Although nearly two weeks have passed since Joe Biden was declared the President-elect by almost every media outlet, President Trump has still not conceded, and is waging a legal battle based on allegations of fraud. Many are calling the efforts dangerous, and Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin this week called for the Biden administration to investigate the Trump campaign’s efforts as possibly illegal. Peter Kadzis, GBH News senior editor, and Adam Reilly, GBH News political reporter, co-hosts of The Scrum podcast, joined Joe Mathieu on Morning Edition today to discuss the ongoing efforts and what they mean for democracy.
Mathieu began by asking Kadzis where we are headed now that the election is over. “I don’t know. Forty-five years in the business of following politics and I’ve never seen anything like this unless it’s in a banana republic,” Kadzis said. “It’s really something.”
One Republican who is speaking out is Senator Mitt Romney, who issued a statement calling the president’s legal efforts “undemocratic.” “Romney’s comments stand out not just because they were forceful but because there are so few Republicans in Congress making similar statements,” Reilly said, pointing to the bigger challenge of a deeply divided nation. “Even if Joe Biden becomes president, we’re left with a toxic situation where almost half of the American electorate is going to believe that he’s not legitimate.”
Watch: Adam Reilly on Sen. Romney's statement
The Trump campaign's antics have provided plenty of fodder for comic material, as evidenced this week by Rudy Giuliani’s dripping hair dye. But while Giuliani peddles an “extremely far-out there, crazy conspiracy theory” about the election, Venezuela, and George Soros, Reilly said the real goal is communicating an alternate reality to Trump's base and influencing certain key states' electors ahead of the meeting of the Electoral College on December 14. “The point is to brand this election as illegitimate,” Reilly said. “This is an attempt to subvert and deny the will of the electorate.”
Kadzis agreed that the real, long-term consequence of Trump's legal challenges could be sowing distrust in the democratic process. “This is dangerous because it is implanting the idea in the minds of many impressionable Trump voters that this [the election] is illicit,” Kadzis said.
Mathieu pointed to the fact that the Trump campaign seems to be targeting communities of color in cities like Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta. “Is the White House actively working to overturn Black votes in America?” he asked.
“Of course,” Kadzis responded. “It’s mind-boggling. [Trump] is going anywhere he lost and just saying ‘this is null-and-void.’”
Watch: Peter Kadzis on White House efforts to overturn Black votes
Locally, Kadzis said Massachusetts voters should keep an eye on Republicans at the State House as they choose a new leader. “What stand are they going to take on this?” Kadzis wondered.