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Trump has now forged a new path for American democracy, one that is distinctly un-democratic, and rather similar to a child throwing their toys out of the pram.

It now appears almost required behavior that, upon losing an election as a GOP candidate, one must challenge the legality of the lost election.

For Trump, he suffered from an all-consuming ailment that first took grip as a phobia: atychiphobia, an irrational and persistent fear of failing. Or perhaps it was plain old narcissism: the fear of being called a loser.

Or both.

Now this disease has ripped through Trump’s brain and caused all sorts of thoroughly irrational behaviors.

And it’s contagious.

First, it spread like wildfire through immediate friends associates and family, with Rudy Giuliani being riddled with the ailment, and vomiting lies and disinformation onto the lens of the nearest alt-right camera. Smartmatic and Dominion, in the crosshairs, have tried to vaccinate themselves against future harm by slapping court cases on those responsible for spreading the germs of mistruth.

But now the virus, heretofore confined to the upper echelons of the Republican Party, has become a political pandemic.

The latest outbreak has just erupted in Florida’s 20th District, where Jason Mariner, the GOP candidate, lost a congressional special election.

In a landslide.

It wasn’t even close. Progressive Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (backing the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, and universal basic income policies) stomped to a victory of 78.7% to Mariner’s 19.6%—a 59.1-percentage-point victory. The figures were not kind to the GOP candidate, with the Democrat receiving 43,663 votes to her GOP opponent’s 10,883.

Rather than accept defeat magnanimously—and you would hardly think this was able to be meaningfully challenged given the gaping chasm of difference in numbers—Mariner preferred to fester in denial.

But now the virus, heretofore confined to the upper echelons of the Republican Party, has become a political pandemic.

Mariner, unsurprisingly (and learning off Trump and Giuliani), is claiming irregularities. He stated in an interview with CBS after losing, “Now they called the race—I did not win, so they say, but that does not mean that they lost either, it does not mean that we lost.”

“So they say.” Three rather weasely words. “They” are…everyone other than the most fanatical anti-reality, anti-losers. The polls, the electoral commissions, the ballots, the news outlets. They say. Pretty loud. And pretty clear.

The most populous Democratic counties are Broward and Palm Beach counties, so it is no surprise that these are the two targeted by the lawsuit.

In classic Trump-Guiliani-Powell fashion, Mariner promises more than he delivers, as he continued with CBS:  “We’ll also have some stuff coming out that we’ve recently discovered.”

Of course you will. Of course you have.

But it’s not just the GOP that have legally challenged Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick winning in an election. She’s getting used to it. Before beating Mariner, she won a Democratic primary, beating corporate Democrat by a very close 5 votes.

So he challenged the result.

In court.

The details here are interesting, not least because of his position as a moderate or “corporate Democrat,” prime target for the interests in corporate lobbying groups. He took issue with Cherfilus-McCormick’s “People’s Prosperity Plan,” a form of the aforementioned universal basic income.

His lawsuit read:

“Defendant Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick touted a widely reported gimmick that she referred to as the ‘People’s Prosperity Plan.’… The ‘plan’ is intended to offer a false hope to underserved communities with the intention and purpose of procuring votes in return. The promise offered by Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is that every adult earning less than $75,000 a year will receive a monthly one thousand ($1,000) check if Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick was elected.

The problem here should be obvious: every single policy offered by any politician to any of their electorate has exactly the same purpose. It is for “the intention and purpose of procuring voters in return.”

In December, politicians passed a sweeping $780 billion defense bill that will have been the result of massive lobbying efforts by defense corporations and contractors, special interest groups and lobbyists. You can guarantee that almost every corporate lawmaker, both sides of the House, would have been a recipient of some kind of kickback for the law being passed.

But I don’t want to open that can of worms, because the point here is that, no matter what the excuse may be, potential lawmakers and losing politicians are unable to lose gracefully now. The disease is rife.

And yet perhaps I am right to bring into play the idea of corporate money and lobbyists. It is primarily as a result of such active lobbying that there is so much on the line. Too much. Too much money is in play so that when someone loses an election, they aren’t just losing a democratic contest, but arguably millions of dollars. Such a loss can make people desperate, and desperate people flail, attempting to grasp onto anything they can that might get them their financial windfall electoral victory.

Just as the bubonic plague was carried by infected fleas on the host rats back in the Middle Ages, this new disease is carried in the pockets of politicians, smeared over the blank checks that change hands in the dark corridors of power.

Politicians refuse to accept electoral losses because they are imprisoned by their own self-interest and the promise of a financial paradise.

If we don’t eradicate this problem at source, then we have a good chance of seeing the death of democracy in our lifetimes.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...