Tag Archives: Mike Pence

It Gets Worse… and Worse

Picture by Hilary Stone Ginsberg

It is a year later, and our Republic is in even worse shape, which is why I am writing this piece to say, once again, what I have said before: Donald Trump and his minions in the Republican Party are a clear and present danger, a threat to turn our two-century experiment in self-government into an authoritarian state.

On January 7, 2021, many Republicans believed Trump, the disgraced then-president of the United States, responsible for the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Many Republicans, from political leaders to rank-and-file voters, appeared ready to cut their ties with Trump. 

Not any more! Within weeks of the January 6 coup attempt, most Republicans returned to the fold, humbling themselves before the cultic leader of their party. The example of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is typical. During the storming of the Capitol, McCarthy phoned Trump, urging the president to call off his supporters. In an expletive-laced conversation, Trump said the rioters “are more upset about the election” than McCarthy was. A week later, McCarthy said Trump must “accept his share of responsibility” for the violence on January 6. But, before the end of the month, barely three weeks after the insurrection, McCarthy trekked to Mar-a-Lago to kiss Trump’s ring, and he has not wavered in his fealty since. The vast majority of the Republican Party resumed its blind obeisance to Trump, refusing to vote to impeach and convict Trump for his complicity in the riot and declining to participate in investigations of the insurrection.

The most important criteria in proving loyalty to Trump — especially for those running for office — is to embrace the “big lie” that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. The Washington Post showcased one Republican — Bernie Moreno, a candidate in Ohio’s Republican Senate primary — who asserted in November 2020 that Joe Biden won the presidential election. Now, Moreno has done a complete about-face, running a campaign ad in which he says, “President Trump says the election was stolen, and he’s right.”

Nothing has changed, of course. Moreno was right in November 2020, and wrong now. Republicans have uncovered no evidence that changes the election results. Yet, Moreno is willing to lie to Ohio voters to further Trump’s unwillingness to admit he lost. Moreno is not alone; more than 150 Republicans running for statewide positions — as governors, senators, state attorneys general, and secretaries of state — echo Trump’s “big lie.” These candidates, if they won, would have authority over the administration of elections.  

The mob that stormed the Capitol was one element of the Trumpian assault on democracy. Another element, about which we have learned more in the year since January 6, 2021, is the concerted effort by Trump and his lackeys — in government and out — to use the mechanisms of government to overturn the free and fair election results. Pressure was put on Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from several closely contested states. Other attempts were made to force state election officials to tamper with vote totals. Trump demanded that Georgia’s secretary of state find enough votes to swing Georgia from the Biden column to Trump’s.

All of these sad events now amount to a dress rehearsal for stealing the next election. Trump is laying plans to run again in 2024, and he and his allies are installing mechanisms that will aid Trump either to win enough votes to claim the presidency outright or manipulate the results should Trump fall short in the Electoral College. As Barton Gelman detailed in The Atlantic, Trump’s next coup has already begun.

Republicans believe, evidently, that they and Trump cannot win fair and free elections. In this they are right, so the answer for them is not to figure out how to compete fairly but to change the rules. Hence, the attempts in numerous Republican-controlled states to limit who can vote and to give Republican state officials the tools to nullify votes cast. This constitutes an assault on the principle of one person, one vote, and it undermines the arc of American history, which has been to widen the franchise, not limit it, since the founding of the Republic.

In a speech marking the insurrection, delivered in the rotunda of the Capitol, President Joe Biden said, “The former president and his supporters have decided the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections. It’s wrong. It’s undemocratic.” The president is correct about the intentions of Trump and his supporters, but Biden’s analysis overlooks one important fact: America is not a true democracy. Many of the mechanisms of our constitutional framework enshrine minority rule and frustrate the will of the majority, one of the basic criteria of democratic governance.

The Electoral College allows for the loser of the popular vote to become president, which has happened twice in this century. The Senate is based on the equality of states, giving population-poor Wyoming as much power as population-rich California. The Senate further hampers majority will through the enshrining of the extra-constitutional filibuster. A minority of voters — from rural, conservative districts — have out-sized influence in the House because of gerrymandering.The current Supreme Court does not reflect the popular will because of the appointment of so many justices by presidents who failed to win the popular vote. 

