A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 198th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
Trump’s first major typo after winning the election was spelling Unprecedented incorrectly. He infamously tweeted “Unpresidented.” This typo is emblematic of his administration: An impulsive, frantically thrown together group of characters with virtually no oversight. After Trump was sworn in, I started writing the weekly “Unpresidented” column, analyzing every week of his presidency. This is week 198, the week Donald Trump lost re-election.
I began writing this column the week after President Trump was sworn into office. At times, it felt like I was documenting the fall of Rome, as America appeared to descend into Trump’s brand of fascism. But this week confirmed that I was actually documenting the story of American resilience and the rise of a more active democracy. Trump did make America great again, but not in the way he thinks.
I’ve been waiting 4 years to write this: Donald Trump has been defeated. Opposition to Trump isn’t partisan. After 4 years of depravity, decency has won the day. The majority of voters overcame historic voter suppression to make this happen, bolstered by a broad coalition with Black women as the backbone. While there’s still a lot of work to do, and a lot of post-election data yet to be analyzed, there’s certainly still a lot to celebrate.
Last week before the election, my Unprsidented column ran with the headline: Trump’s Efforts To Steal The Election May Have Backfired. In it, I described Trump’s plan of lying about voter fraud in mail-in ballots and delaying the mail so he could falsely declare victory while in-person votes favored him. I speculated that his scheme sparked a huge turnout and would lead to his demise. Turns out that’s exactly what happened.
The ultimate check and balance on presidential power is the people. That was proven once again this week. We saw an estimated 161 million Americans turn out to vote, and a majority voted for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Over 75 million (and counting) voted for Biden-Harris, the most votes of any presidential ticket in history.
Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris will be the first woman and first Black/Indian Vice President in American history. The man who dedicated his entire presidency to undoing the Obama administration’s legacy was just defeated by the Vice President of the Obama administration. Poetic justice.
The American people didn’t just beat President Trump, we beat Bill Barr, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner, Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Chad Wolf, Jon Ratcliffe, Betsy DeVos, Mark Meadows, Alex Azar, Steve Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Ben Carson, Kayleigh McEnany, and Trump’s entire team. Their corruption will soon be out of the people’s house.
It’s important to note that we avoided real authoritarianism in Trump’s second term. After eroding civil service protections, Trump was likely going to purge career government officials with loyalists. It would’ve been a legit regime. Trump was also likely going to prosecute his political targets and continue to mishandle the pandemic.
After the election results were finally announced on Saturday, the world erupted in a celebration that reminded many of the final scene in Return of the Jedi after the Empire collapsed. We went ahead and put together a video along those lines and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, shared it, along with the Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 8, 2020
I’ve seen multiple reporters on the streets of America saying they haven’t seen anything like the Biden win celebrations. One said they have seen it in Middle Eastern countries who toppled dictators though. That’s because it’s exactly what Americans believe they just did.
Watching the celebration was the opposite of watching Trump’s assault on protestors in Lafayette Square. That felt like powerlessness in the face of a depraved authoritarian and this is just pure joy in the fact that he wasn’t powerful enough to stop the power of the people.
Later that night, Biden and Harris held a victory event and delivered speeches. The first female and Black/Indian Vice President-elect arrived on the stage in suffragette white and to the tune of Mary J. Blige and thunderous applause. Harris delivered a historic speech reminding young women around the world that anything is possible.
Then, President-elect Joe Biden delivered a speech highlighting why Americans elected him president. Trump gave us narcissism, Biden offers selflessness. Trump gave us depravity, Biden embodies decency. Trump gave us divisiveness, Biden offers unity. Trump gave us chaos, Biden offers stability. We chose wisely. But of course, not all Americans voted for Biden’s vision of America.
Over 71 million Americans still voted for Trump. The fact the margin between Biden and Trump wasn’t even larger, especially after all the depravity and cruelty Trump has unleashed, like his indifference to mass deaths his negligence helped cause, highlighted we still have a lot of work to do.
The majority of American voters were clearly looking for closure on Trumpism. We wanted a clear, sizable defeat of everything he stands for and to send a resounding message to the world that America is better than this. While the majority of voters did send that message and we have a Biden win, the truth is, the fight against Trumpism is far from over.
We now face a cultural problem of warring values and realities built on disinformation bubbles. While many critique campaign messaging, they dodge the uncomfortable fact that America has a crisis of decency and critical thinking. We have a giant empathy gap and a shameless propaganda machine that upholds a fake, dark version of reality. Trump held up a mirror to America and showed us our faults.
America is at its greatest when we recognize our original sins and strive to live up to our stated ideals. That capacity for growth is American exceptionalism. That’s when we’re most respected globally. When nearly half the country denies sins are sins, that’s when we regress. The fact that so many Americans weren’t immediately repulsed by Donald Trump from the moment he announced his run in 2015 and he won more voters in 2020 points to a much deeper issue.
