The attempts of ex-President Trump to retain power in the US continue to boggle our minds. He not only lost the election but now appears to be losing his sanity as he pursues the chimera of overturning the vote by making claims of fraud. Not only that, he appears to have retained the services of the world's most ineffective lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, AKA the Melting Man, who has supervised more than 40 separate challenges to the votes in various swing states and lost them all. Even if he had won some, the recounts would do nothing to change the outcome.
The latest setback was in Pennsylvania where the words of the judge (deliciously, a Trump appointee) have been recorded thus:
“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote for the three-judge panel. The Guardian
But how did the judge and his colleagues reach their verdict and how did it play out in the other states where similar cases have been brought? Let us return to that courtroom that has been the battleground of so many classic legal cases in the past, the Case of the Rude Waiter and the Case of the Assault by Infant being two of my favourites.
Scene: A courtroom somewhere in a swing state. Huge flag in the corner, impassive gum-chewing marshals, excited crowd, you know the drill by now.
Clerk: All rise for his honor Judge D. Crockett.
Crockett: Alright, be seated. Now then, I believe that, once again, we are to hear a suit brought on behalf of the Republican Party about the recent Presidential election, even though all the others have been thrown for being too silly. Who's leading on this one?
Giuliani: Your honor, I wish...
Crockett: Oh, you again.
Crockett: Back again. With the same shtick as last time?
Giuliani: Er, may it please the court...
Crockett: At least you cleaned off that hair dye. Don't want that getting on my suit, thank you very much!
Giuliani: If it please the court, I appear for the appellants and my distinguished colleague, Mr Mason, for the defence.
Crockett: State your case, if you must, Mr Giuliani.
Giuliani: We allege massive fraud and conspiracy to subvert the election in favour of Mr Biden. sits down, beams at his assistant, and nods confidently to the reporters.
Crockett: Is that it?
Giuliani: reluctantly rising Er...what do you mean?
Crockett: Are you not going to call witnesses, supply us with affidavits and evidence of this major crime against American democracy?
Giuliani: Oh shit, do I have to?
Mason: rising Your honor, I move that the case be dismissed.
Giuliani: Oh, hell, come on now fellows, hear me out. I mean, there must have been fraud, our boy was a dead cert, he told everyone he was going to win, stands to reason he must have won really. I submit that it was totally unfair, loads more people voted for Biden, how the hell can my man expect to win if more people vote for someone else? And the sun was in our eyes and they were bigger than us and we were all a bit tired and I had lots of evidence, honest, I was up all night
forging compiling it, but the dog ate it and it got wet and the wind blew it away and I lost my satchel on the way here and now I've got a headache and my hair feels all sticky from that awful cheap dye and IT'S NOT FAIR!
Crockett: Mr Mason?
Mason: That sounds utterly convincing to me, your honor. I simply hadn't realised the strength of the arguments for the appellants. I withdraw my defence of this case and suggest that the entire US election be called in favour of Mr Trump forthwith.
Crockett: Well, if you're sure about that Mr Mason...
Mason: Just joshing, kids. April Fool!
Crockett: That's more like it. Case dismissed.
Footnote - Dec 2nd
US attorney-general Barr, hitherto a staunch ally of Trump, announced that the Justice Department had found no evidence of any fraud in the election. Mr Giuliani instantly replied that the A-G did not have the evidence that he (Melting Man) had. Mr G did not say what the evidence actually was, nor did he explain why he had not handed it over to the FBI or indeed to Mr Barr. Or to anyone competent to investigate. Should his "case" ever reach the Supreme Court and be rejected, he will presumably appeal to God and even then it seems pretty damn certain he won't have any actual evidence. But that won't stop him denouncing God as an asshole.