For the foreseeable future, little can be done about the Electoral College and nothing to change the basis of representation in the Senate. But, Democrats have the power to answer the dearth of democracy by expanding democracy. The protection of voting rights — which requires eliminating or altering the filibuster — is the sine qua non of any attempt to make the United States more democratic. It is also the sine qua non of any hope of protecting against the coup next time, which will surely happen if we Americans do nothing to protect against Trump’s authoritarian instincts.

It is often said that democracy dies in darkness. Actually, the assault on American democracy is occurring in broad daylight. We know what Trump did in 2020; we know what he is planning for 2024. We have the ability to prevent an illegal seizure of power. Now, all we need is the will. It is up to us!

Posted January 7, 2022

 

Where Is the Bottom?

Picture by Hilary Stone Ginsberg

How low can Republicans stoop? Every time I think Republicans have hit rock bottom in subservience to former President Donald Trump, willingness to participate in the overthrow of the U.S. government and/or cover up the January 6 insurrection, or jeopardize the health and well-being of their constituents, they shatter the floor with new desperate and dangerous actions.

I should stop being surprised. After all, the modern Republican Party has become a terrorist and/or criminal enterprise. And, its behavior is going to get worse and worse until the voters give Republican candidates such a thumping at the polls that Republicans either have to change course or go the way of the Federalist and Whig Parties. Probably the latter, because there is no bottom for the Republican Party.

A recent shocker — though at this point, not much they do shocks — from Republicans: A memo written by Trump loyalist lawyer John Eastman — discussed in Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s new book Peril and obtained by CNN — shows Republicans discussing, and apparently seriously considering, how to overturn the results of the presidential election, which Joe Biden won in a free and fair vote. Eastman’s conspiratorial plot was simple in its proposed execution and deplorable in its probable results. Eastman suggested Vice President Mike Pence — presiding over the joint session of Congress meeting on January 6 to certify the election results — should declare that there are no valid electors from seven closely contested states that recount after recount, and court case after court case, show Biden won. That would give, Eastman proffered, Trump victory in the Electoral College by a tally of 232 to 222.

If the Democrats “howl” no fair since 270 electoral votes are required to win, Eastman said, “fine,” send the matter to the House of Representatives where each state has one vote. Since Republicans control a majority of state delegations, Trump would be re-elected in this scenario. There is more to the memo — such as a filibuster in the Senate by some Republicans to prevent certification of the election results if and when both chambers considered the results — but Eastman’s intended result is clear: Overturning the will of the voters who gave Biden a solid majority in both the popular vote and the Electoral College. 

That Trump was intrigued by the Eastman memo is no surprise. What is most appalling is that Pence apparently paid more attention to the proposed coup than was previously thought. Pressured relentlessly by Trump, Pence asked confidants if it were possible for him to do Trump’s bidding. In late December, according to Woodward and Costa, Pence called former Vice President Dan Quayle, a fellow Indiana Republican, for advice. Quayle was insistent, telling Pence, “Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away.”

Even more horrendous: Trump and his cohort were plotting to overthrow the Constitution based on purported evidence of voter fraud that the Trump team knew was baseless. The New York Times obtained an internal memo prepared by the Trump campaign that debunked the outlandish claims of fraud. Despite this knowledge, lawyers for Trump continued to hold news conferences asserting widespread cheating and filed lawsuits alleging a vast conspiracy to rig the election against Trump. It is not clear who in the campaign knew what concerning the memo, but clearly those in the know sat on the information.

Not satisfied with overthrowing constitutional norms, Republicans once again are playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States, apparently willing to see the government default on its loans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says “America must never default” on its debts, yet he refuses to provide any Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling.

Raising the debt limit is necessary because soon, probably late next month, the government is going to run out of money. The Treasury Department at that point will not be able to borrow because the congressionally mandated borrowing limit will have been reached. This is routine, and both parties have cooperated in a bipartisan manner in the past to raise the debt ceiling. But, this time, McConnell insists the Democrats alone must provide the votes to raise the debt limit, arguing that Democrats are recklessly spending money. That is, of course, a specious argument since the debt comes from money already allocated, not future spending. And, the debt of the United States rose about $8 trillion under Trump, an increase of 36 percent in four years.

Republicans are not only reckless with the political stability of the United States and the nation’s credit. They are also heedless of the health of Americans, especially children. How else to interpret the ruling from Florida’s newly appointed surgeon general who says it is up to parents to decide whether to quarantine children exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19? Dr. Joseph Ladapo — yes, he is a graduate of Harvard Medical School — eliminated previous rules requiring students to stay away from school for at least four days if they had been exposed to coronavirus. Under Ladapo’s rules, children may continue to attend school if they are asymptomatic.

