A scary article about Trump and his possible refusal to relinquish the Presidency

You probably know that Trump has not committed to a peaceful transition of power should he lose November’s election. To wit:

 

In the past, we haven’t worried about a President refusing to give up power, even if he formally loses an election. But Trump has not just pushed the envelope of the Presidency, but torn it wide open. Although Al Gore even conceded when he could have battled on, Trump is mentally ill and I don’t see it as impossible that he will refuse to concede unless there’s a huge landslide for Biden, which is unlikely. (Speaking of envelopes, Trump’s crusade against mail-in voting and the Post Office, which supports his unwillingness to give up power, is unconscionable.)

But I wasn’t truly worried about all this until I read the cover story of the latest Atlantic, which discusses at length the possible scenarios that could play out were Trump to use every trick possible to hold onto the Presidency, even if he loses both the popular the Electoral College votes. The article is long (12 pages in 9-point type when I printed it out), and not written particularly clearly or well, but it’s clear enough to scare the bejesus out of you. Click on the screenshot to read it (and you should). (Thanks to several readers who sent me the link.)

Things can get quite complicated, with a number of different scenarios possible, including governors appointing electors, Trump calling out law enforcement to intimidate people at polling places, and even one scenario in which Nancy Pelosi becomes President!

Even scarier is that Team Trump is preparing for this now, without even knowing what the election result will be. The article pulls no punches, and it’s too long for me to summarize (besides, you need to read it given that this stuff might happen). Here are just a few quotes:

lot of peopleincluding Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee, have mis­conceived the nature of the threat. They frame it as a concern, unthinkable for presidents past, that Trump might refuse to vacate the Oval Office if he loses. They generally conclude, as Biden has, that in that event the proper authorities “will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.”

The worst case, however, is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress. He could prevent the formation of consensus about whether there is any outcome at all. He could seize on that un­certainty to hold on to power.

Trump’s state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for postelection maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states. Ambiguities in the Constitution and logic bombs in the Electoral Count Act make it possible to extend the dispute all the way to Inauguration Day, which would bring the nation to a precipice. The Twentieth Amendment is crystal clear that the president’s term in office “shall end” at noon on January 20, but two men could show up to be sworn in. One of them would arrive with all the tools and power of the presidency already in hand.

“We are not prepared for this at all,” Julian Zelizer, a Prince­ton professor of history and public affairs, told me. “We talk about it, some worry about it, and we imagine what it would be. But few people have actual answers to what happens if the machinery of democracy is used to prevent a legitimate resolution to the election.”

and

This year, with a judge no longer watching, the Republicans are recruiting 50,000 volunteers in 15 contested states to monitor polling places and challenge voters they deem suspicious-looking. Trump called in to Fox News on August 20 to tell Sean Hannity, “We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have, hopefully, U.S. attorneys” to keep close watch on the polls. For the first time in decades, according to Clark, Republicans are free to combat voter fraud in “places that are run by Democrats.”

One more:

According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.

To a modern democratic sensibility, discarding the popular vote for partisan gain looks uncomfortably like a coup, whatever license may be found for it in law. Would Republicans find that position disturbing enough to resist? Would they cede the election before resorting to such a ploy? Trump’s base would exact a high price for that betrayal, and by this point party officials would be invested in a narrative of fraud.

These aren’t just imaginary scenarios—the Trump campaign is preparing for this stuff. And if the race is tight, we’ll see a Constitutional crisis unimaginable in our times, and I’ve lived few through a few already, including the Nixon resignation. This would make that look like peanuts. I never paid much attention before when people said Trump could spell the end of democracy in America, thinking that “well, even in the worst case he could be re-elected but would be gone in four more years.” But if he holds onto power, and there’s no clear way of resolving the crisis—one of the problems the article points out—then yes, our system could be severely eroded. Could there even be fighting in the streets? I refuse, at this point, to imagine that possibility.

Anyway, as one reader advised me, get a stiff drink when you read the article. You’ll need it.

278 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Sub

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Last night on MSNBC they covered this story at length. I think Maddow spent nearly the entire hour on it. The Atlantic article was discussed at length. We are in big trouble and the people need to take action now. Not wait until it is too late. Trump is going to try to call the election a fraud and declare himself the winner. He knows he is going to lose and he is, as you say, completely nuts. He has an army of lawyers who will attempt to go into courts everywhere with this shit. He has already said he needs his judges in the supreme court working for him. What the hell else do we need.

    I do not think they should go ahead with the debates. It is a mistake. Trump will just take over and make a total mess of it. People need to wake up on this guy and get him to hell out.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      I read something where Pence basically said they needed to secure a replacement for RBG soon because it is likely they will need to challenge the election results in the courts so they are openly already preparing for this. It gives me nausea.

      • Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Yes, that is the biggest threat. Just as in the Gore election, the Supreme Court can decide the election along partisan lines. This will happen. I will bet $100 that if Biden wins, the election will be decided in the Supreme Court.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          And sadly, you will win that $100.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          It kind of looks that way but it may not get that far. And the Supreme Court could refuse. If they let the count go through I believe Biden will win big and there will be no need for the Supreme court to do any deciding. Also, Trump is already saying out loud he needs to fill the seat right away so they can give him the election.

          Trump and his wife attempted to visit the Body of RBG live on TV. They had to leave as everyone was chanting Vote Him Out. That was just about an hour ago.

          • Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

            “the Supreme Court could refuse”

            Trump handpicked the swing votes in this court…

          • Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            I hope you are right but don’t underestimate Trump’s ability to cast doubt on the mail-in votes. His followers and GOP sycophants will certain go along with it. We are counting on judges hearing the evidence and, not finding any, deciding to let the counting continue. But this won’t happen just once. The GOP will find new “fraud” over and over again. There’s always a chance that they’ll get something through. They also might be able to delay things past the date after which state legislatures make the decision. Evidently I’m much more scared about this than you are.

            • Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

              They are publicly asking their supporters to commit voting fraud. They may well be deliberately setting this up to fail.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

                May well be? They definitely are. Trump has got his defenders believing that mail-in ballots are simply all fraudulent. He’s even mentioned that foreign governments could just send a bunch in to swing the vote.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

                I’m referring to actual acts of sabotage, getting people to commit fraud so they can declare that there was fraud. But yes, they are actually even doing that now.

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

              What I am predicting is that to stop this mess before it gets to some final theory of the supreme court calling the shot. I said they should cancel the debate. It is a joke. Mitchell already went on record of attempting to walk back exactly what Trump said he would do and everything will be fine and we will have peaceful transfer of power. That is a lie and we all know it. Trump is now off the rails and it is time to stop talking and start doing.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

                I agree. I think that there should be no debating a person who refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. If there is no commitment to that, there is no sense going through the motions. The only answer to that reporter’s question was “yes”. It should not even be up for debate.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

                But Trump has always distanced himself from the American people when it comes to responsibility. When he can’t commit to a peaceful transfer of power, he’s not saying he’ll commit violence. In his mind, he’s not responsible if others are violent. Also, he reads the question pretty much as if it was “If you lose the vote as reported by the media, will you leave office without making a mess?” He’s just answering with “If I lose the vote as reported by the media, I will dispute it with all my strength. If that results in violence, it’s not my fault but the liberal media.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

                Yet that is a distinction without a difference. I president should ever even think twice about the answer to that question. No one should normalize that behaviour.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

                “No one should normalize that behaviour.”

                Sure but Trump has known all his life that behavior is often normalized by the individual’s beliefs as perceived by observers. Laws are intended to counter this problem but so much of human activity is outside the legal realm. Trump’s Access Hollywood incident was the perfect example. Trump’s superpower is making people believe that he believes the crazy shit he says. He’s very consistent in that way. This is why his supporters often say that they like the way he always speaks the truth. What they really mean is that you always know what he’s thinking.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

                “The only answer to that reporter’s question was ‘yes’.”

                I hate to be siding with Trump yet again as I detest the man, but that reporter’s question was insulting and should never have been asked. I can’t imagine someone asking Obama (or any other president) that question, nor can I imagine Obama (or any other president) dignifying such a question with a response.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

                I agree, though I would not call it “siding with Trump”. It was a question clearly intended to elicit this kind of answer.

                The problem is that if reporters avoid such questions, they’ll be accused (rightly) of going soft on Trump. It’s very difficult to ask a question that isn’t a gotcha and one Trump can’t spin into something in his favor. It’s his ability to lie about everything that makes it so hard.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

                Again. It doesn’t matter if it’s insulting. Trump could say “what an insulting question of course I will transition peacefully”. He didn’t instead he said he wouldn’t.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

                Don’t force me to defend Trump!

                He didn’t say that he won’t transition peacefully but that he couldn’t promise that the transition would be peaceful. This is not really so unreasonable. After all, many are predicting this election won’t go smoothly. Of course, Trump will be the cause but he doesn’t see it that way. (Or he’s willing to pretend that he doesn’t.) If the Dems are willing to cheat by sending everyone mail-in ballots that can be signed by virtually anyone, dead or alive, then he can’t promise voters won’t be pissed.

                With Trump, it often comes down to whether he actually believes his own BS. I don’t think he does but I’m a liberal so I wouldn’t, would I?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

                I really don’t know what to say. You seem to think it’s ok for anyone to hesistate at such an answer. That this isn’t a red flag. Ok then. You’re wrong and you should be concerned. This is the POTUS. He should be always willing to transfer power peacefully after an election shows he has lost. No debate. No discussion about how it’s all rigged. He’s supposed to uphold the democracy that gives him this temporary power. The fact that you think it’s ok to for one second consider not conceding demonstrates how far you all have been manipulated by this con man into accepting this as the new normal and this means that you are well and truly fucked. Good by democracy in America.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

                All I’m saying is that the problem is not his answer to this question but his entire effort to discredit the election process in order to win it.

