November 21, 2020

Trump’s Team of Revilers.

by Hal Gershowitz

Comments Below

With apologies to Doris Kearns Goodwin, for hitching a ride on her widely acclaimed “Team of Rivals,” which chronicles Abraham Lincoln’s leadership brilliance.

Now, however, the nation is witnessing a full-frontal attack on American Democracy and, yes, the Constitution of the United States by a shameless Team of Revilers, partisan hacks who revile the very notion of an American government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Shame on them all.

So just who are the varsity members of this abhorrent Team of Revilers. The Chief Reviler of the 2020 election and of the American citizens of both parties, who turned out in record numbers to support the candidate of their choice is, of course, President Donald J. Trump, who demanded that only votes counted by midnight on November 3rd be allowed. Notice, he demanded only votes counted, not votes cast by November 3rd. Votes cast are always counted for days following the day of an election. He outrageously declared victory on the evening of the election when tens of millions of votes were still being counted and after the tide had turned against him.

 “Stop the counting!” he demanded, as the vote-counting began to cast a pall over his re-election fantasy. To Donald Trump, there were only those who supported him and those who were conspirators to steal the election. His was a disgraceful performance unparalleled since 1860 when three candidates for President (John Breckinridge, Stephen Douglas, and John Bell) lost to Abraham Lincoln, causing confederate revilers of an American election to attempt to destroy the nation.  

Trump’s lawyer and anointed consigliere, Rudy Giuliani, is leading the so-called legal effort to subvert the election. It was a breathtaking performance Friday when Giuliani demanded that the courts grant Trump a fishing license to search for so-called election fraud, a word the Trump’s legal hit squad eschews under oath in court because there are stiff penalties for lying. Giuliani offered evidence of nothing other than what cheap hair coloring does under the heat of floodlights. So closely did he seem to be channeling the late Joseph McCarthy with his wild, unsubstantiated allegations that we waited for him to wave a list of 67 communists who worked in the Pennsylvania Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, which oversees the Commonwealth’s electoral process. Instead, he channeled Cousin Vinnie.

Trump legal-team associate, Sydney Powell, was also there claiming, without a shred of evidence, that massive amounts of communist money was behind the Biden conspiracy to steal the election, throwing in all the hobgoblins, including Venezuela, Cuba, China, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation and maybe, we presume, even Ichabod Crane. Appropriately, the federal judge in front of whom this farce played out has already thrown the case out of court, his disgust with President Trump’s Team of Revilers plainly evident.

Vice President Mike Pence seems a somewhat reluctant participant in the reviler’s farce, but a participant nonetheless. He sanctimoniously, with a straight face, flew to Atlanta, Georgia, to demand that every legal vote be counted and that every illegal vote be eliminated, especially, we presume, every illegal ballot that is being alleged without evidence. Well, he got his wish. Georgia meticulously counted every vote again, by hand, and, other than a negligible number of votes discounted for routine irregularities, confirmed Biden’s win there. Trump single-handedly managed to turn Georgia blue. We await Pence’s congratulatory nod to President-elect Biden’s election victory in the Peach State now that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has been eliminated.

Lindsey Graham weighed in at the last moment to join the Team of Revilers. According to Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Graham, who is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called him to strongly hint that he should find a way to eliminate votes from areas that went for Biden. Graham apparently called other Republican election officials in other close-call states.

Senator Ted Cruz has weighed in more as a member of the junior varsity Team of Revilers, stating that he believes Trump has a path to victory. He too, intones that every legal vote should be counted and that every illegal vote should be eliminated. No one disagrees that only legal votes should be counted. But the reality is that there are irregularities, mistakes, and, perhaps, real cases of voter fraud here and there in every election. Someone may cast a vote for their recently deceased spouse, who is still on a voter roll somewhere. There are appropriate recounts, especially in close elections. They invariably toss out some votes but never really change the reality of an election where someone wins a precinct or a county or a state by a substantial number of votes.

What this Team of Revilers is doing is a national disgrace. They are not working to ensure that every legal vote is counted and every illegal vote is eliminated. They are trying to mandate eliminating vast swaths of votes in individual battleground states that Trump lost. They are trying to subvert the will of the people, not protect it.

One just has to watch and listen to President Trump’s rantings, or Rudy Giuliani or their cohorts to comprehend the ludicrous and dangerous game they are playing. As the pandemic rages out of control, they impede the transition of power. They slap at the truth on Trump’s behalf, as Trump slaps at golf balls at his nearby Virginia golf course. Their audacity is breathtaking to behold as the nation watches the tangled web they weave as they practice to deceive (thank you, Sir Walter Scott).