Republicans are not satisfied merely to oppose mask and vaccine mandates. Now, they are willing to allow children exposed to COVID-19 to attend school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says infected people can spread the virus for two days before they display any symptoms. 

In pursuit of political power, Republicans are willing, apparently, to plot insurrections, jeopardize the financial stability of the United States, and risk the health of schoolchildren. So, the answer to the question in the title of this piece is clear: There is no bottom for today’s Republican Party. That is a grave misfortune for us all. 

Posted September 24, 2021

End the Filibuster. Now.

Nothing is more consequential for the future of democratic government than elimination of the filibuster — the tool that allows a minority to frustrate the will of the majority. 

If the filibuster is not ended — or, at least, curtailed — Democrats will not be able to pass the comprehensive election reform bill that is now before Congress. Failure to pass the legislation will open the way for Republicans to pass voter suppression laws. Republicans have ceased to be partners in protecting and furthering voting rights because they are a party that no longer has a governing ideology. Lacking any meaningful policy agenda with popular appeal, Republicans know the only way they can win elections in the future is by limiting the vote to constituencies most likely to support their anti-democratic goals. 

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Republican legislators around the country — capitalizing on Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him — have introduced measures to limit who can vote by mail while making it harder for eligible voters to obtain mail-in ballots. A number of states have legislation on their calendars to impose more stringent voter ID laws. Other states would slash opportunities for voters to register while aggressively purging voter rolls. Some states are preparing to limit early voting by restricting days and hours polls would be open and limiting the number of ballot drop-off boxes. In what can only be considered petty legislation, some legislators would forbid volunteers from offering food and water to voters standing in line. (Lines will increase in size in proportion to limits on early and absentee voting.) And, last but not least in importance, the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives (and state legislatures) will change because of the 2020 census, giving a number of states the opportunity to further gerrymander legislative districts.

All these measures impact minority and poor voters disproportionately. Whether Republicans favor limiting voting rights because it is the only way to cling to power or because of racist opposition to minorities voting (or, most likely, a combination of the two) is immaterial. What is important is that the voter suppression measures cited above would enshrine minority control of government at the federal and state levels. The result will be the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans and the guarantee that a minority of the population succeeds in preventing the passage of legislation favored by a large part of the public. 

This dire prediction is made worse because the Supreme Court — which already has struck down a key provision in the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Bill — is poised to further gut the measure. At issue in the case before the court in the current session is Section 2 of the 1965 law which prohibits state electoral regulations that result in the denial of a citizen’s right to vote based on race. If the high court declares Section 2 invalid, which seems likely, then states will be free to impose racial barriers on voting. (A separate measure before Congress, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, would restore the protections of the 1965 law.)

The effects of Republican legislation at the state level and the Supreme Court’s possible evisceration of the Voting Rights Law can be mitigated by Senate passage of H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2021.” (The House passed the measure last week.) Simply put, the bill will make it easier for people to vote by providing for automatic voter registration, no-excuse mail-in voting, setting standards for the days states must allow in-person early voting, and requiring states to count mail-in ballots early to lessen counting controversies after Election Day. The bill reduces the influence of money in politics by exposing dark-money campaign contributions and creating a federal matching system for congressional elections. The measure also decreases the control politicians have over redistricting (gerrymandering) by giving the power to draw district lines to independent commissions. Finally, “For the People” tightens rules against lobbying and toughens penalties for foreign interference in American elections. 

But, and this is a big but — none of this happens if the filibuster is not curtailed. 

The Senate version of “For the People” now sits in the Rules and Administration Committee, chaired by Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. The committee will hold hearings on the measure later in March, with floor action slated for later this spring. Klobuchar said many of the provisions of the omnibus bill have had bipartisan support as individual pieces of legislation. “Not all provisions are bipartisan, but a lot are,” she said. 