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

                To Mirandaga:

                “I can’t imagine someone asking Obama (or any other president) that question, nor can I imagine Obama (or any other president) dignifying such a question with a response.”

                Of course you can’t: Because, since 1792, no candidate has openly announced ahead of the election that he isn’t prepared to abide by the results. Only Trump has done this. And he means it: He’s incapable of admitting defeat.

                Hell, he heaped scorn upon and tried to delegitimize the 2016 election (because he lost the popular vote, very decisively) — and he won that election!

                What do you think he’ll do when (Hank help us) loses this one?!

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                To jblilie:

                “. . .since 1792, no candidate has openly announced ahead of the election that he isn’t prepared to abide by the results.”

                That’s because no candidate has ever been asked such an insulting question. Also, BTW, refusing to answer a question that should never have been asked is not equivalent to “announcing that he isn’t prepared to abide by the results.” This is a non-story, jblilie, intentionally geared to giving Dems and the liberal media something to obsess about.

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

                Given Trump’s history of disputing elections, dissing the post office, and claiming widespread fraud, I don’t think it’s at all an insulting question, particularly because Trump himself regularly insults the press during the press conferences. It’s perfectly in line with his history of statements to ask him if he’ll dispute any election results.

                It is not a non-story, for it tells us something about Trump’s odiousness. He won’t even say that he’ll commit to a peaceful transfer of power. I’m not obsessed, but I’m appalled. And I think your argument is misguided.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

                👍

              • cagjr
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

                No other candidate or president has conducted himself in a manner that anyone saw a need to pose that question. Trump was spewing out his belief that the election was rigged.None of the other candidates in 2016 primary had a problem answering the question, “will you accept the results of the election?” Trump was unable to say yes.

              • Posted September 26, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

                To cagjr:

                “Trump was unable to say yes.”

                Not to belabor this, but Trump was being asked to exclude the possibility of challenging the results of the election, something that the reporter was well aware the Trump would refuse, not unreasonably, to do. The question was a set-up: had Trump said yes, he would have been creating a soundbite to be used against him if it turns out that he challenges the results—again, something he not unreasonably refused to do. Sorry, but I have to stick to my view that this is a non-story.

              • Posted September 26, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

                I agree. In addition, everyone knew his opinion on this issue already. It is disingenuous of the press to treat it as fresh news.

                On the other hand, Trump was given an opportunity (one of many) to assure the people that he would do all he could to make the election go as smoothly as possible and give the usual “may the best man win” ending. It wouldn’t have been inconsistent with his worry about mail-in ballots or the supposed cheating by Dems he keeps talking about. As usual, he cares only about himself and has no problem at all if people end up taking to the streets after Election Day turns into a fiasco, which will be entirely of his making.

        • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          Hey, Lou. You won a bet with me in 2016. Want to go $50 on your assertion above? ($100 is too rich for me.)

          • jezgrove
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            “$100 is too rich for me” – indeed, think about next year’s duck chow, Lou!

          • Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            Yes, let’s do it again for $50. You’re on. Thanks!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 25, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            Lou won that bet!? Well now I’m even more sad because Lou could be right. And like Marie in “When Harry Met Sally” I hear myself saying to Lou, the Sally to my Marie, “You’re right, you’re right, I *know* you’re right!”

    • phoffman56
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      My unanswered question in a recent thread was about whether Maddow had asserted the following (Yes or No, never mind whether they’d dare):

      There is at least one state, Pennsylvania in particular, where the state legislature can legally ignore the presidential election there and appoint, by just a majority vote, whoever they wish as the official electors to the ‘College’ which elects the next president.

      And Mass Murderer donald’s lawyers are already working to assure that’s what will happen if needed. The cover, for Pensy Joe Republican member, would be that if Biden wins by ‘n’ votes, then there were at least ‘n+1’ fraudulent votes for him. But the Supreme Court would not need that–it’s legal because the US constitution, handed down by Jesus in 1776 or whenever, says it’s okay.

      Did I mis-hear, or is that actually a legal possibility in your constitution?

      • tomh
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        This is the entirety of the requirements for the Electoral College in the Constitution.
        “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress”

        Now, states may pass laws about whether electors must abide by the popular vote, and 29 states have done so. 21 have not.

        • phoffman56
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Thanks. So much for democracy.

          • Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            It’s messy; but states have (100% I think) in modern times sent electors based on the state popular vote.

            But, yes, a state legislature could do something different. Can you say, “steal the election”?

            Luckily, WI, PA, and MI all have Dem governors. (I think the election, barring a landslide for Biden) will be decided in WI, MI, and PA. It heartens me that tRump feels the need to campaign hard in traditionally deep-red states like TX, AZ, and FL.)

            All that said, anything could happen. We’re talking about tRump Tiny-Hands, afterall.

  3. eric
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly.

    I expect most state legislators would be unwilling to do this, as it would practically guarantee their loss in their own next election. Trump engenders a lot of conservative support but not, I suspect, much ‘falling on your own sword’ support.

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Not in Red states. Not when they say there is massive fraud in the mail-in vote perpetrated by evil Dems. They will cloak it all in language that they are protecting the citizens’ votes.

      • Taz
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        The red states will go to Trump anyway. He would need republican legislatures in the swing states for this to work, like Michigan and Pennsylvania. In those cases I agree with Eric – it would be political suicide if they try to set aside the popular vote.

      • eric
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Red states aren’t the issue, as they wouldn’t be changing the electoral nominations away from the popular vote anyway. Neither would heavy majority blue states. The scenario is really only relevant for a few states where the population is majority Democrat (or votes that way) while the legislature is majority GOP.

        Due to gerrymandering, there’s a couple places that might qualify as being that, but I think a legislator in such a state would be a fool to think that if the majority of voters in their district were angry at the historically momentous decision to override the popular vote, that that same majority of voters in his district wouldn’t vote him out of office the next time they had a chance.

        • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          I was oversimplifying by referring to Red states. No state is permanently red when it comes to the voters. Some states that were red in 2016 are now in play. There’s also a distinction to be made between the voters’ leaning, the governor’s party, and the dominant parties in the state’s legislative bodies. In this context, “red states” are states where the GOP can use their power to screw with the election. If they can, they will.

        • Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          WI is a prime example (and a signally important swing state): I’m going to miss the exact numbers here; but something close to these:

          65% of the State Assembly members were elected by about 47% of the WI voters, due to GOP Gerrymandering after the 2010 census.

          It was litigated to the SCOUTS that sent it back to the states to take care of. And of course the GOP-dominated state house has done nothing.

  4. nay
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    “According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority.” If the Repubs even discussing this, let alone acting on it, they have really gone off the deep end. This is America (still, at the moment) so they can’t be banned like the Nazi party in Germany, but damn it’s tempting.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Seems like they are breaking the law in some way to me. I don’t know what way but it’s at least thwarting democracy and there must be some constitutional violation in there somewhere….not that it seems to matter.

      • GBJames
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Bill Barr says if it is done on behalf of the President it isn’t breaking the law, no matter what it is.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          Cf. Richard Nixon’s contention that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

          At least Nixon resigned before making this risible claim.

          • jezgrove
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, even Tricky Dicky had some decency, albeit only in comparison with you-know-who.

      • eric
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        The U.S. Constitution leaves it to the state legislatures to decide how to nominate electors. So it’s federal-constitution-allowed. However some or all of the various State constitutions or even just regular state laws might prevent it. I guess that probably depends on the state.

        • tomh
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          29 states plus D.C. have laws that require electors to cast their vote for the candidate that wins the statewide popular vote. But when legislatures justify breaking that law, by claiming large numbers of fraudulent votes, you have a mess. The article goes into some detail.

  5. dd
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    “Republicans Commit to Peaceful Transfer of Power After Trump Declines to Do So

    Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio and other GOP lawmakers contradict the president’s message—without naming him”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/republicans-commit-to-peaceful-transfer-of-power-after-trump-declines-to-do-so-11600958190?mod=hp_lead_pos2

    • GBJames
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I’m convinced. The word of these Republican leaders is their bond.

    • eric
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Was that Mitch unethical-to-nominate-a-justice-10-months-before-an-election McConnell? He’s self-serving and completely unprincipled. I wouldn’t trust him as far as my cat could throw him.

      • Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:22 am | Permalink

        No. It was Moscow Mitch who refused to enact changes to prevent foreign powers from interfering in US elections…

        … what’s that you say? It’s the same person?

        McConnell is actually a worse threat to US democracy that Trump. He’s not quite as self serving and mendacious as Trump, but he is much better at getting his will done.

        If McConnell was an honourable man, Trump would have got nothing done and probably would have lost the impeachment trial.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          If McConnell were an honourable man, Trump would have jettisoned him years ago.

          • Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            And beggars would ride.

          • Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            He can’t. If McConnell had perceived any danger to himself, I think Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate would have gone differently.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

              Trump would have gotten rid of him ages ago long before there were impeachments or anything else. Trump has an instinct, like most sociopaths, of knowing when someone is not going to be useful to him. It’s why there are pretty much no honourable people left around him now…all tossed out or encouraged out.

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

                How would he have got rid of McConnell? He can’t just fire the leader of the Senate.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

                Have you not watched the endless departure of people leaving the WH? You don’t have to fire someone to make them leave. You can make it unpleasant. Believe me, sociopaths excel at this even when up against other sociopaths.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

                McConnell doesn’t work at the White House. He’s an independently elected Senator who can not be fired by anyone in the Executive, sociopath or not.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

                Ok. Again. I never said fire. Come on man, you’ve worked in the world. You know how people get squeezed out. You know how constructive dismissal works. You know how Trump has people that can make life unpleasant.

