Rudy Giuliani has once again helped us forget that he was actually the mayor of New York during 9/11, that his steely resolve resulted in him being called "America's Mayor" and being a media hero.
Now his mission is to attack our democracy.
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President Donald Trump is having more trouble accepting defeat than any grown-up I know. What he is doing now with his rants is using precious days that should cement his legacy, beginning with the coronavirus vaccine. He really believes he won. He can't accept that he lost. So he launched his army to attack the system that dared to call him a loser.
The system he attacked is democracy.
He believes it has failed. He's wrong, of course. He's the biggest sore loser in history. Or at least my half of America thinks so. And so do the media, except Fox News. And so do all the electors who are going to vote for Joe Biden on Dec. 14, turning a routine vote into a critical moment.
Donald Trump has never had a lot of respect for the Constitution, so maybe he doesn't care if his actions threaten to undermine it. But he has fired up millions and millions of people in this country to stand up with him — and against democracy.
And the man who is leading this assault, the man who has spent the last month filing fruitless lawsuits unsupported by any credible evidence, rejected in state after state, is none other than former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Rudy Giuliani.
He knows better. He is doing this to make money and be in the spotlight. According to The New York Times, the rate is $20,000 a day, making him the most expensive — and the most dangerous — lawyer in America.
Confidence in the electoral system is the cornerstone of democracy. It's the first thing dictators attack when they are voted out. And democracy is the cornerstone of the rule of law.
If you believe that Biden didn't win, that it wasn't fair, then why should he have the right to tell you what to do? Why should you respect the decisions of judges he appoints?
If you don't believe in democracy, then the rule of law goes right with it.
To have a president of the United States attacking the fairness of our democracy after every count and recount, every lawsuit, every judge, may be the biggest assault on the Constitution since Southern governors refused to follow the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Then-President Eisenhower sent in the National Guard.
Rudy Giuliani has become a laughingstock within the profession and the media, but it doesn't matter. For the millions whom Trump is talking to, who are listening to his complaints, who literally live in an alternate reality in which Democrats really brought in food trucks stuffed with ballots, Rudy Giuliani is right. He provides the foundation for Donald's Trump assault on the electoral system.
Without Rudy, the ragtag band of ambulance chasers and would-be talk show hosts, who are the only ones left after the real lawyers bowed out, would look like what they are: a ragtag band of ambulance chasers who wish they were Rudy Giuliani. Lawyers have ethical duties. You don't file sham cases. That's why all the real lawyers stepped back when there was no evidence of fraud.
Instead, we have "America's Mayor" personally appearing at hearings, giving credence to claims that he knows are unsupported by credible evidence and that, if believed, would undermine the legitimacy of a Biden presidency. We are not talking about any ordinary dispute. To give millions and millions of people reason to believe that democracy failed is shameful, especially for a man who once stood for the rule of law.
It is the most cynical act of self-promotion most of us will ever see. It is not just fuel to the fire. It's the tinder.
Susan Estrich can be reached at email@example.com.