Republicans see the entire measure as permitting the federal government to interfere in state control of elections. That is their rational argument. More often, Republicans claim the bill is an overreach by Democrats to guarantee their hold on power. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow a vote on a version of the bill when he was majority leader. “What this bill is, is a Democrat push to elect more Democrats,” the Kentuckian said in 2019. Unbelievably, former vice president Mike Pence — whose life was threatened by a mob perpetuating Trump’s lies about a fraudulent election — has written that “For the People” will “increase opportunities for election fraud, trample the First Amendment, further erode confidence in our elections, and forever dilute the votes of legally qualified eligible voters.” (News flash, Mike: The Trumpistas will never forgive you no matter how much toadying up to the former guy you do.)

These concerns would have little import if all Democrats favored ending the filibuster. Support for basing passage of legislation on a simple majority vote is increasing, but Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona favor keeping the rule. Manchin defends the filibuster: “The minority should have input — that’s the whole purpose for the Senate. If you basically do away with the filibuster altogether for legislation, you won’t have the Senate. You’re a glorified House. And I will not do that. (Manchin said Sunday he is open to make the filibuster “a bit more painful” to use.)

Democrats who support the filibuster are short-sighted. The omnibus voting bill will not pass if the filibuster is retained. That will enshrine minority rule in Congress and state legislatures as Republicans continue to pass laws restricting voting, state legislatures maintain the gerrymander, and the Supreme Court obliterates the Voting Rights Act. Yes, doing away with the filibuster is in the self-interest of the Democratic Party. But, it is also the right thing to do. The filibuster never made much sense in a democracy. In 2021, its continuation will serve reactionary interests by frustrating majoritarian rule. We do not live in the 1790s, after all, when only White males who owned property could vote. Since then, Americans have extended the vote to more and more people: First, all men, then all men regardless of race (in theory), women (in 1920), lowering the voting age, and finally protections to guarantee all eligible citizens can vote.

Reactionary Republicans of 2021 do not subscribe to the doctrine that all people should vote. That is the difference between Republicans and Democrats, which was eloquently put by Representative John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat. “You can win on the basis of your ideas and the programs you put forward, which is what we choose to do,” said Sarbanes. “Or you can try to win by suppressing the vote, drawing unfair districts across the country and using big money to spread disinformation.”

Posted March 9, 2021

Never Again!

We are learning new and even more disturbing details about the storming of the nation’s Capitol by Trump supporters, right-wing extremists, and QAnon conspirators (overlapping groups, to be sure) last Wednesday. The revelation of additional information indicates how close the United States came to anarchy and/or the overthrow of our democracy. The information reinforces the determination that such events — the election of an unfit, amoral president, the overthrow of truth, and an insurrection— never happen again. 

Michigan Representative Peter Meijer said a fellow Republican in the House voted against supporting the results of November’s election even though the member knew the election was free and fair. Meijer said his colleague voted against certification out of concern for the safety of the member’s family. In an opinion piece in The Detroit News, Meijer wrote, “My colleague told me… voting to certify was a constitutional duty” that this member shunned out of fear. “An angry mob succeeded in threatening at least one member of Congress from performing what that member understood was a constitutional responsibility,” Meijer concluded. Meijer added that worse were the members who “doubled down, repeating lies of a stolen election” and voted not to certify after “a dead woman’s blood dried mere feet from our chamber.” 

Think about how scary Meijer’s revelation is. His information means that the machinations of President Donald Trump, the sinister ploy of Republican senators such as Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, and the drumbeat of deliberate misinformation by right-wing media, which all contributed to riling and provoking Trump’s base, at a minimum, succeeded in intimidating at least one member of Congress. It means that one member — afraid for his or her family — was cowed by vicious thugs into voting against the truth and the elected representative’s conscience.

More than 100 Republicans in the House voted against accepting the results of the election. They were joined in their traitorous votes by eight senators who supported one or more of the challenges to electors. These Republicans are guilty of an attempt to overthrow the Constitution. I do not know how many of them are so dumb as to believe the nonsense Trump and his cohorts spewed or how many made a cynical calculation that voting against the truth was good for their presidential ambitions or how many feared being “primaried” by someone nuttier than they. It makes no difference. There must be a reckoning for all of them.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution says, “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress… [who] shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against… the United States.” The amendment was one of the three Reconstruction amendments enacted to preserve the gains of the Union victory in the Civil War. It is relevant in this case. Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday that Democrats are considering invoking the amendment to expel Republican lawmakers who supported overturning the results of the November election and encouraged the insurrection. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are discussing the relevance of the Fourteenth Amendment following last week’s riot.