All that said, a clear majority of Americans overcame wild voter suppression and delivered Biden the most votes of any presidential candidate in American history and rejected Donald Trump. But still, President Trump and many in the Republican Party are refusing to accept defeat and dangerously undermining faith in democracy in the process.
We’ve seen countless complaints of fraud from Trump and his allies that have no basis in reality. Fox News and GOP lawmakers repeatedly complained about how long the votes were taking to count when GOP legislatures in WI, PA, and MI all blocked efforts to count mail-in ballots early on purpose.
Trump’s people have been allowed to observe at poll counting locations but are lying about it anyway. They lie to the public but they’re being honest in court and admitting to having poll observers on location. The GOP knows Trump’s voter fraud claims are lies. There is no evidence of widespread irregularities, and no one in the Trump campaign or GOP has provided any. They have no legal standing. In fact, the only attempted voter fraud that’s been confirmed is from Trump supporters.
What they’re doing is preparing to make Trump a martyr to placate his ego and keep his base fired up in the opposition. They’re doing is trying to recreate the legit anger Clinton voters felt after Russia’s interference in their own base so that they can hopefully win the Senate in the Georgia runoffs and keep a fired-up opposition for the next 4 years.
No matter what they try and do in the next couple of months, the Trump Administration and Campaign are crumbling. Their flimsy lies about voter fraud are all falling apart under scrutiny and won’t hold up in court. Their house of cards built on disinformation was always going to fall under the weight of their own shamelessness. President Trump has finally met a challenge he can’t lie his way out of, but he’s trying to anyway. The con is collapsing.
But as we enter what is supposed to be the lame-duck period and presidential transition, only the Biden-Harris ticket is taking it seriously. Trump’s GSA administrator is refusing to greenlight the transition funding and prepare the federal government to transfer power to Biden. We’ll also likely see some other wild moves from President Trump like his firing of Secretary of Defense Mike Esper.
President Trump is obviously panicking that he isn’t driving the headlines and all eyes are on President-elect Biden. Expect more attention-seeking moves as he grapples with the insecurities of his incoming powerlessness. Every move Trump will make over the next couple months will either be to stroke his ego, punish his perceived enemies, protect himself, sabotage Biden, or enrich himself on his way out.
Regardless of what he does now, Trump will eventually have to leave office on January 20th. Trump’s post-presidency life is looking perilous, as I wrote in The Independent:
As The New York Times reports, Trump still plans to be a power broker in the Republican Party and has even privately mused about running for president again in 2024. He could try to launch his own TV network — or at the very least appear on OANN often. He will likely still hold rally-like speaking events too. But it’s important to note that he is in $1 billion worth of debt with multiple investigations hovering over him, including probes of alleged fraud in New York. Trump has also already been implicated in conduct that his former fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to.
In more perilous signs for his post-presidency life, Trump’s longtime lender Deutsche Bank is reportedly ready to sever ties with him. As former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI Frank Figliuzzi recently pointed out, the counterintelligence threat of Trump doesn’t go away after losing re-election. What US secrets would the president be willing to reveal to get out of his debt? That question will no doubt keep a fair few government officials up at night.
While federal officials may be staying up over Trump’s post-presidency, you should sleep well tonight. Know that everything you did over the past 4 years contributed in some way – whether a protest, a donation, volunteer work, a tough conversation, or an amplified truth on social media – towards the downfall of an unprecedented American despot.
I look forward to publishing my final weekly Unpresidented column on January 19th and never covering “President” Trump again. While yes, we still have much work to do (Georgia Senate runoffs, 2022, 2024, and beyond) relish in the fact that we took down an authoritarian. If that doesn’t give you hope in America, I don’t know what will.
Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
The Calm Before The Election
Day 1,383: Monday, November 2
Monday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Election 2020: Trump rallies in four battleground states as Biden focuses on Pennsylvania
- Politico: Federal judge rejects GOP push to toss 127,000 ballots in Texas
- CNN: FBI investigating alleged harassment of Biden campaign bus
- The New York Times: Trump defends Texas drivers who surrounded Biden bus, while the president’s supporters block traffic in New York and New Jersey.
