The 2020 Trump vote total was a shock to people who imagined there was an underlying moral consensus or contract enabling us to trust each other and be a community despite ideological differences. Instead, a dangerously large number of Americans had accepted and even admired lying, cheating, violent speech, disrespectful behavior, and a manipulative approach to human relationships. Trump has made the Republican Party into an image of his overblown self. As his loud acolyte Marjorie Taylor Green boasted to Steve Bannon, "We are not the fringe. We are the base of the party." Now Trump is girding his considerable loins for a run in 2024.
It is a tribute to the stunning incompetence of the Democratic Party that, after four years of Trump, they emerged from their 2020 'win' with a reduced, thin majority in the House, and a 50-50 tie in the Senate. That left them at the mercy of two shameless DINO senators, Manchin and Sinema, whose support of the filibuster dooms the Biden agenda, thus making the GOP likely to capture the House in 2022.
1. Trump's Big Lie
Between his election loss on Nov. 3 and final certification of electoral ballots on Jan.6, Trump and his allies made several attempts to overturn the results, culminating in a violent coup attempt. They filed 63 lawsuits, losing all but one which was in Pennsylvania where the number of votes at stake was not enough to change the outcome. The presiding judges in these cases were both Democratic- and Republican-appointed, even including some appointed by Trump. He also tried to get GOP secretaries of state and legislatures in states that went for Biden to reject or invalidate the vote counts.
On July 27 at a nationally televised congressional hearing, four police officers described the savage beating they endured from MAGA insurgents who had invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6 at Trump's urging. The mob had hunted loudly for the Vice President and the Speaker of the House. Pence and Pelosi were ushered to safety in the nick of time by the Secret Service and police. The second and third-ranking persons in the U.S. government might have been murdered. Members of Congress and their staffs were hiding in fear.
Trump's sending an armed mob to storm the U.S. Capitol and disrupt the counting of the electoral votes was an act of treason as defined by the Constitution (Art. III, Sec. 3.1). It is striking that, after almost a year, Trump has still not been indicted. Instead, we have a traitor on the loose, cementing his hold on the GOP in preparation for a presidential campaign in 2024.
According to a Nov. 15 Monmouth University poll, "About one-third (32%) of the American public [including 73% of Republicans] continues to believe that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election only due to voter fraud - a number that has not budged across five polls in which Monmouth asked this question during the past year." To prevent this fictitious fraud from happening again, Republicans at the state level are working to change election laws and procedures. As Barton Gellman explains in a brilliant essay in The Atlantic, preparations for Trump's second coup are well under way. GOP operatives in states such as Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan,
"have rewritten statutes to seize partisan control of decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard, which results to certify and which to reject. They are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with the plot last November, aiming to replace them with exponents of the Big Lie. They are fine-tuning a legal argument that purports to allow state legislators to override the choice of the voters."
They are also suppressing likely Democratic votes by devices such as reduced voting hours, increased use of poll watchers, purging voter rolls and limiting mail ballots.
Trump's Big Lie, his anarchic presidency and rejection of moral norms have turned the Republican Party into an anti-democratic insurgency. We no longer have a two-party systemone of the two 'parties' rejects the system, and Democrats haven't figured out how to function in this new reality. Do they have the will or the means for a counter-insurgency? What would that be like?
The Democratic establishment, its media allies, and prominent anti-Trump ex-Republicans are rightly disturbed and exasperated by the increasingly violent anger of the Trump base. Gellman reports that in a June poll by the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats, 8% of respondents agreed that "the use of force is justified to restore Donald Trump to the presidency." That would correspond to 21 million American adults.
2. Democracy--the Democrats' Big Lie
So where are the champions of democracy? If it is so sacred and fundamental to our nation, why doesn't it inspire a more passionate defense? Why isn't there a mighty resistance in the streets and in Congress, with Joe Biden leading a militant campaign to defend our voting rights? What is it about our political system that enabled Trump to persuade tens of millions of Americans to turn against it?
As he lamented the enormous casualties of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, Lincoln hoped "that these dead shall not have died in vain- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." What we have in 2021 is a mockery of Lincoln's hope: a government of, by and for mega-corporations and the small cohort of their very wealthy investor-owners. Calling our society a democracy is a bigger lie than Trump's claim that he won the 2020 election.
For the sake of honesty and transparency, members of Congress, when being sworn in or casting votes, should imitate NASCAR drivers by wearing the logos of their corporate donors, or patches with the names of the individuals or organizations that have contributed above a certain amount to their campaigns. Very large donations should require large patches or logos.
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