Evicting 120 or so Republicans from Congress is not likely. But, perhaps the willingness of Democrats to ponder the Fourteenth Amendment’s relevance indicates an eagerness among loyal Americans to impose some form of punishment on disloyal members of Congress. Perhaps, censure is in order. In any event, those Republicans who voted against truth and law forever will be remembered for their crimes.

The other disturbing piece of news from this weekend confirms what was suspected all along. According to Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Trump “was delighted” while watching the televised events unfolding Wednesday at the Capitol. Sasse told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that “senior White House officials” conveyed to the Republican senator that “Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was” by a mob storming the Capitol. 

Trump was “delighted” while millions of Americans were appalled. Trump’s delight suggests that Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, was being naive when he said Sunday, “Now, my personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again.” Blunt’s assessment echoes Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins’ justification for voting against convicting Trump during his Senate trial for attempted extortion of Ukraine on the grounds that the president learned “a pretty big lesson” and would not engage in future illegalities. Yes, Trump learned something. He learned he can get away with just about anything. 

What Trump never learns is the right lesson. Everyone knows that, or should. It is abundantly obvious. President Trump is an amoral man whose narcissism insures that he looks out only for himself. He cares nothing for his followers or his loyal sycophants. On the issue of Trump loyalty, Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe told Tulsa World that Vice President Mike Pence was “angry” because the president was attacking Pence for the vice president’s refusal to act illegally and overturn the Electoral College returns. Inhofe said, “I had a long conversation with [Pence]. He said, ‘After all the things I’ve done for [Trump].’” As for Trump’s disdain for his followers, reflect for a moment on his remarks on the Ellipse to the crowd before it headed to the Capitol and mayhem. After repeating his baseless claims of election fraud, the president egged on his supporters, urging them to “walk down to the Capitol… and I’ll be there with you.” Well, perhaps he meant in spirit, because Trump apparently watched the insurrection on television. Granted the Secret Service would not allow the president to walk in such a crowd, but, let us be honest, this president would not want to be bothered. 

A member of Congress scared by a president “delighted” to lead an insurrection against the government he heads must never happen again! The way to guarantee a return to sanity is to punish the truth deniers and the inciters. Trump and all the others who incited the storming of the Capitol must be held to account: Trump via impeachment and conviction; his abettors by the full weight of the legal system; and members of Congress by expulsion and/or censure.

We are learning just how fragile our constitutional framework is and how easy it is to circumvent truth and the law. We must punish the guilty to guarantee that such recklessness as we witnessed last week never occurs again.

Posted January 12, 2021

Remove. Impeach. Convict.

Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Cabinet must invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and remove President Donald Trump from office. Immediately. Even though Trump has less than two weeks in office, he cannot be trusted with the reins of power — not to mention the nation’s nuclear codes — given his role in organizing and inciting the thuggish mob of insurrectionists who stormed the nation’s Capitol Wednesday. 

Removal from office now does not permanently remove the danger Trump presents to the American experiment in republican government. Trump served only one term as president. He is eligible to run in 2024, something he has mused about openly. Because Trump back in the White House is unthinkable, the House of Representatives must begin impeachment proceedings against him, and the Senate must convict if the House impeaches. I do not know how long the process might take nor what kind of hearings would be needed. I should think the playing of his remarks at the rally before his supporters stormed the Capitol — “we fight like hell, and  if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” and “we’re going to walk down [to the Capitol] and I’ll be there with you” (actually, he slunk back to the White House) — coupled with his tweets in the days before — “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” — makes a prima facie case for a vote in the House in the next few days, followed by trial in the Senate. But, if the process were to take weeks, even months, it must be pursued to the end because the punishment for impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate can be a ban on ever holding federal office again. Conviction also sends a signal to any putative future dictator that Congress and the nation will not tolerate undermining the Constitution. 

Trump, of course, did not act alone. The proper authorities should begin looking into the scoundrels who also spoke at the rally on the Ellipse Wednesday. Rudy Giuliani — the buffoon posing as Trump’s lawyer — called for a “trial by combat,” and Donald Trump Jr. — the president’s son — warned lawmakers debating challenges to the Electoral College vote, “We’re coming for you, and we’re going to have a good time doing it.” The insurrectionary mob needed no further encouragement.

