Are We Heading for Our Version of Hitler?

Do not underestimate Trump, his followers and the inability of most Republicans to stand up to him. We need to be deeply worried about the fate of our democracy thanks to the passage of anti-democratic voting laws in Republican led state legislatures across the country, partisan gerrymandering, the culture wars that keep the MAGA crowd stirred up and ready to vote as well as itching to intimidate voters of color, and historical precedence that tell us Republicans will retake the House and possibly the Senate in 2022 unless turn out is huge and Republicans don’t show up to vote. Trump has said if Republicans regain control of the House, he will run for president again. There is a reason why he says that. If Republicans control the House, Trump will have a glidepath to the presidency.

Also see Robert Kagan’s article in the Washington Post: Our Constitutional Crisis is Already Here.

To help him maintain his political dominance, Trump asked to be reinstated on Twitter but was again denied so far. But Trump is having rallies again and clearly remains the leader of the GOP. Once he declares he is running for office again, social media platforms may be forced to allow Trump back on Twitter and Facebook. Once Trump is on those platforms, we will all be subjected to his incessant tweets and posts attacking people, exacting revenge and doing his best to micromanage and manipulate Americans politics for his personal benefit and instilling distrust of our voting system so that he can win by cheating.  This coming unless something stops it from happening.

So here is the big question: What would stop Trump from running for president again?

“Trump is confiding in allies that he intends to run again in 2024 with one contingency: that he still has a good bill of health, according to two sources close to the former president. That means Trump is going to hang over the Republican Party despite its attempts to rebrand during his exile and its blockade of a Trump-centric investigation into January’s insurrection.” [CNN]

Trump is thought to be 99% certain to run again. That declaration freezes the field of potential challengers, like Ron DeSantis or Mike Pence, from campaigning, organizing a future campaign or wooing donors. Trump is far and away the favorite candidate of those Republican voters who have not left the GOP by now. DeSantis sometimes polls pretty competitively with Trump, but Trump would currently be chosen as the candidate if he threw his hat in the ring. Trump and only Trump is the man totally revered by the cult that has seized and ravaged the former Republican Party, causing it to become a “zombie” party, a cult of personality… Trump’s personality.

Could Someone Else Pull Off What Trump is Plotting to Do?

DeSantis is not Trump. Pence is not Trump. Only Trump is Trump. Trump appeals like no one else to the authoritarian leaning Republicans, the white supremacists, and the ultra conservative Libertarian leaning power mongers that have invaded the GOP and taken it over.

If Kevin McCarthy were in control of the House and Trump were to run again, Trump is planning to “win” back the presidency thanks to the pre-rigged manipulations of Republican state legislatures. Red state legislatures have crafted laws that would permit the will of the voters to be overturned in certain key battleground states Biden narrowly won in 2020 such as: Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The way this would go down is a replay of the coup Trump tried for in 2020 but failed to achieve, only this time the coup would work unless there is a Democratic governor to veto these laws and not enough Republican legislators to overturn that veto.

What’s coming?

The Eastman Memo that has come to light was a memo outlining the way Pence could have rigged the outcome in 2020.

Eastman (an attorney who counseled Trump that Pence had the power to create sufficient ambiguity that could result in Trump becoming the winner of the 2020 election) relies on ambiguities in the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which provides instructions to Congress for resolving disputes, [that] could lead to chaos when lawmakers meet to tally the results.

Those battleground states that have now rewritten their election laws to pave the way for Trump, would simply claim they have a right to send a Trump loyal slate of electors to the Electoral College to challenge the slate of electors chosen by the voters no matter what the outcome. The Trump loyalists would allege fraud whether or not there was any evidence of fraud. Chaos would ensue, The decision might eventually be thrown to the Supreme Court, now deeply conservative and partisan thanks to right wing efforts. We could get another Bush v Gore decision. If the election result were to be ambiguous, the Court would be freer to be partisan. If Biden won again in a landslide, a partisan ruling would be harder.

The Rigging of the System

The coup Trump tried for in 2020 did not work but it would work today because these red state legislatures have changed their laws by going along with the Big Lie and alleging “election integrity” so that they could change the rules and give Trump a glidepath to win by cheating. The coup is being legislated and orchestrated in advance, in other words. Neutral election officials who ran perfectly good, clean elections, are now being run out of office: intimidated, threatened and replaced by Trump supporters who are known to support the Big Lie, which has become the litmus test for loyalty to Trump. These people will do Trump’s bidding to get him elected again if he runs. The stage is clearly being set for Trump to steal the presidency “legally”.

What Happens if Trump “Wins”?

