Well the Presidential election is eleven days away. Some 50 million people have already voted, including Toritto and his two daughters. The last “debate” is over and now its just a race to the wire and mud slinging. Its the time of “anything goes.”
I fully expect Trump to be trounced in the popular vote; he will lose it by the millions. That however doesn’t mean he will lose the election. He lost last time by 2.9 million votes but carried enough states by slim margins to win. Piling up millions of votes in New York and California will not get Biden elected if he loses the swing states by a single votes.
America is not a democracy when it comes to picking a President. Twice in the last 20 years the President has lost the popular vote yet won the election.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am hopeful. Turnout has been well above 2016 and millions are voting for the first time. If the election is close, Trump will not go quietly and he will have his packed Supreme Court in reserve to stop counting votes or continue to count votes as necessary. There will of course be “wide spread fraud” at work if he loses. Only a landslide can make him give up power.
On the other hand no one thought he would “win” the last election. Taking a deep breath, one must think about what we can expect with 4 more years of Trump.
Beginning with Covid it is clear that the White House wants Americans to grow numb to the escalating death toll and thousands of new cases a day; that Americans will live with the virus being a threat. Schools must reopen, businesses operate at full capacity, football stadiums filled, Disney World back in business. There is little thought of empathy for the health and welfare of the workers, students, patrons of the bar and restaurant.
The President believes all of these actions to stem the spread of the virus are only being done to hurt him politically. He wants us “back to normal.” He knew early on the virus was a menace, yet he lied about it. “It will go away.”
As for casualties well “if they die, they die.”
As for his policy agenda, well he has none. He never has.
There is his silly wall, of course. And he is inordinately proud of the fact that he signed off on judicial appointments that were chosen in advance by the Federalist Society, apparently not realizing that “accomplishment”would have been carried out by any Republican president who could hold a pen. Likewise with the huge tax cuts for the rich and the bloated military budgets.
He took credit for the strong economy he inherited and he believes it will rebound from the current disaster as soon as people accept all the sickness and death from the coronavirus as the natural order of things and get back to work. And there are his massively overrated “trade deals” and foreign policy disasters.
But none of that is really what Trump has learned about being president and they’re obviously not what interests him going forward. The experience Trump has gained during his tumultuous four years in office is that the presidency is immensely powerful and he can get away with anything.
His post-impeachment purge will be child’s play compared to what he’ll do in a second term. With henchmen like Attorney General Bill Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe newly emboldened by Trump’s re-election, I don’t even want to think what will become of those the president considers his political enemies in a second term.
From the sound of his speeches and comments over the past several years, it’s clear he believes his enemies are not just elected officials or the so-called deep state. He routinely speaks of “bad, evil people.”
He means us; those of us who don’t want him as President. We saw what happened a when Trump came close to provoking a military insurrection by demanding that active duty troops be brought into the streets of America. It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that Trump was energized by this confrontation with protesters and was obsessed with it.
It was tempting to see this as merely Trump ginning up his base for the campaign. And there is an element of that, to be sure. But Trump’s real agenda from the beginning has been to turn back the clock to a time in his mind when the country was safe and secure in the hands of police and political leaders who knew how to keep the “bad, evil” people in their places. Trump has been waiting for Black Lives Matter his whole life.
The consequences of a Trump re-election will be profound in terms of policy. Trump has begun to move away from Congress as the vehicle for new laws and what he can’t jam through a (likely Democratic) House, he’ll enact through executive orders. Where executive orders won’t work, he’ll use other measures to destroy programs he doesn’t like. As the head of the federal government, he has great latitude to damage agencies.
From the right to choose, health care, immigration, the postal service, public education, welfare programs, protections for unions, the environment, national parks. social security, the one or two more Supreme Court Justices he may get to choose – one could go on and on.
I have trouble identifying any group or issue helped by Trump in the last four years other than the tax cut for his billionaire friends. My taxes actually went up and I know I paid more in income taxes than he did.
His authoritarianism will be given full rein. The campaign’s current focus on “law and order” has nothing to do with rule-breaking and everything to do with authoritarian displays of state power. As President, he’s learned that lying and propaganda have several benefits. They undermine the authority of the free media. They create an environment in which facts are political, in which there is no objective authority, and this weakens his opposition. And his lies particularly the obvious ones, become a demonstration of power because no one can stop him from telling them.
“In a second term, we can expect Trump to undo the protections of speech and who may wield it. He will continue to attack the free press and more fully ignore those who don’t offer Pravda-like coverage. He and the judiciary will weaken media protection, going after individual reporters and media outlets. He will allow increasingly militant supporters to threaten and attack protesters while using “freedom of religion” and other excuses to carve out zones of free speech. It will all be a steady, slow erosion such that political enemies take risks speaking out, while supporters are given bigger and bigger platforms to spread Republican Convention-style lies and propaganda.”
We will fall into a uniquely American fascism. Eventually his minions will attack dissidents – those evil, nasty people who oppose him. If you believe it can’t happen here you haven’t read your history. If you think there would be no American who would serve as a guard at a concentration camp, you need only look at the faces at a Trump rally.
The Reichstag is burning in slow motion.
Would the blue states begin a soft succession by ignoring the President? What would he do? Who knows.
Will the US have fair and free elections in 2024? Our status as a true democracy will be tested within four years: it’s that stark. If Trump is re-elected, he will, through instinct and intention, undermine the norms and structures that make democracy possible. In 2024, we’ll have an election. There’s a real question whether it will be like those which have come before, or something like the “elections” Vladimir Putin allows.
I am 78 years old. This may very well be my last Presidential election. It is the most important in my life time.
VOTE AS IF YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES OF YOUR CHILDREN DEPEND UPON IT!
Choose Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.