Was Trump hoist with his own petard?

Joe Biden has been declared the president-elect again. And again. And possibly a few times more before his inauguration.

After the recount due to the audit in Georgia not changing the outcome and concluding that he won Georgia by about 12,000 votes, the AP has finally called the state for Joe Biden and updated its final tally for him from 290 to 306 versus 232 for Trump. Biden’s lead in the total votes nationwide has increased to an astonishing six million (79,695,884 versus 73,712,282 or 51.9% to 48.1% with votes still being counted, an almost 4% difference) but in the US version of democracy, such a large margin of victory in the national popular vote counts for nothing.

Biden was first declared the winner on Saturday, November 7 when his electoral votes went over the 270 mark, then again a few days later when his win was reinforced when all the other major outlets, apart from the AP, called Georgia for Biden giving him the final 306 figure. But the more conservative AP held off until the final recount in Georgia was announced yesterday. So this is as official as it gets until the formal certification, at which point Biden will be declared the president-elect yet again. Trump will continue to refuse to concede even as he is dragged kicking and screaming out of the White House, while his grifter children desperately try to hold him back in. (Ok, I am letting my imagination run riot here but it would be a fitting end to this miserable presidency, no?)

It is possible that Trump’s relentless bad-mouthing of mail-in voting may have actually cost him Georgia and, who knows, the election. If so, that would be sweet irony.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Tuesday continued to fire back at President Donald Trump’s baseless attacks against the integrity of the election, calling his fellow Republican’s loss in the state was self-inflicted.

Raffensperger, a Republican who has come under repeated attack from within his own party, claimed that the lame-duck president cost himself a win by dissuading his own base of supporters from voting by mail. According to the secretary of state, 24,000 Republicans who voted by mail in the primary did not vote in the general election.

“Those 24,000 people did not vote in the fall, either. They did not vote absentee, because they were told by the president, ‘Don’t vote absentee. It’s not secure,'” Raffensperger told WSB-TV. “But then they did not come out and vote in person. He would have won by 10,000 votes. He actually . . . suppressed his own voting base.”

He also warned that Trump’s attempts to sow doubt in the state’s elections threatened to hurt Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., in their upcoming runoffs, which will decide control of the Senate.

“When you have disunity and distrust in the process,” he said, “you are going to discourage the Republican base from turning out.”

Raffensperger dismissed the post-election complaints as attempts to make excuses for Trump’s loss in a traditionally red state.

“If Trump and Collins were concerned about voter fraud, they would have proposed and passed legislation to fix it,” he said. “They did nothing — absolutely nothing.”

Seth Meyers laughs at the efforts of Republicans to overturn the election results.

Incidentally, here is an explanation of the phrase used in the title of this post.

“Hoist with his own petard” is a phrase from a speech in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet that has become proverbial. The phrase’s meaning is literally that a bomb-maker is blown up (“hoist” off the ground) by his own bomb (a “petard” is a small explosive device), and indicates an ironic reversal, or poetic justice.

Ah, Shakespeare! Where would the English language be without you?


  1. DrVanNostrand says

    I hope all the ‘stolen election’ talk discourages Trump voters for the Georgia runoffs. Considering how those types of runoffs usually tilt red, we’ll need quite a bit of luck to win the senate. (Even a senate held hostage by Joe Manchin is better than a senate led by McConnell)

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … a “petard” is a small explosive device …

    I’ve read (in books of Shakespeareana) that in Elizabethan slang, “petard” often meant “fart“.

    It would take quite a blast to literally hoist someone that way -- especially one of Trump’s bulk.

  3. says

    I know the common wisdom is that Trump discouraged voting by mail, but let me add a different data point. As far as I can tell, while he was verbally discouraging voting by mail, his team was texting like crazy to get supporters to do it. I’m registered as a Republican. (Not because I’m pro-Trump, or even particularly pro-Republican, but because our county is 60%/40% R/D, and it give me a voice in primaries and the inevitable winners of the local races.) I was getting inundated by texts from Trump encouraging me to vote by mail.

  4. flex says

    From wiki:

    Pétard comes from the Middle French péter, to break wind, from the root pet, expulsion of intestinal gas, derived from the Latin peditus, past participle of pedere, to break wind. In modern French, a pétard is a firecracker (and it is the basis for the word for firecracker in several other European languages).

    However, it is unclear if Shakespeare knew the etymology of the word. Which gives us a few options:

    1. Shakespeare knew what a petard was, but not the etymology, so he was only making a reference to a sapper accidently exploding the mine they were setting. Or,
    2. Shakespeare knew both the name of the explosive device and the etymology, and was making a double joke about both a person finding their own actions have destroyed them, as well as the incredibly bad stench which occurs when that happens. Or,
    3. Shakespeare was using common Elizabethan slang without really knowing the derivation of the meaning.

    23 Skidoo!

  5. fentex says

    To Shakepear a Petard would likely have been a bomb used to breach a castles gates -- that was it’s specific meaning in English at the time.

    Placing and igniting it while under direct enemy attack was a dangerous task risking catastrophic failure.

  6. Ray de Silva says

    I guess we’ll just have to wait until the fat lady decides to sing. I mean sign. Yes, I know that’s a very sexist and bigoted joke, but then the Republicans are all sexist bigots, so that should be all right with them …

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