America can’t survive four more years of Trump. But the House of Representatives could vote to give him a second term…it’s like a bad dream that never ends.
A section of a cylindrical concrete culvert, four or five feet tall, stood on end in our backyard. Its diameter was barely sufficient for me to stand inside on its concrete bottom, and squat or bend down. My wife had asked me to pull some weeds growing in the crack between the bottom and the upright cylinder, so I climbed in.
The bottom began to shift, as if it were floating, then began to tip, threatening to sink. I realized I was standing on top of an old septic tank cover, and my weight was pushing it down into the tank. I wasn’t panicked, but realized I had to get out quickly.
I called for my wife to help me climb out, but she had gone back into the house. Could she hear me? I imagined I might have to spread my body across the tank, propping myself up by pushing with my hands and feet against the wall to keep my weight off the bottom. Did I have the strength? How long would I be stuck there? How long could I hold up?
My wife, lying next to me, woke me by tapping my shoulder and asking me to get our morning coffee. There is no septic tank in our backyard. I was dreaming. I told her about it . She said it sounded like a shitty dream.
Why this dream now?
It feels like the bottom is falling out of society. Between rise of fascism, the virus and the recession we feel unsafe, unsettled. I feel unsafe, unsettled. What lies ahead? How long until we are all swallowed by the chaos?
I’ve said before that America can survive the virus and survive an economic depression, but we can’t survive four more years of Trump as President. He’s already gone off the rails, and if he remains in the White House for another term he’ll take the country with him. It will crash and fall apart irreparably. By the end of his second term, the rule of law will be gone for good, the economic depression will be so deep there will be no recovering for at least a decade, and Christo-fascism will be upon us full force. Attorney General William Barr’s “Justice” Department and the military and paramilitaries will be unleashed on anyone opposed to the regime; the press will be suppressed and made into an instrument of the administration; corruption will become endemic; and the environment will enter a stage of irretrievable collapse. We will live in a dystopian nightmare, in which only the wealthy and well-connected few can thrive and everyone else will either be cowed or killed.
Encouragingly, it seems at this time that Joe Biden will win the 2020 election. But as many others have pointed out, that does not mean Trump will give up the White House. Until a couple of days ago, I foresaw a post-election struggle, which might last for a few weeks or several months, during which Trump would claim the election was “rigged,” then have Barr “investigate” it. Eventually, the whole business would wind up in the Supreme Court.
However, I felt the mess would eventually sort itself out. Unlike the 2,000 election, when the the presidency was handed to George Bush, the Court would this time decide to take the safer, less controversial route and have the states certify their own election results, sans Barr’s “investigation.” Then it would become clear that Biden had won. At that point Trump would have to step down or be forcibly removed from the Oval Office. Either way, he’d be gone, and the country could start on it’s long road to recovery.
But there was something I didn’t know about how the Constitution and the Electoral system is designed to work. It turns out that there is a legal, or at least quasi-legal way Trump can be “reelected.” I learned about it in an article I read the night before my bad dream, and it shook me to the core.
The Newsweek article, How Trump Could Lose the Election – and Still Remain President — written by former U.S. senator Timothy E. Wirth (D-Colo) and CNBC/MSNBC founder and current Newsweek editor-at-large Tom Rogers — outlines a plausible election-stealing scenario for which the groundwork is already being laid by Trump and Barr.
Assuming Biden wins the election by a substantial but not overwhelming majority, the coup, staged in several phases, would work like this:
1) The Republicans suppress the vote so the ballot tallies will be closer than they would be in a fair election, especially in the swing states which generally have close win/lose margins.
2) Trump declares a national emergency based on false claims that the election was rigged and there was widespread mail-in ballot fraud, especially in the swing states, perpetrated by the Democrats with the cooperation of the Chinese government.
3) William Barr’s Justice Department launches an investigation into these claims, which delays the final vote-count and certification of the contested states’ Electoral College delegates right up to the December 14 certification deadline.
4) The Supreme Court mandates that the election will be decided by the House of Representatives, since the deadline is sacrosanct and the delegates can’t be certified on time. (The Court used that deadline as the pretext for stopping the 2000 vote count, giving Bush the Presidency, and the American people the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Great Recession.)
5) The House of Representatives elects Trump to a second term.
How can the Democratically held House possibly choose Trump over Biden?
This is where I was shaken, and frightened. It turns out that when the House selects a president, each state gets one and only one vote — and that vote must represent the majority in that state’s delegation. Although the Democrats have a substantial overall majority of delegates in the House, 26 states have Republican majority delegations, compared to 23 states that have Democratic majority delegations. In the last stage of the coup, the House votes, and Trump gets a second term, with all that implies.
This scenario is not far fetched. Republican voter suppression, in one form or another, has been underway for decades. In 2020, the Republicans are planning to plant between 50,000 and 100,000 “election monitors” at polling places all around the country — mostly in inner cities and other places minority people vote — to challenge and try to intimidate voters and poll workers. In open-carry states, some of those “monitors” might even be armed.
Meanwhile, Trump has already been (falsely) telling his supporters at rallies and on Twitter that the election might be rigged and mail-in voting — the safe way to vote during the pandemic — is ripe for mass fraud. Seconding the President, William Barr said in an interview on Fox News that “right now a foreign country could print tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots” that would be hard to detect. That foreign country, of course, would be China, as the Trump campaign is doing everything in its power to link Joe Biden to China with implied or outright accusations of his being on the take from that country’s communist regime. While these charges have been widely debunked, they would certainly be investigated by Barr’s Justice Department under the aegis of Glorious Leader Trump who, by invoking a (fake) national emergency, is merely trying to protect our democratic elections from foreign intervention. (Don’t even get me started on the irony of all this.)
Also, Barr is reportedly already writing the legal justifications for Trump to declare a national emergency in the case of alleged voter fraud. As it is, the justifications for national emergency declaration must be true national emergencies — an attack on the United States, a widespread insurrection, that sort of thing. But is seems that that is about to change, and the type of legal rationale that can tie up the issue in the courts for months, if not years, is being written — even as I write this.
So, what can we do to prevent Trump and his enablers from stealing the election?
In the conclusion of their article, Wirth and Rogers offered two main strategies for building a “people’s firewall” against this scenario. First, “We must ‘out’ this scenario — and do so loudly and consistently.” To that effect, please use your own list of contacts to alert as many people as you can about this scenario, and to prepare them to resists any attempts at a takeover of our democratic republic. (Feel free to link to this article, which is published under the Creative Commons dedication [CC0], meaning it is available to anyone to quote or reproduce with author attribution.)
Second, Wirth and Rogers said, “There must be an outpouring at all levels of society that this will not be tolerated…” They mention warnings from government officials, civic associations and business and trade associations who will likely recognize the potential for economic chaos this type of coup would engender. They also mention getting help from “student groups practiced in resisting government policies…” — in other words, street protests.
How those protests can be most effective — and perhaps ultimately induce better dreams — is the subject of the upcoming Firebird Journal article When the Bottom Falls Out, Part 2: Into the streets and onto the bridges — How targeted non-violent resistance can cancel Trump’s election theft.
CC0 by Philip S. Wenz