Even Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who has about a month left of his political career before his retirement, won’t say the phrase that now amounts to a dirty word in Republican circles: President-Elect Joe Biden.
In a Friday statement, Alexander gently nudges President Donald Trump to consider allowing Biden to begin his transition with all the resources he’s entitled to — with plenty of protective hedging.
My statement on the presidential election. pic.twitter.com/m4gXnhY8ZP
— Sen. Lamar Alexander (@SenAlexander) November 20, 2020
“If there is any chance whatsoever that Joe Biden will be the next president, and it looks like he has a very good chance, the Trump Administration should provide the Biden team with all transition materials, resources, and meetings necessary to ensure a smooth transition so that both sides are ready on day one,” Alexander wrote.
In reality, there is no doubt that Biden has won the presidency. Despite the Trump campaign’s volley of low-quality lawsuits and parking lot press conferences proclaiming non-existent mass voter fraud, Biden’s win has been clear for weeks.
Still, Alexander keeps up the pretense of doubt:
“My hope is that the loser of this presidential election will follow Al Gore’s example, put the country first, congratulate the winner and help him to a good beginning of the new term,” he added after noting that Gore conceded 37 days after the election.
In 2000, the election all hung on a few hundred votes in Florida, which led to recounts and ultimately the infamous Supreme Court case. Biden is ahead by nearly 6 million votes in all, and up by over 12,000 votes in his slimmest margin of victory in Georgia.
That Alexander, with nothing politically to lose, produced such a mealy-mouthed statement sheds light on the general Republican compliance to go along with Trump’s charade.
Only Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has strongly denounced Trump’s actions as “undemocratic.” A small group, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ben Sasse (R-NE), has at least admitted that Biden is president-elect. But the vast majority of elected Republicans have either kept silent or helped Trump cast doubt on the election.
Trump’s most recent gambit to steal the election involves wining and dining state-level Republicans at the White House, raising alarm that he’ll try to convince them to sway electors his way in states he lost. A Michigan delegation is set to meet with Trump Friday afternoon.
The primary buffer protecting the democracy at this juncture is the margin of Biden’s win. Trump would have to get elected officials and institutions on board with his attempted coup in so many states —many of which have Democrats in key positions of power — to overturn the results as to make his attempts futile.
Biden said Thursday that Trump’s attempted coercion of the Michigan delegation is “going to be another incident where he will go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in America history.”