The reckoning of responsibility doesn’t stop with Trump, his lawyer, and his son. The guilt of lawmakers eager to slavishly aid Trump in fomenting a coup against the government he leads must be addressed. A total of eight senators and more than half of the GOP caucus in the House supported one or more of the challenges to the slates of electors. These traitors — for that is what they are — will be forever marked by their vote to violate the Constitution of the United States and ignore the will of the people who collectively chose Joe Biden as president in a free and fair election.

Special attention should be paid to the prime culprits in the coup attempt: Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas. Hawley got the ball rolling last month when he announced he would challenge Pennsylvania’s slate of electors, claiming he only wanted to assuage the concerns of millions of Americans who believed the election was fraudulent. Wednesday, he raised a clenched fist as he strode past the insurrectionists. Cruz suggested forming a commission similar to the one that looked into the contested 1876 election to investigate allegations of fraud in last November’s election. Both senators know that no credible evidence of fraud has been presented, and Cruz’s allusion to 1876 proves only that his knowledge of American history is as limited as his awareness of the Constitution. Yes, a commission was formed to adjudicate the allotment of electors between Republican candidate Rutherford Hayes and his Democratic opponent Samuel Tilden because three states sent two slates to Congress, something that did not happen in 2020. Yes, the commission awarded the disputed electors to Hayes. But, both sides accepted that result only because of an agreement — the so-called Compromise of 1877 — under which Democrats acceded to Hayes inauguration in return for the removal of Federal troops from the South and the end of Reconstruction. No one asked — nor cared — what newly freed African Americans thought of the compromise that ushered in Jim Crow and a system of peonage akin to slavery.

The blame for how the United States reached the depths of a thug brandishing the Confederate flag in the Capitol extends far beyond those politicians who voted to overthrow the results of a legal election. Praise is being heaped on Pence for not letting Trump strong-arm him into acting illegally in announcing the electoral vote and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for rightly saying on the floor of the Senate, “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.” Speaking against Trump at the end of his tenure, when his behavior became too egregious to ignore, does not constitute a profile in courage.

Pence and McConnell — and the vast majority of Republicans in Congress and those who served in the Trump administration — were Trump’s enablers. Everyone knew that Trump is a narcissist unfit to hold national office. Trump’s ignorance of politics, government, and law was on display before he ran for office. His bullying and his racism were apparent to all. Yet, no one more eagerly did Trump’s bidding for four years than Pence. Not that acting as the president’s lapdog did the vice president any good. In the end, when Pence followed the Constitution and custom because he truly had no other choice, because that is what the law demanded of him, the president turned on him as he turns on everyone who crosses him. “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” tweeted Trump. McConnell, for his part, earned Trump’s scorn when the majority leader recognized the obvious and called Biden president-elect. 

The point of noting Republican responsibility and servility to Trump is not to exact revenge against every member of the party. While Hawley and Cruz may deserve censure, at least, from their colleagues, the issue is not punishment but acknowledgement. Republicans must come to recognize their role in the rise of Trump. It is not only that the GOP abetted Trump during his four years in the White House. It is also the role the party played in making Trump possible. Years of pandering to racists and xenophobes, incessant obstructionism, and tolerance of “birtherism” and conspiracy theorists turned the Republican Party into a political organization ready to welcome a would-be authoritarian, paving the way for Trump and his attempted overthrow of constitutional government. 

In his speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, McConnell said, “We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes… with nothing in common except our hostility towards each other.” A good way to begin healing that divide would be for Republicans to recognize their role in the rise of Trump and begin the process of removing him from presidency and insuring he never holds that office again.

Posted January 8, 2021

Secession… Again?

This decision will have far-reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic. Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution. — Allen West, chair of the Texas Republican Party on the Supreme Court decision turning down the Texas lawsuit to overturn the election results in four states.

My guy Abraham Lincoln and the Union soldiers already told you no. — Representative Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican.

We have seen this movie before: A significant minority of Americans refusing to accept the results of an election. In 1861, it led to Fort Sumter and four years later the ruin of the Confederacy and the end of slavery. Americans for a century-and-a-half since believed the Civil War settled the question of the inviolability of the Union. As President Abraham Lincoln said in his First Inaugural Address in the midst of the secession winter: “No State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union…. The Union is perpetual.” 

But, some Americans apparently did not stay for the end of the movie. They still do not believe in the essence of democracy, which is that losers accept the results of the election. The peripatetic Allen West — who represented Florida in Congress but now serves as chair of the Texas Republican Party — seems to be among those Americans. Count Rush Limbaugh — the radio show host and provocateur — also among them. Limbaugh said recently, “I actually think that we’re trending toward secession.”

