Journalists like me who were born and worked in Latin America are well experienced with authoritarian leaders like Donald Trump.
We have seen dictators, rulers and parties stay in power even though they lost elections. What is surprising is that Trump wants to do the same number on a democracy of more than two centuries, like the United States. But he’s not going to be able to do it.
After the massive electoral frauds in Venezuela in 2013 and 2018, the tyrant Nicolás Maduro did not want to move his bed out of the Miraflores Palace, and he’s still there.
Daniel Ortega, who organizes and counts votes in his own way, has done the same in Nicaragua by entrenching himself in the presidency in 2007, and is already the longest ruling dictator in the hemisphere. And I can never forget how the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico passed the reins of power to itself every six years from 1929 to 2000, regardless of the election results.
Well, what happened in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Mexico, to give just three examples, cannot happen in the United States. Let me tell you why.
Even if he wants to, and throws a temper tantrum, Trump cannot stay in the White House because the democratic system is much stronger than he. The president has falsely claimed to have won the elections. “As everybody saw, we won by historic numbers,” he said during a news conference Nov. 5. But that is not true.
Few things are more anti-democratic than refusing to recognize the results of a fair election.
Trump has lied so many times – WE WON THIS ELECTION BY A LOT, he wrote in an all-upper case Tweet – that it’s easy to forget the number of times Twitter has tagged his posts with warnings refuting his words. The patient work of vote counters in the 50 states clearly indicate that former Vice President Joe Biden has more than the 270 electoral college votes he needs to win.
And it’s not the news media that decides who will be the next president. The only thing we do is report the official results from each state, add up the electoral votes and project a winner. This is not fraud or favoritism. That’s how Trump was projected as the winner in 2016, how we did it with Biden this year and how it’s been done for decades. The United States does not have a national agency that organizes elections and counts the vote, so it’s the news media that announce the winner. This system has never failed.
Trump, who is a sore loser, is selling the false idea that his defeat was the result of electoral fraud. And many people believe him. About 70 percent of Republicans believe the elections were not “free or fair,” according to a Politico survey.
But that does not change reality. The New York Times did its homework, contacted dozens of state officials from both parties around the country and concluded that “there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race.”
There’s more. A delegation of 28 international observers from 13 member countries in the Organization of American States also did not find evidence of massive fraud in the presidential election. Its report concluded that “the ability of voters across the country to access the vote in less than ideal circumstances, exemplifies the democracy for which the United States is renowned.”
Not even the Department of Homeland Security agreed with the president. It reported that the balloting was the “most secure” in the history of the United States.
If Trump really believes there was fraud, how does the explain the 72 million votes he won, and the gains the Republican party notched in Congress. All the votes count, including the more than 77 million votes cast for Joe Biden.
You cannot accept the votes that favor you and refuse to recognize the ones for your opponent.
The democratic process is continuing – vote by vote, ballot box by ballot box – and that’s what is putting an end to the Trump presidency. Like the law says, by Dec. 8 the states should have resolved any electoral disputes, the electoral college meets in each state on Dec. 14 and then Congress declares an official winner on Jan. 6.
Every vote must be counted. And if there’s any evidence of fraud, they should submit it. But until now, there is none.
I continue to believe in the democratic system of the United States. It is more trustworthy and resistant than any egomaniac who believes he won and refuses to accept reality. Trump’s defeat has one explanation: He won fewer votes than Biden.
How to remove Trump from the White House? Vote by vote. That’s what happens in democracies.