On Wednesday, writing for The Washington Post, columnist Dan Balz shredded President Donald Trump for his false declaration of victory before the votes had even been finished counting.
"For four years, President Trump has sought to undermine the institutions of a democratic society, but never so blatantly as in the early morning hours of Wednesday," wrote Balz. "His attempt to falsely claim victory and to subvert the election itself by calling for a halt to vote-counting represents the gravest of threats to the stability of the country."
"Millions of votes remain to be counted, votes cast legally under the laws of the states. Until they are all counted, the outcome of the election remains in doubt. Either he or former vice president Joe Biden could win an electoral college majority, but neither has yet done so, no matter what he says. Those are the facts, for which the president shows no respect," wrote Balz. "A president who respected the Constitution would let things play out. But Trump has shown once again he cares not about the Constitution or the stability and well-being of the country or anything like that. He cares only about himself and retaining the powers he now holds. And so he cries “fraud” when there is no evidence whatsoever of any such thing."
Even Vice President Mike Pence wasn't willing to embrace Trump's declaration, noted Balz. And in several uncalled states, like Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the remaining vote is predominantly mail-in ballots from Democratic areas, making it unlikely that Trump will keep or regain leads. And yet Trump has still declared himself the winner and is demanding the Supreme Court — featuring three justices he appointed — settle the race for him and stop the count.
"Were this happening in another country, American officials would decry it as an act of an authoritarian leader," wrote Balz. "Trump would not be among them, however, as he’s proved by his tepid reaction to what appears to be a stolen election in Belarus. 'I like democracy' was about as strong as he could go when asked to comment. He may say he likes democracy, but not enough to let the democratic process of voting and counting continue normally."
"Trump has weakened democratic institutions. He has warred with his own Justice Department. He has flagrantly refused to cooperate with Congress on any investigation. He has attacked the free press. Now he seems to undermine the very foundation of a democratic society — free elections. Where will it end?" concluded Balz. "The system of government established by the founders has proved to be resilient despite all that, even if the strains are showing. But in doing what he did early Wednesday morning, Trump has guaranteed that the divisions that have deepened during his time in office will grow even worse."
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