I confess, I don’t really understand the strong authoritarian urge of the party of Trump, certainly not among so many in his base who get so little from this openly corrupt, self-serving man. I don’t get the impulse to march in lockstep behind a violent “strongman”. I know that Trump has a painful compulsion to “win” at any cost and a need to inflict maximum pain on others as he does it. It’s hard for me to think of him as not floridly psychotic, a flailing, desperately self-obsessed, addled maniac with pronounced sadistic features.
He truly, sincerely, strongly doesn’t care that perhaps twice as many Americans have died, and are dying, of COVID-19 than if he had taken any reasonable steps to slow its spread, anywhere along the way. He doesn’t even bother to show up at meetings of his pandemic task force, hasn’t for months. He is unconcerned about mass American death, even in areas that voted for him in great numbers, and doesn’t even pretend to give a damn. But what’s up with his lickspittle accomplices? Lindsey Graham? Little Marco? Lyin’ Ted? Moscow Mitch? All the rest?
The vast majority of Republicans in Congress have been silent in the face of Trump’s unhinged coup attempt (his won-lost record in “legal” challenges since the election is now 1 and 49). The Washington Post surveyed congressional Republicans recently and found only 27 out of 249 would admit that Joe Biden won the election. Historian Heather Cox Richardson provides a historical precedent for this kind of cynical Republican power play, from America’s last Gilded Age .
When pressed for comment about Trump’s refusal to admit defeat these powerful Republican election results deniers keep repeating their idiotic talking point: Trump has every right to attack and use every means he can think of to try to overturn an election he honestly believes he rightfully won. They all seem to have swilled the Kool-aid Alan Dershowitz offered in a deranged defense of Trump at his rigged impeachment : even if Trump is wrong, if he honestly believes he’s right to do something, and is doing it for what he truly feels is the good of the country, how can his actions be against the law?
Incoherence is perfectly cool among this type of true believer. Mail-in voting is ripe for massive fraud, repeated Barr, Trump, Graham, Putin — bolstered by no evidence but Barr’s conclusory “common sense”. Preventing massive mail-in voting fraud was the theory behind making it hard for people in cities to vote by mail, removing and dismantling high speed mail-sorting machines and pulling mailboxes off the streets. This fantasy of mail-in voting fraud is the basis on which Trump attacked the solid 7,000,000 vote, 306 Elector majorities for Biden. Republican voters in the do-or-die Georgia runoff are now urged by their president to vote by mail. Do not trouble yourself about the contradictions: just do it!
One of the candidates in the upcoming Georgia runoff that will decide if we have a working democracy again soon or more of the Grim Reaper’s mirthless obstruction, Kelly Loeffler, who joined fellow ardent Trumpist senator David Perdue in demanding that the Republican Attorney General of Georgia step down (for his part in the fraud that stole the election from Trump?) was asked “Yes or no, Senator Loeffler, did Donald Trump lose the recent presidential election?”
“You know, President Trump has every right to use every legal recourse available, it’s unfortunate that the focus is on a debate about who won the election when this process is still playing out …. and president Trump has every right to every legal legal recourse… The president has the right to pursue every legal recourse to make sure this was a free and fair election in Georgia… The president has every right to every legal recourse, and that’s what’s taking place…”
The system is corrupt, the election in Georgia was rigged, your votes have been stolen, and Trump is trying to reveal this and overturn the fake results certified now three times by traitorous top Georgia Republicans — now get those absentee ballots in, Georgia Republicans, to enable Mitch McConnell, with an unchallengeable one vote majority, to fuck up Biden like he hogtied that illegitimate secret Muslim son-of-a-bitch so-called president!
Since all politics is local, angry Republicans with the power to do so may intimidate and punish enemies real and perceived with the full force of the law.
From Heather Cox Richardson:
This morning in Florida, about 10 armed law enforcement officers raided the home of former state data scientist Rebekah Jones and seized her computers, phone, thumb drives, and hard drives. Jones was fired from her job at the state Department of Health for insubordination in May when she apparently refused to manipulate data about coronavirus to downplay state infections at a time when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was eager to reopen the state. Jones had built the state’s Covid-19 dashboard, and after she was fired, she continued to compile and post coronavirus updates on her own.
An investigator with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement filed an affidavit saying that someone had hacked the state emergency management system to send a text to about 1,750 people with the message: “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.” The affidavit said the text came from an IP address connected to Jones’s house, and the affidavit was the reason for the search warrant that led to the raid. Jones denies having anything to do with the text, and noted that it went out on the official channel about the time that five of the eight team leaders at the DOH were fired in what she described as a purge.source
Purges, it’s what fascists and bulimics do. Proof, shmoof, move on, nothing to see here, you vicious turds. The reason the Trump loyalist, COVID-denying governor of Florida’s forces raided the fired scientist’s home?
she apparently refused to manipulate data about coronavirus to downplay state infections at a time when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was eager to reopen the state. Jones had built the state’s Covid-19 dashboard, and after she was fired, she continued to compile and post coronavirus updates on her own.
and from that same Letter from an American:
Despite the coronavirus crisis, the Trump administration continues to put its energy into trying to overturn the 2020 election.
Having won only once, Trump today lost his 49th legal case, when lawyer Sidney Powell, who was recently dismissed from Trump’s campaign legal team, lost yet again in her attempt to get the results of the 2020 election thrown out. In Georgia, Judge Timothy Batten, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, rejected a lawsuit to overturn Biden’s victory in the state. “They want this court to substitute its judgment for that of 2.5 million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden,” Batten said, “and this I am unwilling to do.”
