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Michael Carpenter, an attorney in Houlton, is finishing his second term representing District 2 in the Maine Senate.
Maybe our month of post-presidential angst will prove to be good for our system. Like many, I have watched with concern as President Donald Trump has denied the election results. For three weeks, he has alleged massive fraud and corruption and has sent his legal team to state after state in search of evidence of the wrongdoing.
Imagine for a minute the damage that might have been done if he had not challenged the results but rather had just continued to tweet about fraud. Instead, he actually built us a roadmap to a better understanding of the voting process. His campaign has gone to court some 20 times, has rightfully demanded audits and recounts and has lawfully challenged the outcome at every turn.
As a result, he has caused our election process to be held up to a giant national microscope and we have watched the process work. We have watched live streaming poll workers, two by two, a Republican and a Democrat, work together to examine ballots. We have watched Trump’s lawyers hold a courthouse news conference alleging massive fraud after leaving a courtroom where they had just said they were not alleging fraud, And, most importantly, we have watched as the election officials in every contested state, Republican and Democrat, say, unequivocally, that they had seen no evidence of fraud.
We have watched governors, Republican and Democrat, in every contested state certify the accuracy of the vote totals in their states. We have watched as judges, state and federal, appointed by George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump have dismissed most cases. We have learned that courts still demand real evidence, not rumor, social media trolling, speculation or third-hand unverified hearsay. Even Tucker Carlson on Fox has expressed dismay at the evidence-free hysteria put forth by the president’s attorneys.
We have learned from Trump’s own cybersecurity expert that this election was “the most secure in American history” — for which the president fired him, by tweet. We have learned what possible role a state Legislature could play, but won’t because good people will not interfere with the will of the people without some evidence of wrongdoing.
Thank you to the president for force feeding us Thanksgiving-sized helpings of our electoral process and seconds on constitutional law. At the end of this long dark day, our institutions have come through the most sustained attack in over 200 years and they are still standing.
On Nov. 3, Trump carried my Senate district by 26 points and I lost by 13. The next morning I called my opponent, wished him well and moved on. I hope others can soon do the same.