This has certainly been the most bizarre week in my lifetime when it comes to the operational integrity of our democracy. But what's increasingly obvious about it is that it's an entirely manufactured problem. It comes down to two fundamental issues: The leaders who do not accept responsibility for their failure, and those who stoke faithlessness that they created. Let's dive deeper.
I've been in leadership positions for a very long time. Most of my professional career, I've had to "manage" something or someone, and I've had to deliver things. I can say with almost universal certainty that at no time was it possible for me to attribute my failures to others. I mean, that's what being a leader is fundamentally about... it's your position to reach an outcome as charged by the nature of that position. I've dropped a lot of balls, to use the sportsball metaphor, and while there have certainly been times where I was not easily positioned for success, it doesn't change the fact that it was on me to deliver it, and I didn't. Sure, I've had legitimate reasons, not the least of which is not having the right resources to get the job done.
The GOP has been cultivating a world of scapgoating back to the Reagan days. On one side (theirs), you had people who were pulling up their bootstraps or whatever and doing the hard work to maintain a quality of life and deliver on the American dream. Even two decades ago, the people who were getting in your way of that were mostly politicians spending money on things that the "lazy" took advantage of, especially the entitlement programs that intended to lift the disadvantaged out of poverty. They rarely acknowledged the causes of the poverty, and usually attributed it to character flaws. As you might expect, these were mostly, but not all, people of color and minorities who were living a world of systemic racism that persists today.
In the Trump era, the gloves came off and he went right for the people that were always the intended scapegoats, among them, Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants and Black "welfare moms." The thinly veiled racism was gone at that point. And now, as Donald Trump, in four years went from a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and the White House, to losing it all on his watch, he blames the system. This is the system that was largely uninhibited for the first half of his term, during which the only meaningful thing he did was get a tax cut passed that benefitted primarily the wealthy and people who made six figures or more. There is no objective fact behind this failure. No one cheated, the voting public just wasn't having it.
Then, in November, about 7 million more people voted for Joe Biden than did for Donald Trump, and the next president was chosen. After a run-off election in Georgia, it also came to the point where Senate control flipped to Democrats. The election was litigated in the courts, often by the judgment of Trump-appointed judges. Not a single case brought by the Trump campaign won. The Supreme Court wouldn't even hear a case brought by Texas, which wanted to sue Pennsylvania for the way it ran its election. The facts are that the election was secure and fair, something that the appropriate agencies even in the federal government confirmed.
But the sycophants that supported Trump with blind loyalty, including a nontrivial number of congresscritters, insisted that the election was ripe with fraud. They beat this drum daily, for two months. Now they insist that a significant portion of Americans, almost two-thirds of self-identifying Republicans (which equates to around 15% of the population) believe that the election was not free and fair. But let's think about that for a moment... who has asserted that the election was not fair? The very people who now assert that a 15%-ish of Americans say it wasn't fair. What a nutty, cyclical predicament! It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy. This assertion has no evidence. The dipshit lawyer who keeps blaming the voting machine company is now getting sued by the voting machine company, because free speech is free, but it has consequences.
To review, people charged with leadership failed, and blamed everyone but themselves. Then the failed leaders stoked feelings of unfairness, without evidence, and cited the very feelings of unfairness that they created to attempt to legitimize their failure. That's sad.