Most reprehensively, they are working hard to impugn the integrity of really altruistic American election workers, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, who have worked long hours in truly dedicated fashion to proudly play a role in American Democracy. This Trumpian Team of Revilers cloak themselves in the flag and simultaneously rip at the very sinews of American Democracy.  

All comments regarding these essays, whether they express agreement, disagreement, or an alternate view, are appreciated and welcome. Comments that do not pertain to the subject of the essay or which are ad hominem references to other commenters are not acceptable and will be deleted.

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17 responses to “Trump’s Team of Revilers.”

  1. Jean says:

    Thank you for your intelligence and insight
    It is hard to believe this is the USA not some
    Illiterate third world country

  2. susan duman says:

    All I can say this morning is that I hope your review of the past week and going to the keyboard to share it with us is cathartic.
    Have a good day.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Trump would be clinically diagnosed by credible psychologists as malignant narcissism, undoudbtly dangerously unfit and incompetent. To this end, elected President of the US, and to his way of thinking, in perpetuity. Your essay could not be more profound and tragically a testimony of what much if our nation represents. The question remains, how did we come to this, and pray we can recover.

  4. sdjg says:

    Powerful essay, Hal. Eloquent and to the point. I submit that Trump and his “Revilers” (you should also include Steve Bannon, whom I consider to the ideological brains behind this Trump cult of criminals) – I submit that they launched this assault on our Constitution, on our democracy on the day that Trump took office in 2016. If you look at Trump’s behavior from Day 1 – he has unleashed a horrific tsunami of indefensible actions– the Muslim ban, good people on both sides, immigrants in cages, separation of immigrant children from their mothers, attack of peaceful protesters, the firing of any professionals throughout the administration who voiced opposition to him, and now finally, wholesale voter suppression, subversion of the Postal Service, attempt to declare legal votes illegal — any of these actions would have been an outrage to a normal Congress. This final act of an attempted coup was predictable. You are correct, that Trump could not have done this without his enablers – the “Revilers” – without hijacking the Republican Senate to render it useless as a check against his outrageous acts. In my opinion, the entire Republican Senate, save Romney, is as guilty as Trump.

    Thank God, our system held, this time. Biden and Harris will have four years to reach out to Trump supporters and to create a game plan that will checkmate the Trump future as demagogue/con man/near dictator. And hopefully, the Biden DOJ and the SDNY will have their day in court.

  5. Ray Galante says:

    Hard to accept the deterioration of the Republican Party crumbling at Trump’s feet. No guts? Only a few realists recognizing American’s trust of the electorate. Where is their leadership discounting Graham, Cotton, etc.? Let’s get on with our democracy. Trump has been a nightmare.

  6. Steve says:

    Your thoughtful and well researched essays are always helpful in reminding me why I always thought that certain things….like the fact that the sun always rises in the East…are true in spite of what some might want us to believe otherwise.

    The advent of social media has given rise to an entire industry of those who work overtime to substitute ideas for facts in our thinking. And it’s dangerous because it gives people an alternative reality upon which they make decisions about our political leadership.

    It used to be that our primary sources for fact based information came from our local news papers. They were relatively reliable because of their institutional based system of fact checking. They didn’t always get it right but spent lots of time trying and for the most part issued corrections when they got it wrong. Reporters were even fired for producing information they knew to be untrue.

    But today many, many, many people get their information from people using phony names spreading phony information for whatever reason. We have allowed the wonderful notion of “free speech” to be high jacked by internet based organizations that have little regard for facts. Not only do they not seem to care about the information being peddled on their sites, they very rarely warn us that what we’re seeing is fake or untrue or untrustworthy.

    The time has come for our legislators to align the idea of social media, with the idea of free speech. If we can’t accomplish this we will sadly wind up with political “leadership” that has exploited our inability to separate fact from fiction.

  7. Charles Anderson says:

    Well done Hal.
    Unfortunately the Trump ‘true believers’ remain supportive of him despite his abominable history and current his current assaults on our democratic institutions. Their blind allegiance to his myths are the same as with any ideolog, David Koresh, & his Branch Davidians cult, Jim Jones & the ‘Kool Aid’ cult & on a much larger more deadly scale Adolf Hitler & his Nazi followers come to mind.
    Trump’s ‘followers’ believe they are somehow different but sadly they are not & the same tragic result as with those above is playing out daily in the infections & death statistics we see.

