It’s over. The votes have been cast and counted. The challengers have made their case in court, but have not produced any evidence that would affect the outcome of the race.

We have a winner. President-elect Joe Biden will take the oath of office on Jan. 20. All of the agencies of the vast federal government will come under his administration.

This may not be the result everybody wanted, but it’s what happened. It’s reality.

Unfortunately, reality is under attack. There’s a disinformation campaign underway seeking to destroy public confidence in our democratic institutions, weakening Biden’s ability to govern if not overturning the results of the election.

This attack is not coming from a foreign adversary but from President Trump, who is using social media, a team of lawyers and the powers of his office to create the illusion that the election is still up for grabs.

And the campaign is working, at least with Republicans. We don’t expect Biden and Trump supporters to agree on everything, but they should at least agree on a few facts.

But recent polling shows that a majority of Trump voters do not believe that their candidate lost in a fair election. According to a Seven Letter Insight Poll of 2020 voters, 56 percent of Trump voters don’t believe that their votes were counted, 63 percent don’t accept the results of the election and 79 percent believe that illegal voting and fraud made the difference.

The evidence? There is none.

The president’s lawyers have gotten nowhere with dozens of lawsuits challenging the results of elections several states. U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann called their attempt to halt the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results “Frankenstein’s Monster,” noting that “this court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the … complaint and unsupported by evidence.”

Some people compare this to the election of 2000, when the Supreme Court stopped a recount in Florida, awarding the state’s electoral votes and the election to George W. Bush, but the two races couldn’t be more different. Bush led former Vice President Al Gore by 537 votes out of more than 6 million votes cast. A recount of the 2000 election could have flipped the result and the presidency.

Biden leads Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, 150,000 in Michigan and 20,000 in Wisconsin. Even if the close races for Biden in Arizona and Georgia were pushed into Trump’s column, Trump would still lose the election.

The best thing for the country would be if Trump could do what all modern candidates have done after losing a presidential election, and concede defeat. It’s not just good manners. It allows the machinery of a transition to begin working and sends a signal to supporters that the election is over and the country can go back to business.

If he won’t do it, the pressure is on Republican officeholders to stand up for the integrity of our elections and deliver the news to their supporters that the president has lost his race, fair and square. Our system can’t survive long if tens of millions of Americans believe that a national election has been decided by fraud. Trump voters don’t trust the media or the courts, but they may listen to Republicans like Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who appeared on the same ballot as Trump this year and won their races.

The votes have been counted. We have a winner. The election is over.

It’s time to have one reality for everyone.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.