              • tomh
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

                Ah, but Putin may have slipped Trump a supply of that nerve poison he’s so fond of, for emergency use only. If I were a Trump enemy I’d employ a food and drink taster.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

                He probably already has his own Beef bucket-of-chicken-eater

              • GBJames
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

                Well, constructive dismissal works only when you are in a position to dismiss someone. Like tRump can’t dismiss your PM, constructively or otherwise.

                Now, one can invent all manner of possibility, whereby the Senate is dissolved or such, but one should limit one’s paranoia somewhat!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

                Well whatever. Or they leave. My point was never about the legalities of firing someone it was about stating that someone so ethically bankrupt fits right in where he is and someone with more ethics would simply not be welcome. You can stay and deal with the toxic environment or get the hell out. To wit, take a look at the bottom of this list where people just couldn’t stand being in this administration…some were vocal and resigned some just left and we don’t know why. But there is a lot of turn over. I doubt if Mitch were upstanding and honest he’d be participating so much in Trumpland.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Trump_administration_dismissals_and_resignations

              • GBJames
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

                We all agree that McConnell is a very bad guy. We all agree that a sociopath is in charge of the administration. But a list of evacuees from the executive branch is simply irrelevant to the job security of members of the legislative branch and judiciary. (Except via “normal” politics of endorsing someone or not at election time.)

                tRump has more to fear from McConnell than the reverse. The Senate has the ability to remove a president. It doesn’t work the other way around. This all, of course, from the structural perspective. They value each other because each gives the other what they want and have no particular motive for undermining the other.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

                Whatever. Seriously. I made an off handed funny little remark about how assholes attract assholes. I guess you can keep being pedantic and talk about how the one asshole can’t fire the other one because of this and that blah blah blah. FFS look at all the energy put into these responses. Keep fighting your own I guess. Good luck America.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            The poop on McConnell is that he’s nastier than he seems because he delights in exercising raw power and enjoys being feared. Every once in a while you’ll see a little smile and gleam in the eye when he’s announcing the destruction of some social services for the poor. I have no doubt he would have had no compunction about joining the Dominicans as a torturer for the inquisition.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted September 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

              I can totally see that with that little turd.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Well, sheeeeit, if “Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio and other GOP lawmakers” said it, you can take it to the bank. Events of the last week establish that.

      The wages of perfidy is disbelief.

    • Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      They always add some qualifier, like “a fair election” and of course they will claim that it was not fair. Even Trump ass-kisser Cory Gardner makes this claim

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Who would have thought this would happen in the US? It was simply not even at the corners of our consciousness. It’s almost as if the UN needs to be called in to monitor the election process like it does with other struggling democracies.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      “Struggling democracies”? Don’t you mean kleptocracies, kakistocracies, and failed states?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        And struggling….several in Africa started and were snuffed out. Those that survived were typically successful because they didn’t give in to corruption.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Well, Donald Trump did emerge from one of his one-on-one super-secret, confiscate-the-translator’s-notes meetings with Vladimir Putin all hepped up on the idea of a joint Russian-American task force on election security.

      So I suppose we could ask the Kremlin to send a delegation here in November to monitor the fairness of the US elections, the way Jimmy Carter used to go to third-world countries to do.

    • Posted September 25, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      Me.

      The Republicans have been trying to steal elections for decades and it’s been obvious to me that the US system is not fit for purpose for many years.

      It amazes me that the US process for selecting judges is political. It amazes me that, in many states, the process for setting the boundaries of electoral districts is political. What do you expect to happen?

      I come from a country where the political landscape has always been nakedly partizan. Even the design of the House of Commons reflects and enhances that. As a result everything to do with the mechanics of government is designed with cutthroat partizan politics as a given and is far more resistant to naked politics. Judges are appointed by an independent commission, for example. Electoral districts are drawn up by an independent commission. The civil service (except for a few high level well defined positions) is apolitical.

      My impression is that the kind of partisanship we see in British politics is new to the US and your institutions – which are not designed for it – are therefore collapsing.

      • cagjr
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        We have used up our statesmen. Good character, personal integrity, selfless service to the nation do not have a place in this government.

        If man is not fit to govern himself, how can he be fit to govern someone else?
        James Madison

        We were warned. The letters of the founders contain a lot of wisdom that would really help us today:

        We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. A Republic cannot stand upon bayonets, and when the day comes when the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of a few, then we must rely upon the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nations to the changed conditions.
        James Madison

        We should have been following this advice all along. The constitution, like democracy, needs constant attention. We need to adapt our laws to fit today’s society.

        A Republic cannot stand upon bayonets. Bayonets, government by force is the domain of dictatorships, monarchies, and despots. Democracy cannot survive if we allow a constant chipping away of the rule of law. It is on us to correct the course.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Nope, not my institutions. I’m Canadian. But I’ve lived next to the US all along and though their system is weird to a lot of us, I’ve known a lot of Americans and travelled to America regularly. Americans just didn’t seem the sort to me, with all their foibles, to allow this to happen to them, irrespective of their institutions.

  7. amyt
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I read this when it first came out. There is some scary scenarios described; as if I’m not already laying awake at night. Maybe I’m a fool but if it goes to the Supreme Court I don’t think they’ll rule against the results, however long the delay in counting votes go. My biggest fear are the governors’ positions. They are to beholden to 45 and frankly don’t give a damn what’s in the Constitution.

    • Sylvia
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I am so sick because of this. I am listening to Bernie Sanders on you tube addressing Trumps Threat to our Democracy. I have already called my Senators in NC and told them they better stand up to Trump before we have a civil war in this country. Heartbreaking!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      At least Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — the three states that were decided by fewer than a combined 78,000 votes in 2016 — now have Democratic governors. (Georgia and Florida would have Democratic governors, too, were it not for rampant voter suppression and disenfranchisement by Republicans before those states’ last gubernatorial elections.)

      • phoffman56
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        However I believe the Penn. legislature is 109 to 92 in favour of Republicans. Is it not them rather than the Gov. who decides on their crew of yes-men for the College of Electors?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          Pennsylvania has been the victim of ruthless Republican gerrymandering, as to both its state legislature and federal congressional districts. That’s the sole reason for the Republicans’ advantage in both legislative delegations.

          And, yes, I believe you are correct that it is the state legislators who would select the slate of electors in the first instance were the slate selected by the popular vote to be invalidated for some reason. But I am not sufficiently conversant with Pennsylvania electoral law to venture an opinion on what thrusts and parries may be available as between the legislature and governor.

  8. BobTerrace
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    We have the generals and admirals. The military will not go along with mentally insane Trump.

  9. Historian
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The bottom line is this: if Trump supports, encourages, or engages in any activities to steal the election, the result will be civil war. Before the rise of Trump, such a possibility seemed unimaginable. As it became more and more apparent that Trump would be the Republican nominee in 2016, some observers, myself included, warned that Trump was a proto-fascist. Others didn’t like the term fascist, but agreed that he was some form of authoritarian. It was also obvious shortly after the election if not before that he controlled a cult of white nationalists and right-wing religionists. However, most observers had faith in the “guardrails of democracy” to rein in his excesses. Most could not believe that the Republican Party would become his toadies.

    So, in a few weeks, we will all see whether democracy can hold. If Trump does not willingly turn over power if Biden wins (there is the possibility that Trump is bluffing), in what form will the civil war take place? The best scenario would be that Republican Party elders, such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, come to their senses and profess that Joe Biden is indeed the president-elect. If this happens, Trump will be finished. If they don’t, we can expect nationwide massive civil disobedience by tens of millions, including the occupying of federal buildings. Violence by the both the left and right will likely escalate to the extent that the country would start looking like Syria. Then much will depend on what the police and military do. If they support the civil disobedience and Biden’s legitimate election, Trump will also be finished, although he could precipitate violence by call out the right-wing militias. If the police and military support Trump then democracy will be done in this country and Trump will rule as the dictator of a police state. It will be a classic example of a minority suppressing a majority.

    Even if Trump leaves peacefully without trying to discredit the electoral system, the country will not return to the days before his presidency. Trumpism will live on. What will happen to the Republican Party is not at all clear. Democracy will still be in peril. The right-wing will attempt to sabotage everything that Biden does. In other words, the future will range from bleak to apocalyptic.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I fear you’re correct.

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately one side has all the guns and that side is also coddling the police.

      • jezgrove
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Not all the guns, but most of ’em – and yes 100% all of the “Blue Lives Matter” types, I imagine.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      This scenario seems likely to me which is why my stomach is in knots right now and I live in neighbouring Canada. It affects us too because we trade so heavily with the US and I can see a complete breakdown of American institutions causing major disruptions in medicines and other essential items crossing the border.

      • Jon Gallant
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        In the case of the most alarming scenarios,
        Canada will just have to build a wall to keep USianss out. Maybe it could get the USA to pay for it.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          I think Canada should welcome any dissidents. Especially allow intellectuals and highly skilled people to settle here and bring their industries along with them. Come on over! Just like when the first American Revolution took place before Canada was a country. We only became a country because England was losing interesting in paying to protect us and we figured the revolution was going to march north.

          • amyt
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            We were discussing where to move to if 45 wins. Partner said NZ but I said that was a pipe dream and that Canada was more feasible. Some folks have an emergency bag packed in case of a natural disaster. I have a bag packed for this un-natural disaster.
            Diana, be careful what you wish for. 😉

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

              I’m also a NZ citizen and have a NZ passport. If things go to hell here because of the US, that is where I am headed if I can get a flight there and if I can get in. With Covid, things are dicey.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

                Better have a boat at the ready, just in case.

            • Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

              Canada doesn’t make immigration very easy. I looked at it a year ago. If you have $5M to invest, I think you can swing it. I don’t. Of course, if such a thing as “Trump refugee” opens up, I’m back in.

              • rickflick
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

                I understand (I’m friends with some Canadians) WEIT reader will get a special dispensation and can join our norther brethren and sistren free!
                Right Diana?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

                Yeah I’ll see what I can do in Ottawa with all my influence and political connections. 😆

            • Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

              We’ve been checking out Panama.

          • jezgrove
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

            We really are living in the days of the Republic of Gilead…

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              Oh god. Remember in the TV series how there were flashbacks of them protesting and still they got to where they were?!

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      I think your worst case scenario is far fetched. Since we’re here to voice out worst fears, in my view the worst case scenario is him refusing to leave, perhaps some sporadic violence in deepest darkest Trumpistan, a whole lot yelling and screaming everywhere else, then his forced removal from Washington. I think no matter what, if (!) he wins, Mr Biden will take his oath on January 22nd.

      I do agree that we will never be the same again but I do not agree that the range of national outcome is “bleak to apocalyptic”.

      None of us here have a crystal ball. I am the Polly Ann to your Chicken Little.

      • eric
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        in my view the worst case scenario is him refusing to leave, perhaps some sporadic violence in deepest darkest Trumpistan, a whole lot yelling and screaming everywhere else, then his forced removal from Washington

        This administration and Congress will remain in session until January 2020. So you should include in your worst case scenario a wave of spiteful and/or selfish actions from the WH. Horrendous judicial nominations, pardons for every federal criminal that can give a sizeable bribe to Trump, executive orders that treat immigrants like murderers, lots of firings of anyone he sees as potentially disloyal (I’m not talking political appointees, but senior executives in the civil service, generals, etc.), and withholding/slow-rolling federal funding from any state that voted against him.

        • eric
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          Oops! 2021….

      • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        The point is that Biden won’t win if the election goes to court,and this election is guaranteed to go to court. That is Trump’s plan.

        • Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          It WILL go to court. With separate battles in all 50 states, each with different election laws and procedures, it is virtually a statistical guarantee. However, most judges do want to do the right thing and aren’t partisan hacks, even the ones Trump put in place. If a few are hacks, the decision can be appealed. All is not lost … yet.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        My views were not so dissimilar from your own — until yesterday, when I read Mr. Gellman’s eye-opening Atlantic piece and heard the United States president from the lectern in the White House press-briefing room refuse to guarantee a peaceful transition of power to his successor if he loses. Mind you, not just a smooth or efficient or uncontested transition, but a peaceful transition of power.

        THAT is both unprecedented and bone-chilling.

        • EdwardM
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          Yes that is terrifying and not a little treasonous.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          One analyst compared the US today to Chile and some other South American states. They had solid democracies but began to split apart. The first victim was the judiciary in each country. Now they are essentially totalitarian states. Maybe there’s a law of nature that democracies cannot be sustained.

          • EdwardM
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            Nonsense. With very few exceptions Democracies have been sustained.

            I know things looks precarious now (and they probably are in some ways) but yours is a claim of history and so far, it is false. For the past centuries everywhere Democracies have arisen and few have fallen. The same cannot be said for any other kind of government (“not-democracy” doesn’t count, for obvious reasons).

            • rickflick
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

              Hope you’re right. Correct, I mean.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            El caudillo del Mar-a-Lago.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            Venezuela was the poster child of democracy In the 80s. Look at it now!

    • StephenB
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      You and I are of the same mind. IMO, our country is already broken beyond repair. Just as an organism’s continued exposure to ionizing radiation will result in an irreversible toxicity at some point, so our exposure to Trumpism these past four years has rendered our body politic terminally ill. Even if Biden should move into the White House, Trumpism will continue to work its deleterious effects until we collapse from domestic turmoil.

      • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        “… our exposure to Trumpism these past four years has rendered our body politic terminally ill.”

        We need to amputate, starting at the Trump!

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Call in the proctologist!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Nobody ever gonna mistake you for Pollyanna, Historian.

      But let us hope these dire warnings do not the fate of disbelief of Cassandra’s befall.

    • phoffman56
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      “..some … warned that Trump was a proto-fascist.”

      And now we know he’s a mass murderer as well, from facts (as well, it happens that his niece said so in her book).

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Historian wrote: “the result will be civil war,” and “in what form will the civil war take place?”

      This is what scares me more than anything. Even Historian, who writes well and clearly, and obviously thinks about these things deeply, can get lulled into talking about this civil war as if it’s just a possibility, and in the future tense.

      Remember when Michelle Obama said: “When they go low, we go high”? How’s that working out for you now, Michelle? While the Dems were clinging to their precious principles, you know what the the GOP (and especially the Trumputos) were doing?

      They were learning the arts of gerrymandering. Of voter suppression. They were studying the art of propaganda–learning it so well that it would make Joseph Goebbels blush. They were learning how to work with Russian troll-farms.

      In other words, they were going to war, and they had plans to win it without a shot being fired. THIS Civil War is ALREADY under way, and the left’s best plan seems to be to cede to the fascist bastards most of the real estate where food is grown. Oh, and to willingly give up their guns, while making sure that the Mango Mussolini’s minions have kept all of theirs. To play the Eloi to the Trumputos’ Morlocks.

      You know what? Forget all that ugly stuff. Let’s argue about Nancy Pelosi getting her hair done. Yes, let’s do that. That’ll work.

      • Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Amen Brujo – can’t you cast a spell or some such??

    • sugould
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Post-impeachment, after Senator Susan said Trump “had learned his lesson,” it was clear we were never going to be rid of him or his rabid fan base.

      Because the lesson he learned is he can get away with anything. In office or out, they will always be with us.

      • Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Actually, Susan Collins and the like have learned a lot more from Donald Trump than he has from them. Her “had learned his lesson” was a classic Trumpian statement. She’s not a stupid person. She knew that people like Trump definitely don’t learn lessons when they get their way. She just said what was needed to get her out of her situation with plausible (by idiots) deniability.

  10. Scott Woody
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    tRump et al. are waging a corrupt, treasonous campaign to preemptively declare the election vote-counting complete based on ballots cast, validated, and tabulated on election day, Nov. 3. This strategy is bolstered/enacted by endless legal challenges to the validity of mail-in ballots, many of which will not be officially counted until some days after the election. The bottom line is that tRump and his fixer Billy Barr want the results as of Nov. 3 to be “baked into the cake”. Given the likelihood that his voters are at least 2x as likely to vote in-person by Nov. 3, the strategy has a non-zero chance of succeeding, provided that the Nov. 3 results are equivocal.

    HOWEVER, we are not powerless to battle against their anti-democratic plans. Specifically, many states provide a pre-Nov. 3 window of opportunity for registered voters to cast in-person ballots. The availability of early voting varies from state to state, so be sure to check with your board of elections. In Wisconsin, for example, early voting opportunities are on offer from Oct. 20 – Oct. 30. I requested and received an absentee ballot that I could mail today; however, Wisconsin is among a number of states that do not permit tabulation of such absentee ballots until Nov. 3. Thus, I will be voting in-person during the Oct. 20-30 early voting period, I encourage WEIT readers to do so, as well, if your state provides early voting– and tell your friends! We need an overwhelming Biden margin recorded ON NOV. 3 if we are to defeat tRump’s attempts at a slealth coup d’etat.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Resist now with everything you have. It only gets harder to resist as things go on.

      • StephenB
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        But how shall we resist? We’re taking to the streets in peaceful protests, we’re contributing to Democratic candidates and organizations, and we’re committed to voting, whether early, by mail, or in person. We cannot persuade Trump supporters. We can try to persuade those who typically do not vote, but I’m not hopeful that we’ll convince very many of them. What else can we do? I feel that the deck is stacked against us. Canada is looking very attractive to me.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      A good thread by Joshua A. Geltzer, former White House DOJ, on what can be done https://twitter.com/jgeltzer/status/1308929854457491457.

      • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        He’s wrong, IMHO. He’s saying that Trump will leave office if he loses the vote. Sure, I believe that. But that’s not the scenario. Instead, Trump is going to make it look like the legitimate vote is in his favor by claiming massive mail-in voter fraud.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          I’m a pessimist and it’s my sense that no matter the vote, Trump won’t leave office of his own volition. Nevertheless, we must do all we can to preserve our country.

          • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

            I agree Trump won’t leave office of his own volition but it won’t matter if Biden is declared the winner. We do have reason to fear what Trump might do in the period between the election and Biden’s inauguration but I fear that much less than Trump being declared the winner.

            • GBJames
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

              “…if Biden is declared the winner…”

              What is at issue is who does the declaring. In normal times it is the losing candidate who concedes after various networks have reported convincing results. In 2000 it was the Supreme Court that did the declaring. If tRump refuses to concede it will likely be to the Supreme Court he will appeal, freshly updated with a new extremist Justice.

            • Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

              A radio news report in NZ in the form of audio bites.

              DT: ,..they’ve already found voting forms in a river.

              Unknown reporter: there were no names on them.

              DT: but they were found in a river.

