Tag Archives: Sidney Powell

Donald Trump, Please Keep Talking

If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do. — Statement by Donald Trump, the former president, October 13, 2021.

 

Picture by Hilary Stone Ginsberg

I think I speak for all progressives and a good smattering of moderates when I say: Go, Donnie, go! Whip up your supporters into a frenzy of not voting. The more they heed you, the better. 

After all, the non-voting strategy worked well in the two Georgia Senate runoff races in January 2021. In early December, two Trump allies, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, urged Republicans not to vote for either Kelly Loeffler or Davide Perdue, the incumbent senators locked in a tight race against Democratic challengers. “Don’t be fooled twice,” Wood said. “This is Georgia, we ain’t dumb. We’re not going to go vote on January 5th on another machine made by China. You’re not going to fool Georgians again.” 

Yes, sir, that strategy worked well! Georgia Republicans apparently are not dumb(?) and, heeding Wood’s advice, were not fooled twice. According to an analysis of the election results by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, more than 750,000 Georgians who cast ballots in the November presidential election stayed home during the runoffs two months later. More than half of the no-shows were White and many lived in rural areas, demographic and geographic constituencies that lean heavily Republican. As one Georgian said, “What good would it have done to vote? They have votes that got changed.” 

The non-voting strategy worked so well that Democrats now control the Senate, albeit barely.

With Democrats divided among themselves over advancing President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda and given the traditional bounce the party out of power gets in mid-term elections, Democrats may need oodles of Republicans to stay home in 2022 if they are to retain control of both the House and the Senate. The current Democratic razor-thin majorities in Congress would benefit greatly from great numbers of Republican no-shows around the country. 

Trump phrased his communication as a declarative statement, announcing that Republicans will not vote because of alleged fraud. But, like much of what Trump says to his followers, the above statement is likely to be interpreted by many in the Trump cult as a command not to vote, which probably was Trump’s intention. 

To the members of the Trump cult, it matters little that neither Trump nor his lawyers or sycophants have presented a shred of evidence of electoral fraud. If the Grand Poobah of Mar-a-Lago says he lost because of fraud, then it must be so for his ever loyal and unquestioning followers. And, presumably, millions of Republicans will heed his orders and not vote. 

So, here is one progressive’s dream-like scenario. With millions of Trump followers not voting in 2022, the Democrats win overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. Democrats win over 300 seats in the House and dominate the Senate by a margin of 67-33. The House easily passes a raft of progressive legislation, and the paltry number of Republicans in the Senate are unable to filibuster the Biden agenda. Not only are Senate Republicans and naked-Emperor Mitch McConnell (see previous blog post) rendered impotent, but moderate Democrats — like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema — are overwhelmed and can no longer derail progressive legislation.

In early 2023, Democrats enact measures (or expand on the incomplete legislation of 2021) guaranteeing free community college for all, child care for toddlers, child tax credits, expanded Medicare and Medicaid (perhaps even Medicare-for-All), the Green New Deal, paid parental leave, and much more. Immigration is reformed, giving millions of the undocumented a pathway to citizenship. And, voting rights are protected by a bill that enshrines early voting and mail-in balloting, makes Election Day a federal holiday, and rolls back all the Republican-passed state laws that suppress and nullify the vote and disempower state officials in their roles in the electoral process.

Trump and his followers wake up and realize that not voting is not a very good idea. But, since they conceded the 2022 election to Democrats, the 2024 presidential election will be free and fair. Even as Republicans flock to the polls again, their votes cannot change the outcome. Tens of millions of Americans are pleased with the Democratic legislation that has brought the United States into the modern world, guaranteeing a social safety net comparable to that of other industrialized democracies. And, all those pleased Americans can now vote freely and fairly, without the threat of Republicans suppressing and nullifying the votes of those who tend to vote Democratic. So, Joe Biden sweeps to a landslide re-election and the Democrats retain their large majorities in both the House and Senate. 

Go ahead, Donnie, please keep issuing statements. You may be the Democrats’ best friend yet!

Posted October 15, 2021

Why 17 Republican Senators Should Vote to Convict

Conventional wisdom holds that former president Donald Trump — though evidently guilty — will be acquitted in a constitutionally appropriate Senate trial that begins Tuesday.

I am not so sure.

It is true all but five Republican senators out of 50 supported Trump in a test vote on the constitutionality of holding a trial of a public official no longer in office. But, in another vote, on the structure of the trial, only 17 Republicans voted against organizing the Senate for the trial. Probably neither vote is a reliable guide to the final tally.

