Trump Threatens America: Re-Elect Me, or Else

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Donald Trump speaks on the right while Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani look on in the background.

I could start this column with the 800 pound gorilla in the room, the mother of all signals: the bomb New York Times detection Calling Trump a tax fraud, grifter and man who turned the U.S. government into a vehicle for personal gain. But to do it justice, you really have to read the whole story yourself. (And try to filter out the noise, the undeniable rejections in which Trump and his allies don’t contradict the numbers on the list TimesThe story – one more Trump tax document to disprove the fees – just say that Times delivers “false news”.)

Let’s talk about Trump’s voting suppression strategy instead, as polls show he is likely to easily lose an already ongoing election.

What Trump is saying with his Refusal to ensure a peaceful transfer of power is: “Either you will vote for me again or you will admit that I am holding onto power in some other way, or I will start a civil war.” And what he says when he does urges supporters to check the polling stations To make sure all goes well, he wants his foot soldiers to intimidate people not to vote. And what he really says when he says that he hopes to force a no matter what the voters decide “Continuation” of his presidency is that there is no point in going to the vote because it will try to treat Americans like serfs rather than citizens.

He has already said that he wants a new Supreme Court judge soon, as a guarantee that the Court will support him if – not if – he questions election results and votes; and he said that he a wants and should have 9-0 court ruling in his favor for such an election dispute.

Let’s analyze this: a President of the United States says repeatedly that the election will be manipulated against him; that any result other than one announcing its victory is by definition fraudulent; he knows that in advance that too many votes are cast against him and that if the ballots are not counted, he will be the winner; that he will order his team to submit many legal documents that contest the results; and that the Court of Justice should give its legal imprimatur to the legal arguments put forward by its team. This is the stuff of the banana republics.

We now know from Barton Gellman’s reporting in the Atlanticthat Trump’s strategy involves a concerted effort to get courts across the country not to count ballots that arrive after election day, even if they are postmarked before election day and even if the reason they don’t arrive is the slowdown of the postal service is. According to Gellman, this strategy involves a deliberate attempt to cut the time so that the votes cannot be counted in time for states to certify. And if states certify results that are not in Trump’s favor, Trump’s team will argue that the vote count was in error and ask lawmakers to handpick the electoral college voters who favor Trump. And we know from Trump’s own words that he will push his case to a handpicked majority in the Supreme Court.

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