Nonetheless, tonight we learned that Trump reached out to a third state to try to enlist the support of Republican officials to overturn the election results. The office of the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Bryan Cutler, confirmed that the president twice called to try to get Cutler to “fix” what he claimed were “issues” in Philadelphia. Cutler was one of about 60 state legislators who asked Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to object to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes when they are brought before Congress on January 6, 2021, an effort that might cause a fuss but is unlikely to do much else. Trump has also unsuccessfully pressured officials in Arizona and Georgia to change their state’s votes.
Don’t worry. This is all perfectly normal. It happens in every society that goes authoritarian.
note this parenthetical:
(among other things, [Republicans] added six new states to the Union to pack the Electoral College).
Also today, the Washington Post printed the results of its query to all 249 Republicans in the House and Senate, asking them who won the 202 presidential election. Only 27 of them are willing to acknowledge that Biden won. Two Republicans insist that Trump won the election, all evidence to the contrary. The rest of them—220 of them—refuse to say who won.
This is a big deal. This was not a close election. Biden currently has over 7 million more votes than Trump, and has won by 306 to 232 in the Electoral College. And yet, Republican leadership is permitting Trump to undermine our democracy. Try to imagine any past Republican president doing what Trump is doing, and you can’t. But today’s Republican lawmakers are standing to the side, permitting Trump to poison our democracy.
To what end? Why are Republicans accepting this anti-American behavior from Trump?
It seems to me they are unwilling to risk losing Trump’s voters in the future because they are determined to regain power. They don’t much care about our democracy, so long as they have a shot at keeping Trump’s people on their side. But then, again, to what end? If Republicans regain power in 2022 or 2024, what will that look like? Do we have any reason to think they will then begin to defend our democracy? Do we have any reason to think they are interested in anything but even more legislation that moves wealth upward?
We have been in a spot much like this before. In 1884, Americans turned against the Republican Party because it had abandoned its support for ordinary Americans in favor of the industrial leaders who put money into Republican lawmakers’ political war chests, as well as into their pockets. Voters put Democrat Grover Cleveland into the White House, the first Democrat to hold the presidency since James Buchanan was elected in 1856.
Horrified, the Republicans flooded the country with stories of how Democrats were socialists who would attack the rich by ending the legislation that protected businesses. If Democrats continued to control the government, Republicans said, they would destroy America. In 1888, they suppressed Democratic votes and created modern political financing as they hit up businessmen for major donations. Despite their best efforts, voters reelected Cleveland by about 100,000 votes, but Republicans managed to eke out a win for their candidate, Benjamin Harrison, in the Electoral College. Harrison promised a “BUSINESSMAN’S ADMINISTRATION,” and indeed, in office, he and his men did all they could to cement the Republican Party into power so it could continue to defend business (among other things, they added six new states to the Union to pack the Electoral College).
But voters still didn’t like the Republicans’ platform, which seemed more and more to funnel money from hardworking Americans upward into the pockets of those men who were increasingly portrayed as robber barons. In 1892, they voted for Cleveland in such numbers they couldn’t be overridden in the Electoral College. Voters also put Democrats in charge of Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
And that is the moment I cannot help thinking about today. Faced with a legitimately elected Democratic government, Republican leaders deliberately sabotaged the country. They swamped the media with warnings that Democrats would destroy the economy and that men should pull their capital out of stocks and industries. Foreign capital should, they said, go home or face disaster. Money began to flow out of the country and stocks faltered. When financiers begged the Harrison administration to shore up the markets in the face of the growing panic, administration officials told them their job was only to keep the country afloat until the day of Cleveland’s inauguration.
They didn’t quite make it. The economy collapsed about ten days before Cleveland took the oath of office, saddling the new president with the Panic of 1893 and very few ways to combat it. Republicans had deliberately sabotaged the country in order to discredit Cleveland, then demanded he honor the demands of financiers to stabilize the economy. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Cleveland tried to work with moneyed interests to combat the depression and promptly split his own party. The country roiled as out-of-work Americans despaired, some of them marching on Washington, D.C., to demand the government do something to address their plight.
The Republicans went into the 1894 midterm elections blaming the Democrats for the crisis in the country. They won the midterms in what remains the largest seat swing in the history of the House of Representatives. Then they claimed that, with Republicans back in power, the economy was now safe. They papered the country with media announcing that the panic was over and people should reinvest. The panic was over, and a Republican president won in 1896, once again insisting the Democrats were socialists, but this time adding that the past four years had proved the Democrats could not run the economy.
There is no excuse for the silence of Republican lawmakers as their president attacks our democracy. But there might be a precedent.source
How’s this for Nazi-style justice?
The president hired an Attorney General who auditioned for the job by opining that the foundation of the Mueller probe was fatally flawed– and who, once on the job, dismissed the findings of the investigation as the work product of waffling, illegally spying partisans who had, in spite of massive efforts, found nothing on the president. The president was eventually impeached over an illegal quid pro quo that was witnessed by multiple officials who were on the call . The transcript of the “perfect” call that his own people released showed he withheld military aid to get a foreign leader to announce an investigation that would damage his political opponent. The call was heard in real time by many, some (like Mike Pompeo) lied about it, some testified truthfully, under oath. The president was impeached by the House who sent the articles over the the Senate for the trial.
Mitch McConnell, the head juror, immediately announced that the impeachment was a desperate and unfounded purely political attack by a party angry that its “witch hunt” had turned up no hint of wrongdoing by the president. The jury, he said, would work closely with the president’s defense team to acquit the president of all charges as quickly as possible. McConnell announced this on national TV. No witnesses or new evidence of presidential wrongdoing (which was gathering almost daily) would be allowed at the trial. We’ll hear from the desperate, lying Democrats, he promised, and then we’ll acquit our president of all the fake charges. We have the votes, bitches.
Once the “trial” was over, Trump began purging everyone who had testified against him under oath. He took revenge on everyone and their brother, literally, as it turned out.