Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

“Trump is evil for not conceding” and other nonsense

with one comment

A particular annoyance around the POTUS election is the apparent obsession with (a) whether/that Trump concedes the election and (b) the presumed need to forcefully remove him from office (or his physical presence from the White House, or whatnot).

Even discounting the fact that Trump has very, very legitimate reasons to not concede as things currently stand, this is highly irrational, evil rhetoric, or plain insanity.

Firstly, for the losing party to officially concede is a mere courtesy—it has no major* legal or other practical effect. Here I strongly suspect that it is either a matter of further demonizing Trump through illegitimate means or of trying to avoid the very real possibility of Trump winning in court. Neither is an acceptable motivation, especially as it is of great importance that the gross misbehaviors involved in this election are investigated even should they not actually have changed the outcome or eventually turn out to be too hard to prove and/or remedy.

*Looking at details, there might or might not be some set of circumstance where the conceding party reduces his own options or where a concession would necessitate some secondary actions to be legitimate. For instance, continuing various law suits around e.g. election integrity or the results from some specific state or county might be harder and/or pointless. (However, not even that is entirely off the table, as there are other concerns than “who won” involved, including getting rid of bad eggs and ensuring that future elections are run differently.)

Secondly, there has not been one shred of proof that Trump (should he not win) would even attempt to remain in office past inauguration day. This is a very clear case of further demonization: just claim “Trump is so evil that he will never leave unless we send in the Navy Seals*” and some stupid people will believe it. He is effectively accused of the intent to commit a crime** in two months time—and pronounced guilty without proof, without any true current indication,*** and without even having had the opportunity to commit the crime.

*And why the Navy Seals is unclear to me: not only do they seem as an illogical choice, but their involvement would, in turn, stand the risk of being an illegal act. I have not investigated who is the proper choice, but the Secret Service seems much more plausible, as do some law-enforcement unit executing a court order.

**Whether literally or figuratively is currently unclear to me.

***In contrast, speculation around Biden (voluntarily or involuntarily, de jure or merely de facto) being replaced by Harris in the not-too-distant future has a much higher plausibility. The claim remains speculation, but it is a legitimate concern (and one that actually would have a practical effect—unlike with Trump and the next item). Also contrast claims around future policy and actions in office made based on a candidates own stated plans and those that are baseless, horribly exaggerated, or taken out of context, as with the horrifying Goldwater will cause WWIII propaganda.

Notably, neither the non-concession nor the lack of current cooperation with a transition is a such a shred of proof: The former is similar to saying that “someone who pleads ‘not guilty’ will refuse to go to jail if convicted (which just proves how extra super-duper guilty he is)”. The latter is irrelevant, as Biden is not the “president elect” at this stage—and would not be so even if the election had been beyond reproach. He only becomes the “president elect” if and when the electoral college says so—and until then any cooperation by Trump would be a mere courtesy.

Thirdly, even if a losing Trump declared himself the still-POTUS and somehow did manage to occupy the White House, what would that practically change? Except for logistic inconveniences, hardly anything: As with the Presidential Twitter* account, his status as this-or-that would automatically be transferred to Biden with the inauguration ceremony. This is not some scenario from a fantasy novel where sitting on a magic throne or wearing a magic crown gives someone the right of command regardless of who is the acknowledged king.

*What motivated me to write this text was a claim in a Swedish news source that Twitter was handing the account over to Biden, given undue weight and the appearance that it was something happening here-and-now. Reading deeper, it was clear that Twitter had asserted that it would be following the same procedure as when Trump was inaugurated and transfer the rights at the time of the inauguration (implicitly, with reservations for the eventuality that Trump wins and makes the transfer unnecessary)—complete and utter non-news, in other words.

Excursion on pre-accusations and distortions:
I have a strong impression that this type of pre-accusations and distortions do not merely arise out of incompetence, sensationalism, or another “traditional” weakness of journalists, but as outright manipulation attempts. Consider similarly the pre-accusation that Trump would not concede the election, no matter the result—there was not one shred of proof that he would refuse to concede a legitimate and uncontroversial loss, but now, when he has very legitimate reasons to not concede an apparent loss, these legitimate reasons are ignored in favor of “we told you so”. Similarly, news reporting around various race-related court cases is often heavily distorted, creating an impression that there is a very clear case, that the accused did have certain motivations, or similar—and if a court, even quite legitimately, finds the opposite later, well, then cries of scandal, racist jurors/judges, and whatnot ensues. And then comes the riots … For an example, the same Swedish news source referred to Kyle Rittenhouse as a right-wing extremist, which is (a) disputable, (b) irrelevant in what currently appears to be a clear-cut self-defense case. But, no, the reader is to think “evil Nazi” and ascribe a motive of hate and malevolence. Also see some earlier, more detailed, discussions of similar topics, e.g. texts around George Floyd (at least, [1], [2]).

Written by michaeleriksson

November 21, 2020 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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