The Real Reason Trump Began the Transition Process.
Even weeks past the election, President Trump is still handling his loss of the 2020 election to Joe Biden exactly as not only people were predicting he would, but how he told us he would since before he was even elected into power in 2016. Since the loss, Trump has shown his willingness to bend what’s left of our already fragile “democracy” to the brink not just for the sake of his own ego, but in an effort to fundraise off of his base one more time on the way out in order to pay off his campaign debt and lay the foundation for a potential 2024 run.
While the lengths the President was willing to go in order to preserve his own power and avoid paying the debt that he owes were certainly unnerving, the decision of the Michigan state legislature to certify their states’ election solidified that his efforts would ultimately be unsuccessful. While I and I’m sure many others made the assumption that it was the certification of Michigan’s election that ultimately prompted Trump to begrudgingly allow the transition of power to Joe Biden to begin, I’ve begun to realize there was — at least in his mind — an even more significant factor at play in his decision.
Not long before the process began, it was widely reported that Wall Street and the Republican donor class were becoming increasingly concerned about what a constitutional crisis would look like.
Igor Derysh with Salon writes:
“More than 100 business leaders who plan to ask the Trump administration to immediately allow the presidential transition to begin have also discussed cutting off donations to Senate Republicans facing runoff elections to force the party’s hand.
The executives plan to send a letter on Monday demanding that Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, stop blocking President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team’s work, according to The New York Times.
…The group includes executives at many top financial firms, including Accenture, Blackstone, and KKR. Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzmann, a loyal Trump ally who spent $27 million this year backing the president and the Republican Party, did not join Blackstone President Jon Gray in signing the letter. He has issued a separate statement urging Trump to move on and accept defeat.”
The day after this story was reported, the transition process began.
Putting aside how this probably had everything to do with preserving their stock portfolios from the volatility that a constitutional crisis would create, and not “preserving democracy” as the article went on to state that they had claimed, it seems fairly clear that this was in fact the underlying motive for Trump’s decision to waver.
At the end of the day, can any of us really be surprised that it came down to this? After all, in American politics, there is little that concerns our lawmakers more than their money, and preservation of power. Donald Trump’s antics were only going to be tolerated as long as the donor class determined it was not going to cost them, and the moment they decided they were tired of it, the game was effectively over. After all the blustering, the court cases, the vehement assertions that he was the true winner of the 2020 election, and the unapologetic bending of democracy to the brink, all it took was a few phone calls from their donors, reminding Republicans who owns them to get them to essentially roll over.
Frankly, it would be funny if it wasn’t so dangerous.
Joe Biden won the election in what even Donald Trump would have referred to as a landslide, considering that’s what he called it when he won the electoral college vote by the same margin in 2016. It should also go without saying that Joe Biden also won the popular vote by a comfortable margin, earning more votes than any other Presidential candidate in U.S. history. Is it not even just a little bit disturbing that a letter and some phone calls from a handful of executives threatening to pull funding from two Senate races in a single state carried more weight than a multi-million popular vote victory and sizable electoral college lead in the decision to begin the transition of power? Am I the only one finding it ominous that a few wealthy executives hold the stability of the entire country’s democratic process in their hands? Should we not be concerned that what’s left of the nation’s stability all depends on what Wall Street determines serves their best interests?
As has been so often the case in recent weeks, these recent revelations have served as yet another sobering reminder of just how fragile what’s left of our democracy really is. We may have defeated the fascist this time, but who’s to say we can rely on a few wealthy men to pressure the next one who comes along in the right direction? Are we really prepared to exit this moment, go “back to brunch” like it never happened, and pretend as though there’s no reason to be concerned any longer? As I have said now countless times before, for a multitude of reasons too numerous to list, all signs point to the country being in for some dark days ahead.
Lauren Martincheck (LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com)