  8. James Fisher says:

    For all you name-callers and hand-wringers out there, may I remind you that more than 73 million of your brethren voted for President Trump (10 million more than in 2016) in this 2020 election.

    To dismiss them as “kool-aid drinkers” or “cult followers” says much more about you than it does about them.

    This country benefitted tremendously from his contributions and they will be long-lasting. The so-called “chaos” present during his tenure was created by rabid, unrelenting democrat opposition, the mainstream media sowing of civil division and even big tech got into the act. Adults will prevail when the GOP retakes the house in 2022.

  9. Michael Gong says:

    Whenever I ask Trump supporters why they continue to support him, I find they are consistently unable to name a single policy, executive order or position that they openly favor. The tariff against imported goods? Self defeating. The scapegoating and stereotyping of illegal immigrants? My own parents were illegal immigrants and we’ve done pretty well. Thank you United States. The cozying up to foreign dictators? Embarrassing and possibly dangerous. The withdrawal from the Paris Accord to fight climate change. Our children and grandchildren will have to pay for that. Cancelling trade negotiations with China. Terrible idea. Cancelling environmental regulations on manufacturers. Extremely short-sighted. Name-calling political rivals? Juvenile. Calling for federal troops to quell peaceful demonstrations? Undemocratic. Rushing through Supreme Court nominees? Rushing to withdraw troops from Afghanistan? Ignoring the threat of Covid 19 and misinforming the public? I could go on. But looking back at the last four years, what’s to like?

  10. David Higgins says:

    Here’s my question, Hal. And it’s a serious question. Your essay describes so many assaults, carried out in so many different ways, by so many different revilers, on our Constitution, in a concerted albeit scatter shot effort to co-opt the election. Piled on top of that are the very real concerns that Trump not only wants to hamstring Biden if Trump loses but also wants to cement his position as the unassailable head of the Republican Party, especially if he runs for president in 2024.

    There are a lot of pieces and parts to this strategy. It seems to me that all of them require a clever, facile mastermind to carry out. Presumably, that would be Trump. But I never thought of him as being very smart, certainly not that clever. What am I missing here?

  11. Response to David Higgins: Read next week’s column.

  12. sdjg says:

    James Fisher: From your comments, I think you are an intellectual guy. Please read The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt. I think you will find it enlightening and will place in context the power of the Trump/Putin/Bannon propaganda machine. Also, a very slim but profound little volume called On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by historian Timothy Snyder. I would be very interested in your comments.

  13. James Fisher says:

    Thanks for the advice sdjg:

    I haven’t had time yet to read any one of Hannah’s many books, but I did uncover her primary philosophy, to wit: Arendt believed that the right to citizenship, the right of a plurality of people “to act together concerning things that are of equal concern to each…”

    Wow, if she hadn’t passed in 1975, she sounds like she would have been a great MAGA fan. Believe me, Trump fans are ALL equally concerned about how the media is corrupting public political thought, how big tech is controlling the political opinions of the ignorant and the unread, and how the democrat party appears to be controlling the entire rather treasonous process.

    As a Jew herself, Hannah might have appreciated the genuine and substantial achievements of the Trump administration in moving our Embassy to Jerusalem and in the burgeoning peace process evolving as we speak between Israel and the various Arab states that have heretofore vowed for decades to wipe her from the face of our earth.

    I miss Hannah already and I hardly know her!

  14. Mike says:

    So much to unpack here.

    First, to Michael Gong, I am thankful for Trump’s three Suireme Court appointees.

    Second, I am thankful that he had the stones to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and I am thankful that he has been a stalwart friend to Israel. In confronting Iran, he made it possiblE to broker a peace deal in the Middle East.

    Third, I am thankful that he has exposed our country’s dangerous reliance on China for our pharmaceutical supply chain . We help companies in the supply chain area and most Americans are clueless about how Amerixn corporations have mortgaged their souls in the quest for low cost goods.

    Suffice it to say Michael, I could list several other positive things as well. But regardless of how many I were to list, your hatred – and the hatred of the others who have responded, makes that unnecessary. You hate Trump, his policies and his decorum so that is all that matters.

    For you Hal, your column fails to even mention the possibility of rampant voter fraud. And there are numerous articles from reputable data scientists, and knowledgeable sources (not the Qanon variety) that suggest that we have witnessed voter fraud in this election on a scale that was unimaginable.

    With respect to Georgia, they failed to verify signatures for a significant percentage of the absentee ballots. And now Stacy Abrams is bragging about 750,000 absentee ballots being mailed with no verifiable mechanisms.

