Much has been said in the past two days about the fact that Trump seems poised to reject the results of the November election and to plant himself in our government as an autocratic leader, ala Adolf Hitler or more recently Vladimir Putin. Here’s what he told a reporter in response to a question of whether he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election …
“You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very … there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation … the ballots are out of control.”
Now, this isn’t really anything new. Your blood probably reached a boiling point when you heard this, as did mine, but after a while I realized what this all is. First and foremost, what his little tirade tells me is that he is scared, that he is fairly certain he will lose the election to Joe Biden. As well he should be. But he is a bully. All his life he has gotten his way by being a big playground bully, by lying, cheating, and making inane threats … by instilling fear.
So, what does he hope to accomplish? He hopes to make those of us who have a desire for a fair and honest election, those of us who believe in the U.S. Constitution, afraid. He hopes we will panic, for people in a panic tend to act stupidly. One thing he hopes to achieve is to reduce the number of people who vote, especially those who plan to vote by mail. He hopes people will assume their votes, their ballots, won’t be counted, so why bother? Some may fall into that trap, but frankly I like to think that those of us who stand against authoritarianism are smart enough to see through his rhetoric.
To set the record straight, there is no evidence whatsoever of voter fraud either in 2016 or 2018, and there is zero evidence that any is likely to take place in this election. Trump makes things up. He lies. He is a habitual liar who says whatever he thinks will help whatever his cause-of-the-day is and who wouldn’t recognize the truth if it smacked him in the ass.
Second, I was pleased to see even congressional republicans deny that Trump could seize power in denial of the election results …
“The president says crazy stuff. We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power. It’s not going to change.” – Senator Ben Sasse (Nebraska)
Even ol’ Mitchie had to weigh in on the side of justice this time …
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
“No question that all the people sworn to support the Constitution would assure that there would be a peaceful transition of power.” – Senator Mitt Romney (Utah)
“Well, Republicans believe in the rule of law, we believe in the Constitution, and that’s what dictates what happens.” – Senator John Thune (South Dakota)
“As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election It may take longer than usual to know the outcome, but it will be a valid one And at noon on Jan 20, 2021 we will peacefully swear in the President.” – Senator Marco Rubio (Florida)
“Throughout America’s history, the peaceful transition of power has been a hallmark of our democracy. This year, both candidates must commit to abiding by the results, no matter the outcome.” – Senator Rob Portman (Ohio)
It should be noted that none actually had the cojones to condemn Trump for his seditious rhetoric. The question arises … will they find a pair in order to do the right thing in the event that Trump actually attempts to deny the election results? I don’t know, but frankly folks, we’ve got bigger things to worry about for the next five weeks. We need to work on making sure every eligible voter either votes absentee or gets off their asses on November 3rd and goes out and votes!
This is the key. Trump’s approval rating is in the 40% range, and is likely to dip again soon, as the number of coronavirus cases rise and the vaccine that he has been promising either doesn’t materialize or is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). If every person who doesn’t approve of the job Trump has done, who sees the demolition of the nation, who rejects his authoritarian regime, goes out and votes for Joe Biden, there can be no doubt who is the clear winner of the November election.
But if we let his hate speech, his purely delusional rhetoric reduce us to a state of fear and panic, then we will not have the strength left to do what needs to be done. Forget him! (I actually wanted to use a different “f-word” there but bit my fingertips – thanks Keith!) Don’t play into his hand! Laugh at him. Treat him as he deserves to be treated – like a recalcitrant toddler. Remember that he is naught but a hired hand, a paid public servant who serves at the pleasure of We the People! I don’t know about you, but personally I’m ready to fire this bastard (sorry, Keith).
Yes, there is reason to be concerned by this sort of authoritarian talk, but if we let it paralyze us, then all is lost. Let’s address the situation calmly and rationally, in contrast to Trump’s own demeanor. Meanwhile, let’s keep our eye on the ball, meaning convincing everyone you know that they simply must vote this time ‘round. That is the main thing we can do. The other thing is keep those letters, emails, and phone calls to your members of Congress going, let them know that you expect them to uphold a higher standard and to uphold our right to have our voices heard as per the Constitution.
Briefly, don’t get sad, get mad! Be angry! But don’t let it paralyze you, and don’t give up. Together, we are strong, we can overcome the evil that has overtaken our nation for the past four years. And if you need something to smile about, picture in your mind the Metro police leading Trump out of the White House in chains on January 20th!