              What angle he was fishing for I have no idea with this one but it made me laugh. A nervous laugh mind you. I care about democracy and laughing it down a sinkhole and into fascism… what a fuck up that would be.
              Pinkers’ ” The better Angels of our Nature” has a dire warning in relation to democracy and this is it, in full glory. His critics paid little attention to this part of his narrative they just bagged his so called optimism with our violent history.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

                Trump’s whole mail-in ballot conspiracy theory seems to hinge on one “fact”. He wants everyone to believe that if one has a ballot, one can fill it out, sign it with any name, send it in, and it will be counted. He completely, and conveniently, ignores the registration process. It also takes advantage of the GOP programs in many states to challenge voter registrations. The theory is that there are a lot of dead people or fraudulent name variations on the registration roles and that people can use them to vote more than once. It largely was never the case and even when it was, voters had no access to the data needed to take advantage of it. Trump just has to pain a plausible picture. Anyone that says it’s wrong is part of the conspiracy against him.

              • cagjr
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

                Trump voted by mail.Probably the rest of the family and most of the staff did also.

                Trump conceded about three months ago, on air, that if the mail-in voting was allowed, Republicans could never win. All of them know they cannot win an honest election.

                The only way to win:
                https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/12/gop-led-voter-purges-in-wisconsin-and-georgia-could-tip-2020-elections/

                GOP cannot win without cheating:
                In 2018, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith “joked” about voting at colleges, saying, “there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”

                They must keep the airwaves full of chaos. Voter fraud. Thousands of counterfit ballots. Hoax. Dead people voting. Twice. Coronavirus deaths are a hoax. The GOP have no choice now but to go with Trump.

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

                As I’ve said a few times in comments, I don’t really get this argument that Trump and family votes by mail so they’re hypocrites. Trump has explained several times that what he is against is the blanket mailing of ballots to all registered voters. The GOP have been arguing for at least a decade that the registration rolls contain bad data. There’s little proof of that but Trump will use any plausible fiction that supports his ploys. He claims without proof that this will enable people to vote more than once. Independently of this argument, the fact that a process enables cheating doesn’t imply that everyone using it is cheating. Trump would counter the charge by saying, “Yeah, but I only vote once so I’m not using it to cheat.”

              • cagjr
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

                A reporter pointed out to Trump that mail-in voting is a legal and common process. When the reporter asked why it was fradulent when he voted by mail. He said, “I’m the president.”

                It is up to the individual states how they run their elections. I’m a Democrat. I did not receive an ‘unsolicited’ ballot. The states which send out ballots, send them to registered voters, Democrat and Republican. I’ve heard his argument about “counterfit” ballots. If you had a truck load of ballots, they are worthless without registered voter information that agrees with the registrars records.

                Trump and the GOP know they cannot win an honest election. They have gone public with that unsolicited statement.

                Why are they so desperate to add another conservative activist judge to the SC bench? Because the only wat they can maintain their minority rule will be with the help of the courts. I almost envy the confidence you express in the SCOTUS. Why this fight to seat judges if there is no party preference?

                If Trump manages another four years, what do you think our constitution and our republic will be worth?

              • Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

                I agree with most of what you say here. IMHO, it’s fair to call the ballots that are automatically mailed to registered voters “unsolicited ballots” as the voter didn’t have to request it. It doesn’t mean there’s voter fraud going on.

                The drive to seat conservative judges revolves mostly around abortion and other social issues. That it might have an effect on the election is just a small bonus. Mostly it’s a demonstration of raw political power which revs up Trump’s base, at least that’s what they hope. As I said, I think it’s very unlikely to affect the outcome of the election. On the other hand, it seemed to in 2000 so perhaps I’ll be proved wrong.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

                At best it is a diversion to call automatically mailed-out ballots that are sent to registered voters “unsolicited”. When a person registers to vote they are asking for a ballot to be delivered to them in some form prior to or on Election Day. The act of registering is, in fact, solicitation.

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

                That’s not true. Registering to vote in many states simply allows one to vote in person on Election Day. Voting by mail is considered an extra that must be requested. I think this is due to its origin in absentee voting. There’s a transition happening now between requesting a mail-in ballot because you are not going to be able to vote in person to just wanting to vote by mail for any reason. Some states still require some sort of justification before they’ll send you a mail-in ballot and they’ve already announced that fear of COVID-19 won’t be considered adequate. (That may be challenged in court. If so, I don’t know the status.)

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

                Right on GB.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

                Paul, In no state that “simply allows one to vote simply allows one to vote in person on Election Day” does one get an “unsolicited” ballot in the mail. Basic set theory.

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

                There are states where registering only allows one to vote in person. If you want to vote by mail, then you need to request it. Obviously such states are NOT the ones that send out unsolicited ballots. I’m sure you know that.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

                I know it, Paul. You’re the one who seems to be disputing it with your assertion that people who receive ballots in the mail somehow didn’t solicit them.

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

                That IS the case in some states, right? New Jersey, for one, has announced they’ll send ballots to all registered voters. Obviously they all didn’t request them, hence “unsolicited”.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

                I’m out. The argument is pointless.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Voting in-person Oct 20 – Oct 30 in Wisconsin is effectively the same as doing so via mail-in (drop-off) balloting anytime before Election Day. Your vote will be set aside along with mine (I’ll drop mine in a election drop-box tomorrow). They will not be counted until Election Day. If you want to follow your general plan, you will need to go vote in person on Nov. 3rd.

      • Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        This is the same situation in MN.

        We dropped off our ballots to a ballot drop box at our local City Hall. Treated the same as absentee ballots: Counted on election day (or thereafter).

      • Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        As most of you know, Colorado has been a mail-in-only state for a number of years, and is often considered a model for how such a system should be run. Here is how the vote counting goes in CO:

        “Ballots are tallied before the election, but not counted up until the polls close. Election and poll workers open the envelopes as they arrive and — after verifying the signatures — run them through tabulating machines.

        Those machines scan the ballots and record how each person voted, but they don’t just automatically add it all up. That data isn’t calculated and revealed until the polls close on Election Night and someone hits “tabulate.”

        That system is why everyone involved in the election process — and those of us who cover it, and those of you who like going to bed at a reasonable hour — really wants voters to return their ballots as early as possible. That way, officials can have as many as possible already scanned in by the time polls close, making for much earlier election results.”

  11. Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I suspect that Biden and his team know all about these scenarios and are preparing as best they can for them. It wouldn’t help Biden if he was to come out with all the scary stuff in the many articles that point out what Trump has planned. It might sound silly and the Republicans would surely say that such accusations are all nonsense. In fact, they have been saying that already.

    Trump and his advisers have pretty much signalled that they are going to go through with this plan. There’s not a chance in the world Trump will stop at any point “for the good of the country”. He’s already proved that by letting 200,000 people die in order to improve his chances at being re-elected. We also know the GOP won’t stop him. Some will express “concern” but that won’t matter.

    I suspect that all we have to prevent a Trump “victory” are judges that decide to do the right thing and not the partisan thing. I think there’s a very good chance they will do the right thing but it’s not 100%.

    There is a dismal sport of deciding what we should most be scared of during this election. My choice is voter intimidation at polling places by GOP operatives who are “checking the integrity of the vote.” This could actually cause Biden to lose the vote in crucial states. If that happened, it would be impossible to undo in the courts. No one would come to save us.

  12. Historian
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    On a related note, Mary Trump, niece of Donald, is suing him and the rest of the Trump family, claiming due to fraud that she was cheated out of millions. Because Mary is now rich because her book has sold a million copies, I suspect that she is doing this to force Donald to reveal all his financial crimes. This will be fun to follow and perhaps evidence will be uncovered to put Donald in the slammer, if not by the federal government then by New York State.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      The Donald’s failson #2, Eric, has just been ordered by a NY judge to sit for a deposition by the New York State Attorney General’s office by October 7th, too. If he has a lick of sense, and if he follows what has doubtless been the advice of his lawyer, he will claim his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

      If he does, let’s see what his daddy, who said it was a sure sign of guilt when Hillary’s staffers sought a grant of immunity in 2016, has to say.

      If ET testifies, he opens himself to potential perjury charges (state perjury charges unamendable to a presidential pardon).

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        “unamenable” … no idea where that de trop “d” came from.

        • jezgrove
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          From thinking about his inherited 5th Avenue, I mean Amendment, privilege would be my guess?

      • rickflick
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        What tRump will say? What tRump always says, it’s a Democratic conspiracy against him and his family. Eric is such a nice boy. He’d never do anything like that. They’re picking on the poor kid. Trust me (and they will).

  13. Linda Calhoun
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I have read that Trump is already “negotiating” a third term? Huh?

    I think his sycophants have not thought this through to the long view. (Planning ahead is not their deal.) If Trump becomes king, he may be around for a few years, but he’s 74 years old and obese, and may have already had a small stroke. So he’s eventually going to die.

    While he’s still alive, if he gets away with this and becomes a dictator, his allies like McConnell and Graham will no longer be needed. I’m not sure that they realize that once they’ve outlived their usefulness, Trump will have them removed. We don’t need a legislature anymore, and he will rightly see them as an unnecessary expense. He can govern purely by fiat.

    He will have to spend a lot of money on his “army” to keep the whole society in line, so the money he saves on legislators will be spent on that.

    In the meantime, the planet is collapsing and the virus runs rampant. There will be nothing in place to deal with either of those catastrophes. It’s altogether possible that Putin might try to take over. Will the Trumpers be willing to defend America, or what’s left of it? Trumps subjects who never supported him will not be given arms, lest they go after the Trumpers, so it will be up the the Trumpers alone to defend the country.

    And then, what of the succession after Trump dies? Everyone around him, including his children, are as self-centered and mendacious as he is. A peaceful transition is not likely.

    The Trumpers should honestly be careful what they are wishing for.

    L

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Dictators still need the appearance of following the law so I think Trump’s sycophants like McConnell are safe as long as they play ball. Look at Russia. It has courts, rule of law, etc. I think it even has a constitution. They are just perverted by the power structure with Putin at the head. They need to keep up appearances in order to maintain legitimacy and order on the streets.

