Friday, January 08, 2021

Basic Bargain Of Democracy

In concise summary, on Wednesday the leader of the executive branch incited a crowd to march on the legislative branch.  The express goal was to demand that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence reject electors from enough states to deny Mr. Biden an Electoral College victory.  When some in the crowd turned violent and occupied the Capitol, the President caviled and declined for far too long to call them off.  When he did speak, he hedged his plea with election complaint.

If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign.  This would be the cleanest solution since it would immediately turn presidential duties over to Mr. Pence.  And it would give Mr. Trump agency, a la Richard Nixon, over his own fate.

We know an act of grace by Mr. Trump isn’t likely.  In any case this week has probably finished him as a serious political figure.  He has cost Republicans the House, the White House, and now the Senate.  Worse, he has betrayed his loyal supporters by lying to them about the election and the ability of Congress and Mr. Pence to overturn it.  He has refused to accept the basic bargain of democracy, which is to accept the result, win or lose.

It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.

-- Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal, "Donald Trump's Final Days" (no pay wall - they want you to read it), 7 January 2021

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