Anyone who thought President Donald Trump would exit the White House with a display of dignity and grace must have been living in a cave for the last four years. The president signaled loud and clear for months that, were he to lose the election, he would proclaim that he had been cheated out of another four years in office and would act accordingly.

With not a shred of evidence that there were any meaningful glitches in the voting process or ballot counting anywhere, Trump, nevertheless, has sent lawyers into several states to contest the results. So far, they have been laughed out of court – several courts, in fact. Even Fox News – the more reputable reporting side, not the ranting conspiracy theorists who dominate the evening time slots – has displayed skepticism about Trump’s fantasy of a stolen election.

Of course, millions of Americans who voted for Trump have fallen for his latest con job and are steaming mad. If Trump had a shred of concern about the nation, he would not be inflaming his followers with this attack on American democracy. But, as always, he only cares about preserving his illusory reputation for always winning. Again, this is no surprise.

What is appalling is that most leading Republicans – chief among them Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – are taking Trump’s side. Most of them are not stupid enough to believe the president’s antics have any validity, but they know that most GOP voters – 70% according to one poll – do believe there has been foul play. Rather than steering their supporters gently toward the truth that our democratic system has worked its magic again – something we should all be proud of – they are complicit in a cynical assault on that system.

It is a relief on many levels that Trump will soon be out of the White House. But McConnell and his unprincipled ilk will still hold power, and that is a sickening reality we will all have to live with for years to come.

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