      • Linda Calhoun
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        I don’t agree.

        Putin is a lot smarter than Trump. Trump will be blinded by his greed and his lust for power. He regularly denigrates his allies, and they suck it up and take it. He will see legislators as an unnecessary expense.

        Whether McConnell has the means to fight back, who knows? Most likely he will be killed if he tries to cause trouble. Most of them will just slink off into the night.

        However it plays out, it will not be peaceful.

        L

        • GBJames
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          McConnell fight back against tRumpism? Not a chance. He’s all in.

          • jezgrove
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            Up to his surgically enhanced neck…

      • phoffman56
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Read “Red Notice” by Bill Browder (Simon&Schuster 2015) to get an insider’s (I think very accurate) info on Russia run effectively by Putin’s mafia.

        He lived there, got rich as an investor, rebelling against his quite left-wing US family. But he began quickly to realize the precipice he lived on. His persistence was likely the main reason the Magnitsky act came into existence, that Putin-murdered-person having been closely connected to Browder.

        His granddad had been head of US communist party, left because of Stalin. The latter’s three sons, Felix, Bill and Andrew have all become world class research mathematicians. Felix, his dad, long at UChicago math department, only recently died, the others at Princeton and Brown respectively. That’s how I became familiar with the grandson, who writes a very gripping book. My original field is the older Bill’s, and the first research level talk I had to give, only 6 months after completing undergrad, was essentially some of his work, so it struck a chord.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve been saying (including on this website) from this campaign season’s start (which occurred the minute the last ballot of 2018 mid-terms was counted) that, if Donald Trump loses, the period following the presidential election would be a real shit-show — with Trump refusing to concede, claiming that the election had been “rigged,” refusing to participate personally in the transition phase, refusing to attend his successor’s inauguration, likely even pursuing spurious litigation to challenge the election results in court.

    Nevertheless, I assumed these would be like the ravings of a mad king in a Shakespeare play, ones that would ultimately drive a wedge between Trump and congressional Republicans, who, I assumed, would want to avoid having themselves splashed in the stench of Trump’s nonsense. I didn’t believe that the lame-duck period could turn into a complete shit-storm, one that would present an existential threat to our democracy.

    Until reading Barton Gellman’s piece in The Atlantic back-to-back with watching the clip of Trump (unprecedentedly, to my knowledge, for an incumbent president in US history) refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of government. After so doing last night, I felt slightly nauseated and couldn’t get to sleep until 3 or 4 this morning. Before, I was convinced this would be the nation’s most momentous election since 1860; now, I fear we may be much closer to the dire circumstances of 1860 than even I dared to imagine.

    Most of the nightmare scenarios envisioned by Gellman stem from a single source — the ridiculous, anachronistic institution of the electoral college. If there is any upside to the trauma the nation may endure between now and inauguration day January next, it is that enough US citizens may finally come to see the utter folly — and the affront to the notion of “one person, one vote” — of the EC and do away with it once and for all.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the lame duck president time seems worse than ever imagined. Many warned that this period would be the most dangerous but I don’t think anyone envisioned just how bad it would become. I too have nausea from it.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      What Trump and his follows and his family are doing is playing Putin’s plan. The total distortion of the election weeks before it gets here, screaming about millions of fraudulent ballets….it is all Russia. And Trump is still the Russian puppet. The only answer is to throw the bastard out before the election. That is what must be done. If the system waits to see, it will be too late.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        I say do everything you can to make sure a replacement for RBG is not pushed through. Impeach Trump again and tie up the senate. Play hard. This is how you prevent armageddon.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          Exactly, stop talking and start taking action. The Democrats must act and the people must act now.

          • Brujo Feo
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

            Randall: could you perhaps be just a LITTLE more specific? Exactly what sort of “action” are we discussing here?

            • sugould
              Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

              Yeah, I’d like a little guidance there too, as to what we can co, that we aren’t already doing.

              We get answers to questions before they’re even articulated. We’re in a sick, twisted reality show led by a bad actor who really grew into his part; and that no one expected to go viral.

              We’re now a nation of memes, tweets and sound bites (not a typo), and we are circling the drain.

        • tomh
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately, impeachment would have no effect on the Senate. The can (and McConnell would) just ignore it.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            It ties things up. Find every way to stall them.

            • tomh
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

              That’s the thing, it doesn’t tie them up. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires them to take up Articles of Impeachment that the House sends them. They can ignore them and not even look at them. Sadly, the Democrats hands are tied, there is no way to delay this confirmation. It is a done deal.

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      No, even without the Electoral College, Trumpo has an easy path to retaining power, via legally disputing the election. He has stuffed the federal courts and also the Supreme Court. That’s his path, and unfortunately there is nothing unconstitional about it.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Trump is going to get swamped in the general election — Biden will top 50%, I believe, while Trump will be lucky to match the meager 46.1% he received in 2016. It would be nearly impossible for Team Trump to keep enough ballots from being counted to make up that kind of shortfall.

        The electoral college allows Trump’s minions to concentrate on a handful of swing states, and (as Gellman set out at some length in his Atlantic piece) gives them many more avenues by which to ply their perfidy.

        • jezgrove
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          But I guess the problem is whether “Biden will top 50%” on election night?

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      I have so much trouble explaining the Electoral College to all my German friends who, even in spite of Trump, somehow still believe in the American ideal of democracy. I’ve been telling them for years that the American ideal is a great thing which, however, has hardly ever been reality. Now, at last, they are slowly starting to believe me.

  15. Posted September 24, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Actually, it would be pleasurable to see tRump forcibly ejected from the WH, kicking and screaming.

  16. boudiccadylis
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Folks, I haven’t read all the aforementioned information but I am sure that nothing serious will be done by the general populous before the event.
    1 you don’t know it going to happen 2 why worry til/if it does 3 I have more important things to do.
    Please believe this is not my feelings about it all but from what I’ve seen over the years and recently with covid 19 interested change is not on the books.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      So, too, thought the German electorate in 1932.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, and so thought the Jews once he was elected thinking it will all go away and they will return to normal. Resist and fight now! It gets far harder to resist later if you don’t.

      • EdwardM
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        This not Germany. Or 1932.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          Like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody ever sees Germany ’32 coming.

          • EdwardM
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            Well, to be honest, I did. Here. On this thread. It was certain that Trump’s admin would be linked to Hitler’s.

            • jezgrove
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

              Then congratulations on Trump living up (?) to your own expectations, I guess.

              • EdwardM
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

                It wasn’t Trump who was living up to my expectations. To be sure despite Trump’s and Hitler’s similarities in being shitty human beings, there really are far more ways they differ. That is no comfort.

                It is de rigueur in conversations today, and WEIT is no exception, to equate Trump with the worst of humanity. I understand the reasons and so expected it.

              • Posted September 25, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

                EdwardM: Trump fits the description.

                He was fine with concentration camps for Uighurs. He admires the likes of Putin, Bolsonaro, Duterte, Xi, Kim. and He has no respect for law or the US Constitution. He is a pathological liar and sociopath. He appears to despise all humanity except rich, white (American) men (or sometimes authoritarian dictators of color).

                And he doesn’t even bother to try to pretty up these things.

                His minions applaud him; the 5th Avenue Effect is real.

                I shudder to think what he would do if he attains dictatorial power (and this seems more likely by the day).

                It would be extremely hard to find (or imagine) a worse character in the WH.

  17. Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    This has been clear for quite some time now, hasn’t it? If you give power to someone like that you won’t get it back off him.

  18. Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a scary article on the same subject but with a longer view:

    https://thebulwark.com/the-strongman-cometh/

    Bottom line: If you think Trump will stop short of using absolutely anything to “win” re-election, you are deluding yourself. Trump has also made it clear for decades what kind of government he would run if he had his druthers. It can happen here.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Last week, our host analyzed a poll about the holocaust. I found very troubling that only 43% of Americans known that Hitler became chancellor by using “a democratic political process”.

      To what extend the similarity with the number of pro-trump” is just a coincidence?

      • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it seems many people don’t really understand how dictators take over democracies. It’s gradual with each step quasi-legal with whatever laws are in place at each.

      • mike cracraft
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        His rise to power wasn’t exactly democratic.
        He was appointed by Hindenburg.

        • jezgrove
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          After an election, though.

          • EdwardM
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

            Which he did not win outright, IIANM. The best the Nazis did before wresting all power was to win a plebiscite. That was, in fact, one reason why they torched the Reichstag.

        • cagjr
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          He was appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg

          History.com
          the conservative German National People’s Party (DNVP), convinced Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as chancellor,

          It is worth noting: the German National People’s Party were Hitlers enablers.

          He began immediately, ordering a rapid expansion of the state police, the Gestapo, and putting Hermann Goering in charge of a new security force, composed entirely of Nazis and dedicated to stamping out whatever opposition to his party might arise. From that moment on, Nazi Germany was off and running, and there was little Hindenburg or von Papen—or anyone—could do to stop it.

          Privitized industry/business

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Try to think of something Donald Trump WOULD REFUSE TO DO, for the good of the Republic, if refusing to do so meant the humiliation and loss of power attendant to defeat.

      I can’t.

  19. Reginald Le Sueur
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I think Trump should nominate Sarah Palin to succeed Ginsberg!

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 25, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      The latest from Sister Sarah is that, if Lisa Murkowski follows through with voting against Trump’s nominee to replace RBG, former Governor Half-Term is threatening to run against Murkowski for her Alaskan US senate seat:

      To think that, had an election gone the other way, this woman would’ve been a heartbeat away from the US presidency.