- CNN: Judge rejects Republican efforts to halt early vote counting in Las Vegas
- The Washington Post: Top Trump adviser bluntly contradicts president on covid-19 threat, urging all-out response
- NPR: 93 Million And Counting: Americans Are Shattering Early Voting Records
- Axios: 2020 early voting has already reached 71% of 2016’s total turnout
- CNN: Cases of Covid-19 in children spike, with 61,000 in 1 week
- The New York Times: As Election Day Arrives, Trump Shifts Between Combativeness and Grievance
- Axios: Trump plans to declare premature victory if he appears “ahead” on election night
- CNN: Trump suggests he might fire Fauci after election
- The Independent: Trump launches attack on Lady Gaga and LeBron for backing Biden
- The New York Times: November Surprise: Fewer Ballots Rejected by Election Officials
- USA TODAY: Hospitals overwhelmed: Exhausted staffs, surging COVID-19 cases push nation’s limits
- BuzzFeed News: The Texas Supreme Court Won’t Toss Out 100,000 Drive-Thru Votes In The State’s Most Populous County, But A Federal Case Is Pending
- Politico: Study links Trump rallies to more than 700 Covid deaths
- Politico: New Jersey officials might press charges over pro-Trump convoy that snarled Parkway
- CNN: Federal authorities expected to erect ‘non-scalable’ fence around White House
- The Daily Beast: Trump Fans Stranded in the Cold for Hours, Yet Again, After Georgia Rally: Report
- Axios: “Proud to vote country over party”: Ex-RNC communications director says he voted for Biden
- Miami Herald: Undelivered ballots were found at one Miami-Dade post office. Now others being searched
- Rantt Media: Biden’s Plans Will Push America Forward. Trump Has No Plan.
- The Guardian: Vienna terrorist attack: several dead after shooting near synagogue in Austria – live updates
- Axios: Europe’s coronavirus case counts are skyrocketing
- Business Insider: Boris Johnson’s ministers expect England’s coronavirus lockdown to be extended into next year
- Sky News: Prince William kept COVID-19 diagnosis quiet because he ‘didn’t want to worry anyone’
- CNN: New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern appoints country’s first Indigenous female foreign minister
The Day We’ve All Been Waiting For
Day 1,384: Tuesday, November 3
Tuesday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Race unsettled as Trump and Biden split swing states, vote counting continues
- Los Angeles Times: Long a deep-red state, Arizona flips to Biden for first Democratic win in 24 years
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Totals from Milwaukee, Kenosha and Green Bay push Biden to a 20,000 vote lead in Wisconsin
- Detroit Free Press: Largest counties in Michigan still counting ballots as presidential outcome tightens
- The New York Times: The Remaining Vote in Pennsylvania Appears to Be Overwhelmingly for Biden
- CNBC: GOP pollster says Trump must win Pennsylvania to have a chance at beating Biden
- CNN: More than 100 million ballots were cast before Election Day
- CNN: Analysis: Trump’s final campaign pitch is a false warning of ‘cheating’ in Pennsylvania
- Axios: Twitter and Facebook label Trump tweet on absentee ballot ruling as misleading
- CNN: Joe Biden takes all 5 votes in tiny township that is one of the first to announce results on Election Day
- Reuters: LGBT and religious rights collide in U.S. Supreme Court foster-care case
- Politico: Republicans publicly silent, privately disgusted by Trump’s election threats
- AP: Attack in Vienna targeted nightlife; suspect had IS ties
Election Day Turns Into Election Week
Day 1,385: Wednesday, November 4
Wednesday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Biden is projected winner in Michigan as tense nation watches final tally
- CNN: Biden moves closer to the presidency as Trump launches legal challenges
- KLAS: Nevada Deputy Sec. of State for Elections says no additional results will be released today, blames lack of sleep for mistake
- USA TODAY: The battle to control the Senate got tighter overnight. Here’s where things stand.
