Illustration by Carl Muecke
Donald Trump lost the popular vote by a historic margin, three million votes. He never released his tax returns. He asked for, and received, the help of Russian intelligence in hacking the Democrats and undermining his challenger, Hillary Clinton. He is in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, has not stepped back from his tangled business interests, has stuffed his cabinet with similarly compromised billionaires. His first National Security Adviser was a Russian agent. The fate of 319 million Americans was decided by 77,744 votes in three states out of more than 136 million ballots cast nationwide. Now he has claimed a mandate to radically remake America.
For many, if not most, of Hillary Clinton voters, Trump is an illegitimate president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stymied President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, an unprecedented act. Garland received neither a hearing nor a vote. McConnell recently executed the "nuclear option," denying the filibuster to Democrats so he could assure the confirmation of the arch-conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. For millions of Americans, we now have an illegitimate Supreme Court, too.
The reaction of Republicans is along the lines of, "This is how we felt during the Obama presidency, too." This is symptomatic of our Cold Civil War. But Obama was soundly elected and re-elected. He was careful to preserve continuity with his predecessor, George W. Bush, observed every norm, and governed from the center — even using the Republican health-care plan as the template for the Affordable Care Act.