  20. Desnes Diev
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering if electors of the Electoral College can vote against Trump even if he won their state? If, for example, he wins by a very small gap, can they decide to stand for the “minority” voters?

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      There was a SCOTUS decision on that this year. Short answer: No.

      • Desnes Diev
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Thanks.

      • Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        I just watched a podcast that claimed that SCOTUS had ruled against electors voting independently. It’s called the “faithless electors” decision. Here’s the first article that showed up in a search:

        https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/07/14/supreme-courts-faithless-electors-decision-validates-case-for-the-national-popular-vote-interstate-compact/

      • eric
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Slight quibble: SCOTUS ruled that the states can enforce their own state laws that require an elector to vote a specific way. I.e. if there’s a state law requiring an elector to vote the way the popular vote goes, then the elector has to do that.

        However, federal law doesn’t prevent faithless electors, and if a state doesn’t have a law on the books that requires electors to ‘keep faith’ (with the popular vote), then technically they don’t have to.

        It’s very rare though, because the electors are chosen by the winning party. So to use Texas as an example, if Trump wins the popular Texas vote, the electors will be people selected by the Texas state GOP (for their loyalty and service).

        • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          I agree there is no Federal law. But I read Chiafalo v WA as saying states can force electors to vote as pledged, and I assume all electors are pledged. I suppose if a state chooses not to enforce there can be faithless electors.

          • cagjr
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            All but two states, Nebreska and Massachusetts. Thos two give 1 vote to the winner of the statesb but the remaining ballots are up to the electors.

            I may be wrong on the states, but the other 48 go to whoever won the states by majority of votes.

          • cagjr
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            States make their own election laws.

        • phoffman56
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          The putative problem here isn’t the one about electors not voting how they’re supposed to for their party’s candidate. Rather it is that the state legislature has in some states the legal right to choose the group of electors from the party which lost the election in their state. Utterly ridiculous, but apparently true.

  21. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Check it out. The video goes for 2 minutes but Trump leaves after 42 seconds….

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/24/ruth-bader-ginsburg-trump-heckled-visiting-casket-at-supreme-court.html

  22. john reynolds
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I believe the author of that article was the person just on tv saying that ballot postmarks will be this elections hanging chads.

  23. rickflick
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    If the worst of these scenarios come to pass, it will be a coup by a minority party. I would not stand for it, and I’m old enough (I’ve already passed my reproductive phase and am molting rather rapidly) not to have any fear of dying for my principles.

    • Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Ditto here – and the right-wing crazies are not the only ones with firearms! 🙂

      • rickflick
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        I’ll sharpen my pitchfork. 😏

  24. Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    “Could there even be fighting in the streets? I refuse, at this point, to imagine that possibility.”

    One things we can be sure of is that there will be fighting in the streets if Trump wins–even more than last time. Also that the Dems will contest the results, something they’re already setting the scene for with their hype about voter repression, mail tampering, and—Lord help us—Russian interference. l don’t see any good outcome for this election no matter who wins.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Hype you call it. You must never get off the Trump channel, day and night? No matter who wins you say. So you prefer we not hold an election? You need to update your lies or find something else.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      “…even more than last time.”

      Seriously, Gary, check those meds. Protest marching is not “fighting in the streets”.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      That’s ridiculous. The GOP is in big trouble because they are a minority and are falling farther behind as the demographic shift toward diversity continues. They violate norms and flirt with illegality because they know they are dying. Dems have no such future ahead of them and are only motivated to try to maintain civility.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      • Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Good one, Ken. As with McEnroe, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a protest (e.g., “Hell no, we won’t go!”) and a tantrum (e.g., “Wahhh—our side lost the election!”).

  25. Jim Danielson
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Republicans have been heading towards this for decades. They don’t consider the opposition (Democrats) to be legitimate. On numerous occasions when Democrats won elections Republicans moved to limit their power.

    They made a point of blocking everything they could that Obama tried to do. When Obama said he liked a piece of Republicans legislation they withdrew it.

    This is what America has been headed towards for decades. I don’t understand how people could not have seen this coming.

    • StephenB
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Some of us have seen this coming for years, especially since the time of Newt Gingrich, but we were told to tone it down, to go along in order to get along. The press has been complicit in tamping these warnings down in their misguided and erroneous obsession with both-sidesism.

      • Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        It really comes down to the voters. We get the democracy we deserve and evidently we been very, very bad.

    • StephenB
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Also, we liberals were dinged by the audacious hope brought by Barack Obama. In retrospect, it turned out to be a false hope.

      • Historian
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        When Obama assumed the presidency in 2009, he was young in body, but old in mind. That is, he thought that bipartisanship with the Republicans was possible. As a result, he did not understand them and was incapable of fighting them. My fear is that Biden has the same attitude, maybe more so. He seems to think Trump is an aberration and once gone, the political atmosphere that existed when he was in the Senate will magically return. David Graham at the Atlantic writes: Biden is right that if he wins, the election will produce an epiphany. It’s just that he’s going to be the one with the rude realization.”

        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/09/bidens-illusory-bipartisanship/616431/

        • cagjr
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Republicans are always happy to seek bipartisan solutions. Their idea of compromise is “we agree to do it our way.”

        • StephenB
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Good article, thanks for the link! I agree with Graham. Speaking of rude realizations, I’m a Chicagoan, and the newbie President Obama reminded me of the newbie Mayor Harold Washington, who, flushed with victory, blithely strode into City Hall his first day on the job and promptly got his lunch eaten by aldermen Vrdolyak and Burke.

  26. A C Harper
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    All of this is chilling, but it is even more worrying still as if you care to read pro-Republican sites they allege that Hillary Clinton has previously told Biden not to concede at any cost and the Dems are building a pool of lawyers to challenge results that don’t go their way.

    Nobody really knows how the election will pan out but there’s lots of people prepared to demonise the other side well in advance.

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Yet another fake “both sides” argument. Would Hillary and the Dems be doing what you suggest if Trump and the GOP weren’t planning their coup? Of course they wouldn’t.

      • A C Harper
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Or, of course, vice versa.

  27. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    So, people are thinking that Trump will hold the election, then dispute the result, rather than – as I’ve been expecting for well over a year – simply not having an election. After all, the crisis facing the fUSA (loss of President Trump versus loss of anyone else) is unprecedented, and so unprecedented actions to prevent this crisis acting out are appropriate. Reasonable, even.
    The main blood-bath will be between the Trump children, to secure the descent of the reinstated monarchy.

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      When they mentioned delaying the election because of the pandemic, I think that was a trial balloon measuring public response. It was also another chance to “troll the libs”. Also, I think there was some negative Trump news from which they needed to direct attention away. It wouldn’t be in Trump’s favor anyway as he wants to downplay the pandemic. Delaying the election because people might get sick and die is not part of his message.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        Also, I think there was some negative Trump news from which they needed to direct attention away.

        Ha. That’s always the case, isn’t it? When was there not? 🤨

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 30, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        That may have been a trial balloon, but if it flew acceptably (in the minds of the Trump campaign team), then it would only be as a prelude to cancelling the election altogether for initiating the Trump Dynasty.
        Why am I thinking of Julius Caesar, his interpretation of “supporting the Republic” and in particular his nickname of “the bald adulterer”?

    • Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      If he doesn’t hold the election, he stops being president at midday on January 20th. What happens after that is sufficiently unpredictable that he’s decided that there are better ways to achieve dictatorship.

      • cagjr
        Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        I believe that if a president is not seated by Jan. 20th, the speaker of the house will act as president in the interim. It cannot be Pense because he is on the ballot.

        • tomh
          Posted September 25, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          Depends if Congressional elections are certified. If all elections are in question, there will be no House, since they are all up, but there will be a Senate, at least the 2/3 of senators who are not on the ballot. Be prepared for President Grassley.

        • Posted September 26, 2020 at 2:29 am | Permalink

          Don’t forget that, if there has not been an election, the House of Representatives’ term is also over.

          • GBJames
            Posted September 26, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            This is a totally unrealistic hypothetical. Elections in the US are under the control of local jurisdictions under rules established by states and the Congress. The US Executive has no say in whether an election happens or not. All tRump can do is refuse to comply with the election, bad enough for sure! But barring nuclear holocaust or such, there will be a House of Representatives.

            • Posted September 26, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

              It wasn’t my hypothetical to suggest that Trump wouldn’t hold an election, it was gravelinspector-Aidan’s. I was merely responding to him, giving the constitutional reason why Trump wouldn’t try to stop it.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 26, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

                Perhaps the comment should have been “out-dented” a notch or two. The point remains, though, regardless of who sourced the hypothetical. (You did say “If he doesn’t hold an election…” which doesn’t give you some ownership, I think.)

              • Posted September 26, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

                Fair enough.

                I should have worded it differently. I should have said “if he stops the election…” which is theoretically possible if he can persuade enough states not to hold it.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 26, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

                I’m not sure that is even a logical possibility. Congress established when national elections are held. States control the actual process and coordinate state/local election to happen at the same time for practical reasons. He can only help make a mess of it. He can’t prevent it.

              • Posted September 26, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

                You talk like mere laws and conventions actually matter to Trump and the Republicans. If Trump could persuade the states not to hold the elections, they won’t happen. I agree that it’s not a practical concern at the moment, but there’s nothing about logic that can make an election happen if there’s nowhere to cast your ballot and nobody tasked to count it.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 26, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

                “If Trump could persuade the states…”

                And if pigs had wings…

                Election Day is in about five weeks. Voting is already underway. (I cast mine two days ago.) There should be some limits to how much credibility we give to such fears. There are genuine horrors that we should be preparing for.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 30, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        The big question is – does he have enough of the military either with him, or willing to sit on the sidelines.

