The 2016 election was not a fair and honest election. If it had been, we would be writing about President Hillary Clinton today. The election was “rigged”, to use Trump’s own terminology, in ways almost too numerous to count. Gerrymandering takes top billing, as evidenced by the fact that Hillary Clinton won the election by nearly 3 million votes, yet because of gerrymandered districts, Trump ‘won’ the electoral college. Other means of disenfranchising poor and minority voters came into play, as did propaganda by Russian entities, as well as Trump’s own dirty campaign.
Our own intelligence agencies tell us that the Russians have been spreading disinformation and propaganda for over a year now, gerrymandered districts have only been re-districted in two states that I’m aware of. Add to that the crisis of the year, the coronavirus pandemic and … well, how could we possibly have a fair and honest election? Most states are looking to a mail-in voting system, partial or complete, in November, but Donald Trump is jumping up and down, shrieking at the top of his lungs that it would be unfair to him. No evidence, just … well, Donnie knows that if states have mail-in voting, people cannot be stopped at the polls, will not have to travel long distances to vote, and in short … far more people are likely to vote if they can do so from the comfort and security of their own home. Increasing voter turnout is not what Trump wants … can you guess why? Because those people who are typically disenfranchised are poor and minority voters who would be most inclined to vote for a democrat, the party that believes in putting people first, ahead of profit.
In 2016, only 55.7% of eligible voters actually cast a vote. Barely over half! I’ve discussed before the reasons. Since 1972, the highest voter turnout was in 2008 when people were excited to have an African-American running for office, but even then the percentage of eligible voters that voted was only 58.2%.
Last week, Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from states that switched to mail-in voting, specifically Nevada and Michigan. Presumably, he figured out that he cannot do that without congressional approval … perhaps one of his overpriced advisors or lawyers told him, so now he has taken a different approach.
“The United States cannot have all Mail In Ballots. It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history. People grab them from mailboxes, print thousands of forgeries and “force” people to sign. Also, forge names. Some absentee OK, when necessary. Trying to use Covid for this Scam!”
Now, you and I know he’s so full of hot air he should be flying by now. But … there is a very real danger in his spew. According to former head of DOJ’s civil rights division, Vanita Gupta …
“He is planting the seeds for delegitimizing the election if he loses. It’s from the playbook. It’ll get more intense as he gets more freaked out.”
In 2016, we heard Trump claim that if he lost, it would be because the election was ‘rigged’ (he seems to like that word a lot, doesn’t he?) After he won the electoral college, he still claimed the election was ‘rigged’ because his ego couldn’t handle the fact that he had lost the election (popular vote). If you’ll recall, there were threats of violence among the more radical of his supporters if he were to lose. Nothing we’re seeing today should surprise us, but …
The danger is greater this year than in 2016 because there is more at stake. First, it is highly unusual for an incumbent to lose his second term, and it would be as a slap in the face to Trump, who sees himself as the greatest president other than Abraham Lincoln. Second, while Attorney General William Barr has declared Trump to be ‘above the law’ during his tenure in office … that protection goes away at noon on January 20th 2021 if Trump loses the election. He is, at that point, an average citizen (albeit a wealthy one with Secret Service protection) and it is not at all unreasonable to think he will face a barrage of lawsuits, likely criminal charges, once he leaves office.
And, of course, there is Trump’s faithful following, mostly either wealthy businessmen who stand to gain under Trump, and evangelicals who will put up with just about anything as long as he promises them he will tear down the wall of separation between church and state, will nominate judges who will strike down the likes of Roe v Wade and Obergefell v Hodges, further shredding civil rights in this nation. One of his loyal evangelical lapdogs, Rick Wiles, claims that …
“If they take him out, there’s gonna be violence in America. That’s all there is to it….However he leaves, there’s going to be violence in America…There are people in this country — veterans, there are cowboys, mountain men — I mean guys that know how to fight. And they’re going to make a decision that the people who did this to Donald Trump are not going to get away with it. And they’re gonna hunt ’em down.”
Stupid? Sure … you and I know that, but sadly there are some who think violence is the answer. It never … NEVER is, but these people carry big guns because they know no other way to make a point, to carry on a civil discourse.
Five months left until election day, folks. This promises to be the single most contentious election in our lifetimes, mainly because one of the candidates and his party is the most contentious candidate in our lifetimes. Other factors, such as being in the midst of a pandemic the likes of which we’ve never experienced add to the drama. I cannot even begin to imagine the atrocities and rhetoric that will be spewed by Trump and the GOP, but I do know it will escalate over the coming months. Steel yourself, be prepared, don’t let Trump’s rhetoric and the garbage you hear on off-the-wall websites and Fox “News” deter you. Keep your eye on the ball. We cannot afford to completely ignore Trump’s hate speech, but we must not let it weaken our resolve to oust him in November.