Once Trump gets back into power, that it would most likely be the end of our democracy.  The result would be a minority Republican party holding power over a far more progressive majority that would be outraged by this unfair, rigged, illiberal turn of events.

Could This Plan Be Thwarted?

The cheat to win plan of the Republicans might be foiled or countered before it happens because the administration in charge right now and at the time of a Trump “legislated coup” would still be the Biden administration officials including Merrick Garland who has shown himself to be a strong supporter of democracy and democratic principles. Kamala Harris would still be in a position to possibly thwart the coup in her role in the Senate. But even these two democratic standard bearers would have to support a Trump win if the Supreme Court determined Trump had won the election based on state laws that enshrine election subversion.

How could that happen? Because states generally have the power to determine their voting laws, procedures and rules unless there has been a challenge that forces the state to change its rules. “Preclearance”, which gives the DOJ power to challenge state laws that are not fair, was removed by the Supreme Court. Current federal laws administering the Electoral College are convoluted and unclear. There are some other interventions that could prevent this legislative coup from happening, however, but only if the Biden administration acts NOW.

  1. Congress could pass the new Manchin inspired Voting Rights Act that outlaws PARTISAN gerrymandering but to do so Congress would need to carve out an exception to the filibuster and that looks like a pipe dream right now.
  2. The Congress could clarify the laws and rules that govern the Electoral College and make it impossible for Trump and the Republicans to succeed in this pre-rigged game plan we see coming.
  3. The DOJ could act fast to challenge these state laws across the country relying on Section 2 of the Voting Rights act which still permits some intervention by the DOJ. But court challenges take years and years. We don’t have years and years to get this done.

Unfortunately, even if some of these undemocratic laws were knocked out, these red states would most certainly rush to pass new legislation to subvert the election and court challenges might not come fast enough to overturn them and protect our country. Challenges in court take too long!

Once Trump got back into the presidency, it would be game over for DOJ action to challenge these laws and our democracy would be either on life support or over because Trump would defy all the norms and laws (now he knows how to do it and he would appoint people who would allow him to do what he wants to do, unfettered). He would without a doubt install someone worse than Bill Barr as DOJ who would do Trump’s bidding.

This is Coming, People

So here we are. Here is what is coming. We can see it coming if we are willing to think clearly and project into the future given what we see happening.  Trump will run. The glidepath is almost ready for him to return to power right now thanks to systemic rigging. This coup really could be successful. Democracy is probably going to hang by a thread and the Supreme Court could break that thread.

What Could Change this Future?

There is a simple answer. No one else has the power Trump has to upend our democracy. No one else has the power to defy norms and laws the way Trump does and get away with it, thanks to his rabid loyal base and the many Republican cowards he has either groomed or threatened into submission. Trump is made of Teflon when it comes to destroying our democracy because of the activism, outrage and loyalty of his base, the disinformation of conservative media and amplification of Trump’s messages, as well the sheer cowering spinelessness of Republicans that causes almost all of them to act as his enforcers and apologists. Hardly anyone can stand up to him and if he wins the presidency back, he will make sure everyone who opposed him is crushed.

The real question we need to ask is what could STOP Trump from running?

Trump has hinted at the answer.

Trump, who has openly flirted with launching another presidential campaign while so far declining to reveal his plans for 2024, was asked by television host David Brody what might prevent him from running again.

“Well, I don’t — I guess a bad call from a doctor or something, right?” Trump said on “The Water Cooler” show on Real America’s Voice

A bad call from a doctor?  What would that call be about?

Former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said Sunday that if Donald Trump wants to run for president again in 2024 he “needs to come clean to the American people” about his health.

Fresh off her court win against the former president, Manigault Newman told MSBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton that she’s concerned about the fact that Trump “hasn’t come forward and talked about his health.”

She did not give any details of what gave her cause for concern, or provide any evidence of a particular reason that Trump, who is 75, should need to worry.

“I don’t know if he will even be healthy enough to run in 2024,” she said, according to MSNBC. “I think he needs to come clean to the American people about where he is on that before deciding to get into a very stressful and strenuous race for the White House.” [Insider]

Trump is an obese 75 year old man (who will be 78 in 2024) with a self indulgent, unhealthy diet, who almost died from COVID and may have long haul after affects like brain fog, believes conspiracy theories and suffers from dementia. The dreaded call from his doctor might be about his heart or his brain or both. But the fact that Trump brings that idea up as a possibility is interesting.  He might already know something is seriously wrong with him physically and it might be so serious it would be evident if he tried to campaign. If the problem is his heart, could a fatal cheeseburger be the way Trump leaves the scene and our democracy survives? Who knows. One thing is certain, though, if he doesn’t leave the scene or is not prevented from running for president again, we are in for a world of trouble.