        • Posted September 30, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          What? That organisation with a massive graveyard in Arlington filled with people that Trump called losers?

          Do you think thy might side with Trump?

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted October 1, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

            Most squaddies of various nations and colours that I’ve met over the decades have been to the right to extreme right end of the political spectrum – certainly the people I’ve seen go into the military.
            Yes, I do think that many of them will side with Trump. Whether enough are willing to take up arms against him for it to blow up into a full-blown “civil” war, I’m not so sure.
            I strongly suspect that Trump’s posturings over the last couple of week about “sending in” National Guard and military units to cities that are politically resistant to Trump is, at least in part, about determining which units / commanders can be relied on to fight on Trump’s side in the coup.
            No, I’m not joking.

            • Posted October 2, 2020 at 2:45 am | Permalink

              They might side with Trump but there’s a difference between siding with Trump and actively overthrowing the state. The fact that Trump called their dead comrades losers might be enough to sway them away from helping him to overthrow democracy.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted October 3, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

                Might be. I wouldn’t bet on it. We’ve had active terrorist cells within the UK armed forces plotting the overthrow of the elected government several times in our lifetimes. I don’t hold their American equivalents to higher standards.
                Whether there are enough is a rather different question – and I suspect part of the reason behind the deployments of some military (or reserve) units to various cities reported last week. He’s checking the loyalty of potential Einsatzgruppen units.

              • Posted October 4, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

                Do you have references to terrorist cells within the UK armed forces in our life times? I am British and it’s the first time I’ve heard of it.

                For reference, in my case that would mean since 1966.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted October 5, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

                Well, let’s start with the illegal activities of the MI-n people detailed by “spycatcher”, acting to undermine the government of the day – Wilson’s, as I recall.
                Then the various murder squads who operated throughout the 70s and 80s, possibly into the 90s, in Ulster, and supporting the Loyalists in the war there.
                Both the Kinnock and Smith oppositions had their suspicious events – break ins, thefts, leaks – which were laid at the door of MI-n again, if not Special Brnach (not that they are noticeably different.
                The trade union movement has got bored with dealing with infiltration by squaddies, reservists etc, to the point that no-one trusts a squaddy. Ditto, “ex-” coppers. The animal rights movement also suffered a lot from infiltration by agents provocateurs from the government – several children resulted from the rapes involved, and the government are trying to render prosecution for those rapes impossible as part of their weaselling out of Human Rights legislation.
                Lots of professional terrorists in the UK government, police and armed forces. A throughly untrustworthy bunch. If it wasn’t the government doing it, they’d be jailed, long since.

              • Posted October 6, 2020 at 3:09 am | Permalink

                Well, let’s start with the illegal activities of the MI-n people detailed by “spycatcher”, acting to undermine the government of the day – Wilson’s, as I recall.

                We were talking about terrorist cells in the armed forces, not speculative conspiracies within the intelligence services. Peter Wright claimed the plot against Wilson was a joint operation with the CIA and I think his claims are somewhat speculative.

                The trade union movement has got bored with dealing with infiltration by squaddies, reservists etc, to the point that no-one trusts a squaddy. Ditto, “ex-” coppers.

                That doesn’t sound like terrorist cells within the armed forces either. It sounds more like the service as a whole overreaching its authority.

                The animal rights movement also suffered a lot from infiltration by agents provocateurs from the government – several children resulted from the rapes involved

                Are you talking about under cover agents getting romantically involved with people in their target organisations? That sounds like malpractice by individuals rather than a terrorist cell.
                Lots of professional terrorists in the UK government, police and armed forces. A throughly untrustworthy bunch. If it wasn’t the government doing it, they’d be jailed, long since.
                You keep using that word “terrorist”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

              • GBJames
                Posted October 3, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

                I think that would require more administrative savvy than he’s capable of.

  28. Alan Clark
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The famous mathematician Kurt Godel found that the USA could become a dictatorship, constitutionally.
    https://brianmlucey.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/godels-loophole-turning-the-usa-into-a-dictatorship-constitutionally/

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      What he’s saying is that if you change the constitution such that it will allow a dictatorship then a dictatorship could happen. This was taken as a serious thought?

      Good grief.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      This is your lucky day, Alan. I subscribe to The New Yorker, so always have some spare diaereses on hand whenever anyone needs an umlaut to spell that name. Here ya go: ö

      Feel free pay me back later when you’re flush. 🙂

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        An “e” after the umlaut-requiring vowel will also do.

      • Alan Clark
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps this is more stylish:-

        𝔎𝔲𝔯𝔱 𝔊𝔬̈𝔡𝔢𝔩

        • jezgrove
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think WordPress could cope with that!

          • Posted September 25, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

            Any consistent web content management system W within which a certain amount of elementary formatting can be carried out is incomplete; i.e., there are statements of the language of W which can neither be typeset nor not typeset in W

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          Fancy-schmancy.

  29. jezgrove
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    OK, that’s a very scary article! G*d help America – and the rest of us given the Climate-change-denier-in-Chief’s world view.

  30. Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Masha Gessen’s rules for survival in an autocracy include:

    Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.

    Trump’s repeated refusal to personally pledge to accept the election results is a case in point. Some weaselly words by an underling which sound kinda like such a pledge – but really don’t amount to it – don’t count.

    Rule #3: Institutions will not save you.

    I read the article-referenced-in-the-article, on the 1887 Electoral Count Act. Our institutions are badly broken. Even if good institutions could save us, these won’t.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      And rule #4: Be Outraged!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Having been raised in the Soviet Union and then returning to Moscow in time for the fall of the Iron Curtain and living through the rise and reign of Vladimir Putin as a Jewish LGBT activist, Gessen knows whereof s/he speaks.

  31. Jenny Haniver
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s latest from yesterday: “get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

    This works on a similar principle as fewer Covid-19 tests, fewer cases.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      For some reason he has always felt that more voters work in favour of the democrats.

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      By “get rid of the ballots”, I think he means the ones that are automatically sent to registered voters. It all hinges on the perception, ginned up by the GOP for years, that there are many dead people on the registration rolls. By automatically sending out ballots, some will arrive at the dead people’s last address. Whoever lives there now can use it them to vote more than once. It’s the perfect conspiracy theory. Plausible enough but wrong. Anyone that points out where it goes wrong is just part of the conspiracy.

      • Jon Gallant
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Having been dead for many years myself, I expect to float through the walls of three different polling stations and vote three times for Пожизненный президент Трамп.

        • Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:45 am | Permalink

          “President for Life Trump” is only the start.

          Kim Il Sung (yes, the First) is still “president” of North Korea even has he lies in state. He is “eternal”.

          Well why not?

          D.A., NYC

  32. Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Trump is a headline producer. There is something every week. The timing of these headlines are a bit too regular, and his utterances are mostly inconsequential in the end so that I got the impression that these media stunts give him airtime, fire up his base and ideally translate to votes for him, or fewer for the other guy —whatshisname— who competes against him. This worked before.

    Normally I would think that’s all that is to it. Trump has few convictions and is guided by his rabid followers. He tests out what works for them, and then says more of whatever that is. The scary part is not Trump, but nearly half of America that is pretty much fascist at this point. They would readily support an autocrat, but that guy is not Trump in my mind. This will happen in a few years.

    There are however two caveats. If there is some way Republicans can get away with something that is beneficial to them, they’ll do it. Secomd, yhe rhetoric could be more than just hot air this time, when Trump is sufficiently convinced that the alternative to presidency is jail.

  33. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    If it looks like a power grab, swims like a power grab, and quacks like a power grab, then it probably is a power grab.

    You built this system. Hopefully you can fix it too.

    • tomh
      Posted September 24, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Not a chance.

  34. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    It appears the Republicans are all starting to sing from the same hymnal — the outcome of the election will be decided not at the ballot box, but in the Supreme Court.

    That’s the main incentive driving them to ram a new appointee onto the Court ASAP (to ensure a 5-4 right-wing majority, in the event Republican appointee Chief Justice John Roberts tergiversates and votes with the Democrats) and why Donald Trump is doubtless eliciting a pledge of fealty as to any vote regarding the presidential election from his new nominee, whoever it turns out to be.

    Trump knows he hasn’t a prayer of winning the votes of an outright majority of the American electorate, and hardly much more of winning a plurality of the vote over Joe Biden, or even of winning the popular vote in a sufficient number of states to carry the electoral college outright.

    His plan is, if he is ever so much as a single vote ahead in any swing state once the polls have closed, he will immediately repair to the courts and seek to stop any additional vote counting, and do whatever it takes to keep any ballots from even being tabulated during the pendency of the litigation, while he pursues his claims through the lower courts to SCOTUS, where he is confident he will prevail by carrying the votes of his three personal appointees plus those of the Court’s two most reactionary justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

    That is his “strategy” for “winning” reelection — indeed, his only such strategy — such as it is.

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      I still think that all the Supremes will vote reasonably in a clear cut case having to do with the vote. While they are conservative judges, I don’t believe they are partisan. Plus, the issues they’ll have to judge will not be those where conservatism comes into play. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance we’ll find out if that’s the case.

  35. Posted September 25, 2020 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    I listened to the article. I like the Atlantic because they reject my own articles. 😉

    BOY! It is a terrifying read/listen. One main point is that while there are a lot of shenanigans we can expect there’s an entirely new set of circumstances we can’t – and all kinds of sneaky, manipulative and wrong options (if history is any predictor) the GoP side can and might take.

    Oh well, democracy had a good run.
    Nice while it lasted.

    unusually depressed in NYC,

    D.A., J.D.
    https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/06/10/photos-of-readers-93/


Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*

%d bloggers like this: