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.
The strategy at this point is to escalate at all costs.
Find out what happened in Pennsylvania last week when a poorly trained contract worker was hired by the electoral board Lucerne County Little did I know the presidential election had already started (but for military personnel serving overseas rather than the general public), opened nine ballots, apparently assumed they were votes from the now-closed elementary school, and threw them path. It was a stupid, illegal act and was rightly referred to the local prosecutor, Republican Stefanie Salavantis, who rightly referred her to the US regional prosecutor.
From then on, however, things took on a life of their own. Despite the fact that there was no evidence that it was a coordinated attack on the integrity of the elections (Keith Gould, a Republican serving on the Luzerne County’s electoral board, told me he was convinced that “it was a Mistake was Employee’s third day. I think it’s incompetence. ”) And that the electoral committee had issued a statement within hours of discovering the problem, Team Trump began to whine that this was part of a massive, coordinated national conspiracy who deprived him of re-election.
On the morning news programs – even In front the Ministry of Justice published an unprecedented political press release In this case, it was explicitly stated for which candidate the votes were cast – Trump and his press team have already hyped the incidentto use it as a kind Reichstag fire Moment to redouble their attacks on the political process and call for further restrictions on access to voting. Trump only had this inside information because Bill Barr’s Justice Department had personally notified the President of an ongoing investigation so that Trump could start a conspiracy narrative.
We also know that after Shredded GOP Controlled Legislation in Florida The state’s attorney general, encouraged by GOP politicians, encouraged the disenfranchisement of ex-offenders recently approved by a large majority of voters in a 2018 referendum, and after Trump-nominated judges confirmed it on appeal. asks the FBI to “investigate” Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to pay ex-offenders’ fines and other court fees to help them become eligible to vote. We know that North Carolina GOP officials have just resigned As a way to bypass a brokered agreement that they themselves had agreed a few days earlier before receiving a pushback from GOP supervisors, it would have allowed late-arriving ballots to be counted. We know that in Pennsylvania Warning officials that the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate “bare ballot papers” could result in thousands of postal ballot papers being discarded. We know this in Nevada and elsewhere Sue GOP attorneys to block advanced mail-in voting options.
In other words, the GOP, employing multiple levers of power at the same time, is accelerating efforts to limit and adjust the franchise so that manufactured pro-Trump majorities emerge from minority support pools. In fact, Trump and his supporters see the idea of an election as nothing more than a raw power game. If this game leads to the support of the person currently in power, so be it – but if it does not, the plan is to use whatever means are necessary to keep a government in power that has every claim to legitimacy the population has lost.
The GOP is increasingly positioning itself as an authoritarian, anti-democratic party – as apropos given Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the Netherlands held a fundraiser for a right-wing extremist party at the US embassy in Holland earlier this month.
Here’s a question for Republican senators who claim they are advocates of democracy and decency and who take pride in their constitutional mindset – for example, Mitt Romney, who says Trump’s refusal to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power if he loses is an horror, but who says they support pushing for a confirmation from the Supreme Court that can only be voted on a few days before the election? or to Ben Sasse, who claims to conscientiously adhere to the constitutional values, which presumably the New York Times Revelations about Trump’s tax evasion biases make it all the more uncomfortable: If you really believe in American constitutional norms and the spirit of democracy, why not demonstrate your trust in the people?
If the American people actually believe in the same values that you do and support the same types of law candidates that you do, you’ll see this soon enough. After November 3rd, you will be able to proceed with the verification process. But when the public turns out to be not in the same headspace as you – when voters are disappointed with the Stampede in setting up a judiciary appointed by a president who was never supported by a majority of the population and who is now appears to be up to your neck in unethical and possibly criminal tax avoidance – then you surely owe it to them to respect that distinction and stop the rush for approval.
Look in the mirror and wonder where your values and commitment to the country are at this dangerous moment. Because if your expression of allegiance to constitutional norms is more than just a cloak for a crude takeover, you must slow that process down and not try to bring anyone to the Supreme Court during an ongoing election that exposes a desperate president to potential criminal liability to get the courts to keep him in office and protect him from charge.
This is really not a difficult argument. Tearing democracy apart for short-term judicial leverage and trusting a cheater is a losing bet. Ultimately, this fist trade corrodes respect for justice and democracy in the broader sense. And then everyone loses.