- Politico: ‘Someone may have to pay a price’: Judge lashes Postal Service for defying ballot order
- The Verge: Trump declares premature victories in battleground states on Twitter
- NBC News: Republican allies break with Trump, say take time to count all the votes
- ABC News: These are the notable ballot measures that voters approved or rejected
- BuzzFeed News: The US Just Hit 100,000 New Coronavirus Cases In A Single Day For The First Time
- CNBC: McConnell says reaching an economic stimulus deal is ‘job one’ when Senate returns
- Detroit Free Press: Rival protests shout ‘count every vote,’ ‘stop the count’ in metro Detroit
- CNN: News anchors forcefully call out Trump for prematurely declaring victory
It Becomes Clear Biden Will Win
Day 1,386: Thursday, November 5
Thursday’s top stories:
- CNN: Biden eyes 270 as he gains on Trump in Pennsylvania
- CBS News: Joe Biden breaks Obama’s record for most votes ever cast for a U.S. presidential candidate
- AJC: LIVE UPDATES: Trump’s lead shrinks to 3,600 over Biden in Georgia
- Vox: Senate election results: Control could come down to Georgia runoffs
- The Arizona Republic: In latest batch, Trump gets share of votes he would need to reclaim Arizona. But next rounds of ballots present new challenges
- The Guardian: Senate boost for Democrats as two Georgia races look set for runoffs
- The Hill: DOJ tells prosecutors armed federal agents are allowed in ballot counting centers: report
- The Washington Post: USPS processed 150,000 ballots after Election Day, jeopardizing thousands of votes
- USA TODAY: An election season of many ‘firsts’: Here are newly elected officials making history nationwide
- The Independent: Key Arizona county shuts down building to media during vote count as armed Trump supporters gather
- CNN: Fact check: Almost everything Trump has said after Election Day is wrong
- NPR: Philadelphia Police Release ‘Traumatic’ Bodycam Video Of Walter Wallace Jr. Shooting
- Reuters: Seventeen U.S. states report record increase in COVID-19 cases
- NBC News: Defense Secretary Esper has prepped resignation letter, say officials
- Axios: “It’s going to be armed camps”: GOP Senate wins wreak havoc on Biden transition plans
- Los Angeles Times: Americans broke a 120-year-old turnout record — and are more divided than ever
- CNBC: Fed holds interest rates steady near zero, says economy is still well below pre-pandemic levels
- The Verge: Facebook shuts down huge “Stop the Steal” group
- CBS News: Republican candidate who died of COVID-19 wins North Dakota election
- Newsweek: Twitter bans Steve Bannon as YouTube removes “beheading” video
- The Guardian: As America anxiously waits, voters find a bit of laughter in memes
- BBC: Record number of Australians sign ex-PM’s call for Murdoch inquiry
Putting this at the bottom so you know it happened but it was a presser full of dangerous lies:
Waiting For Biden’s Inevitable Victory
Day 1,387: Friday, November 6
Friday’s top stories:
- CNN: Biden piles up votes as he moves closer to finalizing a path to the White House
- NBC News: Democrat Mark Kelly defeats Republican Martha McSally in Arizona Senate race
- CBS News: Runoff Senate elections in Georgia could determine balance of the Senate
- CNN: Biden planning to give prime-time address tonight
- Vox: Why networks haven’t yet called Pennsylvania for Biden
- NBC News: Georgia plans a recount. History shows it rarely makes a difference.
- CNN: Trump calls for ballot counting scenario where votes legally cast by military would be thrown out
- CNN: Trump unhappy with legal team’s lack of major impact on election count
- The Washington Post: Under pressure from Trump allies, some Republicans echo president’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud
- 6abc Philadelphia: Police thwart alleged plot to attack Pa. Convention Center where votes are being counted in Philly
- NBC News: 2 men arrested near Philadelphia vote center had QAnon paraphernalia, AR-15 in car
- CNN: The US tops 100,000 coronavirus infections for third straight day, as hospitalizations soar
- USA TODAY: Taking time to count votes ‘is not a sign of misconduct or chaos’: How states prevent election fraud
- Reuters: U.S. Postal Service says 1,700 ballots found in Pennsylvania facilities
- The Washington Post: As Trump doubles down on election falsehoods, America’s allies are dismayed and disturbed
- Business Insider: If Biden wins the election, Trump’s Twitter will no longer protected by the ‘world leader’ exemption. He could face removal from the platform for violating ‘public interest’ policies.
- NBC News: Nevada becomes first state to recognize gay marriage in state constitution
- USA TODAY: Were voters manipulated by QAnon a force behind Trump’s ‘red wave’ in 2020 election?
- The Daily Beast: Newt Gingrich: Bill Barr Should Arrest Poll Workers
- The Daily Beast: Colbert Tears Up Over ‘Fascist’ Trump’s Election Lies
Biden Beats Trump, The World Celebrates
Day 1,388-1,389: Saturday, November 7 – Sunday, November 8
President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and their loved ones enjoy stunning victory celebration fireworks. pic.twitter.com/t8BquMwhou
— The Hill (@thehill) November 8, 2020
The weekend’s top stories:
- CNN: President-elect Joe Biden seeks to unite nation with victory speech
- NPR: ‘Game-Changer’: Kamala Harris Makes History As Next Vice President
- NBC News: Transition veterans aim to give President-elect Biden a quick start to governing
- CNN: Biden transition team announces coronavirus advisers, including whistleblower Rick Bright
- The Daily Beast: Obscure Trump Appointee Refusing to Sign Papers Allowing Biden Post-Election Transition to Begin, Says Report
- Reuters: U.S. crosses 10 million COVID-19 cases as third wave of infections surges
- The Washington Post: After Biden’s win, parties gird for ferocious Senate runoffs in Georgia
- NBC News: Bush congratulates Biden as Christie says Trump may soon need to ‘move on’
- The Guardian: Russia and China silence speaks volumes as leaders congratulate Biden
- Axios: Trump to continue to hold campaign-style rallies as legal team girds up
- Rantt Media: World Celebrates Trump’s Loss Like It’s Return Of The Jedi