    In Michigan and PA Republican observers were excluded and in four cities / areas and States where they needed to manufacture votes (Detroit, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Philadelphia) counting was shut down early in the morning with Trump comfortably ahead. In seconds, he is losing by thousands and any questions about the Dominion software are dismissed as flights of fantasy.

    Yet to even suggest that to you or your “scholarly” readers that we should at least examine the possibility of fraud makes one either a kook or racist – unless you were one that supported Gore’s challenge in 2000. Yet these same folks have no problem believing in the debunked Russian Conspiracy hoax or any other crack pot theory that makes Trump look like a buffoon.

    In the final analysis, Trump has only himself to blame for the outcome. As I have said in previous posts, I loathe some of his personal attributes. And doing things like ticking off the McCain family is not too smart if you’d like to carry Arizona. But after four withering years of hostile coverage, perhaps he will have tiime to reflect.

    And for those of you who think that now that Biden is elected, the Nation can come together and “heal its wounds,” I hope you are right but I believe you are delusional.

    Whether you know it or not, the
    Media has just about created Martyred status for Trump in the eyes of millions of people. They love him and they will pay attention to his words and actions. And like it or not, given his personality, it is unlikely that he is it going to go “quietly in to the night.”

    Couple that with more nauseating lectures from people like John Kerry and other liberal elites who know what is best for those disdainful Trump voters and you’ll have an inkling why we are headed for more turbulent times.

    As I have said in previous posts, unlike people who have been Trump haters, I will respect the office of the Presidency and I will pray for the President. That is what the Bible tells us to do.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  15. sdsg says:

    James Fisher. Read the book. Then comment.

    Mike — Stacy Abrams has stated that 750,000 ballots have been requested for the Georgia runoff election. Why would you say there are no verifiable mechanisms? Aren’t they mailed out by the state of Georgia, with bar codes for each voter and requiring signatures? In California, ballots were mailed to all eligible voters for drop off or mail in – and each ballot had a bar code and required a matched signature in order to be counted. What makes you think these ballots are not closely tracked or that the polling volunteers who count the votes are involved in some illegitimate scheme?

    I believe you are correct in that Trump’s 72 million followers will view him as a martyr. He is spreading disinformation as fast as he can via email to his followers and through the media itself that he was victimized in this election –he announced this plan well ahead of the election (“If I don’t win, the election is rigged”). There has not been a shred of evidence to prove his case; most of his advisors have told him he has lost the election, yet he cannot move on, and his base doesn’t seem to care. They will believe whatever propaganda he and Giuliani tells them, even if it is documented to come straight from RT (Russia TV). We have never seen this level of toxicity, vindictiveness and destruction as a President has left office. He wants to trash the foundations of our democracy by delegitimizing the election. For reasons I cannot begin to fathom, this and the fact that he is providing gift after gift to Putin (destruction of the Open Skies program and liquidation of all the planes and equipment, placement of young, inexperienced people in top national security Pentagon posts, full pardon for Michael Flynn) –for some reason, this is appealing behavior to Trump’s core base. Biden will need to address this big time as he attempts to heal the gaping divisions that have torn our country apart.

  16. Stephen Prover says:

    Mike: Trump does not “look like” a buffoon… Trump is a buffoon….
    Please cite just ONE scholarly article that support your/Trumps assertion of massive data fraud….
    Your turgidly condemn Democrats as Trump haters yet YOU appear to hate everyone who opposes Trump….
    You are clearly an intelligent communicator… Yet your hyper hyper hyper partisanship may have blinded to the truth about Trump and his corrupt administration…. I am afraid we will never agree but the mutual expressions of hate are rally beneath this scholarly blog.

  17. sdjg says:

    One more thing, Mike — and this is a true story: my husband had a friend drop off his ballot at the Post Office — the Post Office required the signature of the person dropping the ballot. Even though my husband had signed the ballot envelope, his signature differed from the one left at the Post Office– we received a letter a few days later from the election Board that my husband’s signature didn’t match and therefore the ballot could not be counted! They needed my husband to send a corrected signature that would match the one they had on file for him.

    This is all to say that the election process is vetted and vetted again to make sure that ballots are real before they can be counted. When I submitted my own ballot at the drop off box, I received a text a few days later that everything was legit and that my ballot would be counted.

    The people who vet and count the ballots are on top of their game –we are absolutely confident that the vote-counting in this election has been legitimate. California has processed millions of ballots in this way – there have been no screams of “foul play” here. There is no reason to think that smaller states cannot handle the volumes of ballots as well.

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