To be sure, the Republican Party — including Republican members of Congress — steadfastly has ignored Trump’s many indiscretions, misdeeds, and illegal actions during his presidency. Republicans looked the other way as evidence of his collusion with Russia during the 2016 election mounted. They closed their eyes to his attempt to extort Ukraine for his own political gain. They remained silent during his many racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic tweets and public comments. 

Democrats will not succeed in finding the requisite 17 Republican votes — assuming all 50 Democrats vote to convict — by invoking the GOP’s “better angels.” No appeal to the rule of law and constitutional safeguards will sway enough Republicans. The likelihood of 17 Republicans acting on a political issue through the prism of morality is very slim. That train — the one linking Republicans with moral behavior — left the station a long time ago. It was only a one-car train.

No, any possibility that 17 Republicans will agree that Trump is guilty rests not on what is right but on what is politic. And, on that basis, I can envision enough Republican senators voting to convict because of some important trends buffeting the Republican Party in recent weeks.

The trial reveals the civil war within the Republican Party between the Trump wing and the more moderate, business-oriented faction. The latter group — led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — tolerated Trump and his so-called populist appeals because both wings approved of the tax cuts enacted early in the Trump administration and the appointment of right-wing judges to the federal judiciary. Any revulsion among more moderate Republicans over Trump’s actions paled before the success he had in bringing new voters to the Republican Party and raising money for the party’s coffers. But, since Trump left the White House, many Republicans are finding reason to question his ability to bring his loyal followers to the polls and his knack for raising money.

Trump’s political success rested on his ability to spread disinformation among his supporters. In recent weeks, his command of social media and the air waves has been compromised, limiting his reach among Trumpistas. Two social media giants, Twitter and Facebook, have banned Trump, denying the former president his most effective tools for communicating directly with his followers. Other platforms have followed suit. 

Lawsuits and legal threats from small technology companies are curtailing the flow of misinformation in right-wing media. FOX Business canceled its top-rated show, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” last week after Dobbs, one of the most vociferous conduits of lies about electoral fraud, was named in a $2.7 billion lawsuit brought by Smartmatic. Another pro-Trump channel, Newsmax, cut off a guest who ranted about electoral fraud. Dominion Voting Systems, another company accused by Trump and his acolytes of rigging votes, has sued two of Trump’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, effectively silencing them.

Money certainly talks, and with Trump deprived of access to social media and right-wing television outlets limiting their recitation of rigged voting, Trump and his sycophants are finding it increasingly difficult to shape the narrative in ways favorable to Trump. And, in the realm of political fundraising, major Republican donors now are unwilling to donate to anyone who voted to challenge the counting of electoral votes on January 6, 2021. Nothing concentrates the mind of a politician more than an inability to rake in big money!

Thousands of Republicans have ditched the party since the January 6 insurrection. Trump’s approval rating has plummeted amid his wild accusations following the election, and in a new poll, 56 percent of Americans say Trump should be convicted and barred from holding office again. Republican politicians can read these tea leaves, and they also know that, with Trump in the White House, the party lost the House, the Senate, and the presidency after capturing all three in 2016. If Republicans could not win with Trump as president, how can they expect electoral success now, given all these adverse trends? It will only get worse for the GOP if the party allows Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia to be its public face. Her support of wackadoodle QAnon conspiracy theories and mouthing of anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric will drive more money and more votes from the Republican Party.  

Some Republican senators are ignoring the obvious and blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the January 6 insurrection or claiming the rioters were really “Antifa” supporters masquerading as Trumpistas. But, Mitch McConnell and his more centrist allies know better. They also know that the only way to staunch the bleeding — the thousands deserting the party and the drying up of political funds — is to cauterize the wound. It only takes 17 Republicans to do the right thing (more, if not all Democrats vote to convict).

Who cares if they base their decision on political grounds?

Posted February 9, 2021

Trump Does Not Care About America

The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead. — Donald Trump, speech in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016, accepting the Republican nomination for president.

You know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. — Representative Adam Schiff, California Democrat, January 23, 2020, the House impeachment manager, laying out the case in the Senate for the conviction of Donald Trump.

Everyone agrees that the most basic function of government is to keep its citizens safe. Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals may not see eye-to-eye on much in modern American politics, but there is universal acceptance of the principle articulated by presidential candidate Donald Trump: Government’s primary function is to protect its citizens.

