As our democracy hangs by a rapidly fraying thread, it is critical that each of us do everything we can to ensure that Donald Trump is voted out of office, and once voted out of office, that he actually LEAVES office.
“The Day After Election Day,” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/30/opinion/trump-election-officials.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage an article in The New York Times, is an account of officials and aides who are worried the president will use the power of the government to keep himself in office. Following are highlights (lowlights is probably a more accurate term) from the article for those who can’t access it:
“Even though they can’t predict exactly what will happen, their concerns range from the president welcoming, then leveraging, foreign interference in the election, to encouraging havoc that grows into conflagrations that would merit his calling upon U.S. forces.
“I think the biggest shock he had — ’cause his assumption was the generals, ‘my generals,’ as he used to say and it used to make us cringe — was he …just assumed that generals would be completely loyal to the kaiser….And when we weren’t, that was a huge shock to him….
“This shock, and his first two-plus years of struggle with seasoned, expert advisers, led to an insight for Mr. Trump. It all came back to loyalty. He needed to get rid of any advisers or senior officials who vowed loyalty to the Constitution over personal loyalty to him. Which is pretty much what he proceeded to do.
“….Having loyalists at both the Department of Justice and D.N.I….allows him, potentially, to coordinate two key agencies of the government — secret intelligence and prosecution — toward his own political ends.
“Key officials in several parts of the government told me how they thought the progression from the 3rd to the 4th might go down.
“…Disruption would most likely begin on Election Day morning somewhere on the East Coast, where polls open first….A group could just directly attack a polling place, injuring poll workers of both parties, and creating a powerful visual — an American polling place in flames, like the ballot box in Massachusetts that was burned earlier this week — that would immediately circle the globe.
“Violence and conflict throughout that day at the polls would surely affect turnout, allowing Mr. Trump to claim that the in-person vote had been corrupted….There are many scenarios that might unfold from here, nearly all of them entailing weeks or even months of conflict, and giving an advantage to the person who already runs the U.S. government. There will likely be some reckoning of the in-person vote drawn from vote tallies and exit polls. If Joe Biden is way ahead in these projections…Mr. Trump may find himself having to claim fraud or suppression that amounts to too large a share of votes to seem reasonable. Inside the Biden campaign they are calling this “too big to rig.
“No matter how the votes split, there’s an expectation among officials that Mr. Trump will claim some kind of victory on Nov. 4, even if it’s a victory he claims was hijacked by fraud….If the streets then fill with outraged people, he can easily summon, or prompt, or encourage troublemakers among his loyalists to turn a peaceful crowd into a sea of mayhem.
“…But across the government, another official argues that citizens may yet manage to rise to the challenge of this difficult election, in a time of division.
“The last line of defense in elections is the American voter,” he told me. “This is the most vulnerable phase,” now and the days immediately after Election Day, “where we’re so eager to have an outcome, that actors both foreign and domestic are going to exploit that interest, that thirst, that need for resolution to the drama.”
And there you have it. The days and weeks after the election are likely to be a referendum – not on Donald Trump, but on each and every one of us. When everything is on the line, it’s time to do everything you can. Stay tuned.
For now, it seems that election day itself was remarkably peaceful. Fingers crossed.