's leave it at that and move forward to a future where we all, whatever our politics, aspire to something better than what we've been during the Trump era.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.