Unfortunately, Trump as president has failed to accept the dictum of candidate Trump and is proving Representative Adam Schiff right. Time and again, Trump has put his interests first and shown his disdain for the safety of his constituents, the American people. He dawdled when coronavirus first appeared. Then, he downplayed its severity, promising it would go away when the weather warmed up or magically disappear. He refused to consistently use his bully pulpit to model appropriate behavior — mask wearing, social distancing, no large gatherings — that experts say would limit the contagion. His government’s one success — facilitating the rapid development of vaccines — has been undermined by a failure to devise a comprehensive plan for getting the vaccines into the arms of Americans. Apparently, Trump would rather leave this problem (among many others) for the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden. 

Never much interested in doing the hard work to stem the pandemic — or doing much hard work, period, or any work, for that matter — the president appears to have given up fighting the virus. “I think he’s just done with COVID,” The Washington Post quotes one of Trump’s advisers. Unfortunately, COVID is not done with us, as the current surge in the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths indicates. Trump is so divorced from the every day workings of government that his administration has not even prepared Public Service Announcements touting the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. As a result, the nation faces the risk that a large percentage of people will not get the requisite shots, thereby jeopardizing the efficacy of the vaccines.

The pandemic is not the only danger facing the country in the waning days of the Trump administration. A massive hack has affected many critical departments of the federal government and thousands of businesses. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — part of the Department of Homeland Security — labels the attack a “grave threat.” Full knowledge of the scale of the invasion is not yet available, but clearly it is serious, and all the experts agree Russia is the perpetrator. Even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “Russians engaged in this activity.” But, Trump, demonstrating his subservience to Russian President Vladimir Putin, tweeted, “The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens….” Instead, Trump blamed China, though there is no evidence to support his contention. 

Trump has never shown any inclination to protect America from Russian aggression. He refused to acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 election for fear it would diminish and delegitimize the significance of his victory. In Helsinki in 2018, Trump said he believed Putin’s denials of that interference while rejecting the intelligence gathered by American security agencies. Trump remained silent when credible reports surfaced that the Russian military was offering bounties for the killing of American soldiers in Afghanistan. And, now, he downplays the significance of the Russian hack. 

Trump apparently does not have time to combat the pandemic or defend the nation from Russian cyber aggression. Nor, evidently, has he had the time to push Congress to pass a stimulus bill to jumpstart an economy ravaged by the coronavirus, leaving it entirely to Congress to pass, finally, a measure at the end of his administration. Instead, Trump is far too busy doing really important business: Attempting to overthrow American democracy in a vain endeavor to cling to power. Trump could genuinely celebrate the first good news the nation has had in almost a year: The development of the vaccines. Trump could leave office on a high note, touting his role in the speedy development of vaccines and insuring their rapid distribution. Most presidents would do that, but not Trump. He would rather stew in the White House, nurse his grievances, tweet insults at Republicans who are not helping him overturn the election results, and plot his next steps.

It gets worse. Not only is Trump not protecting the nation, he now is engaged actively in attempting to subvert the Constitution and undermine American democracy. The New York Times reports Trump is considering appointing the crackpot conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell as special counsel, which he does not have the authority to do, to investigate voter fraud that exists only in his mind (and hers, and a few other minds). Then, as if that were not scary enough, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a convicted felon pardoned by Trump, has floated the notion that President Trump should impose martial law and deploy the military to “rerun” the election in several closely contested states that voted against Trump. (The president denied any intent to impose martial law.) Apparently, Flynn wants to turn figurative battleground states into literal battleground states.

Flynn’s martial law will not happen. The top civilian and military heads of the Army issued a statement late last week saying there “is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election.” Their disavowal of a military role in politics is in keeping with the long-standing tradition of the U.S. armed forces, but it is truly alarming that they felt the need to even state the obvious. As Jonathan Swan of Axios tweeted, “I’ve been covering Donald Trump for a while. I can’t recall hearing more intense concern from senior officials who are actually Trump people. The Sidney Powell/Michael Flynn ideas are finding an enthusiastic audience at the top.”

As Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney said Sunday, “The president could right now be writing the last chapter of this administration with a victory lap with regards to the vaccine.” Instead, Romney said, “He’s leaving Washington with a whole series of conspiracy theories and things that are so nutty and loopy that people are shaking their head [sic] wondering what in the world has gotten into this man.”

Romney is mostly right, but too kind. Trump has always demonstrated a penchant for conspiracies and has never shown a commitment to the preservation of American democracy. In the twilight of his presidency, facing a return to private life, Trump is yielding to his basest instincts and plotting the overthrow of our constitutional system of government. Not only is he failing at the basic function of government, protecting the American people, now Trump is engaged in actively threatening out traditions and practices.

As Adam Schiff said, “You can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump.”  For that reason, we cannot be rid of him soon enough.

Posted December 22, 2020