There are at least two significant differences between the secessionists of 1861 and the nutty folks of 2020. In 1861, the South left the Union not because it did not believe Lincoln was the legitimate president of the United States, but rather because it recognized Lincoln as the legitimate president and the secessionists believed his election represented a threat to slavery. Lincoln and his fellow Republicans (this is when the Republican Party was loyal to the Union) could protest forever that all they intended was to limit slavery in the Western territories and to leave it alone in the Southern states. Southerners, however, understood that restricting slavery was the first step to its abolition, so they left the Union.

The second difference is the sectional nature of secession in 1861. One section of the United States, the South, seceded. The eleven states of the Confederacy were contiguous, and they all sought to protect a socio-economic system — slavery — at odds with the ethos of American democracy and 19th century morality. The rest of the United States believed slavery immoral, and while most Northerners did not seek the immediate abolition of slavery, most  believed the country should embark on a path leading to the eventual end of the institution.

But, look at a map of the 2020 election. While it is true that most of the blue areas are on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the upper Midwest and the interior of the nation is red, there are anomalies. Georgia is surrounded by red states. Will North Carolina and South Carolina of the Trump States of America grant a right of transit from the rest of the United States of America to Georgia and vice versa? And, then there is the question of voting patterns. Even in deeply red Oklahoma, one-third of Sooners voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Same, only in reverse, in California, where a third of the voters sought to keep Trump and Pence in power. Will Republicans from the United States of America and Democrats in the Trump States of America have a population exchange reminiscent of the bloody Hindu and Muslim exchange during the birth of independent India and Pakistan?

Secession in 1861 led to internecine violence. The chance of secession in 2021 is next to zero, but the threat of violence is real. Election officials merely doing their jobs in reporting Democratic victories in swing states have been targets of right-wing threats. On Saturday, the odious Alex Jones of Infowars told pro-Trump rally goers in Washington, D.C., that President-elect Joe Biden “will be removed one way or another.” It does not take much imagination to understand what “another” means in this context.

This is scary stuff, and it is being tacitly encouraged by Republicans who supinely are following Trump in his fantasy that the election was stolen and that the “steal” can be stopped. Every Republican in Congress and every Republican state attorney general who supported Texas’ absurd law suit will be complicit if the worst occurs. Trump is irredeemable, but really, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, do you believe the election was fraudulent?

The real Civil War likely will be not between Democrats and Republicans but within the Republican Party. Already, there are signs that some Christian evangelicals are rethinking their blind loyalty to the Republican Party. Beth Moore, the founder of Living Proof Ministries and a popular Southern Baptist speaker, voiced on Twitter her frustration: “I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.” Another evangelical, Karen Swallow Prior, tweeted: “While I did not ever vote for Trump, I did vote for local and state @GOP candidates. (I am a lifelong conservative, after all.) I am now embarrassed and ashamed that I did so. What a bunch of money-grubbing, power-hungry, partisan cowards who care nothing about conservatism.” As conservative columnist David French notes, “The frenzy and the fury of the post-election period has laid bare the sheer idolatry and fanaticism of Christian Trumpism.” Some, proving the French’s words, are saying: Enough. 

Revulsion over Trump’s antics and Republican sycophancy has not reached significant proportions yet. But, cracks in the overwhelming support evangelicals have given Trump are appearing, and state and local Republicans have declined to do Trump’s bidding in overthrowing a legitimate election. Even some elected Republicans in Congress have shown they are willing to stand against Trump and Trumpism. 

Their courageousness may tear the Republican Party apart. That would be a shame, since the nation needs two vibrant political parties representing different points of view and serving as checks on each other. But, a civil war among Republicans is preferable to a civil war among Americans.

Posted December 15, 2020

 

What a Losing Campaign Looks Like

RealClearPolitics average of national polls shows Biden holding a nearly 10-point lead, with one recent poll giving the Democratic challenger a 16-point lead and another puts the margin at 14 in favor of Biden. Leads of that magnitude portend a landslide victory of historic portions.

The trend is clear enough for previously Trump-loyal Republicans to begin distancing themselves from a flailing president. With Democrats all-but-certain to retain control of the House and poised to reclaim a majority in the Senate, Republicans worry that a potential “blue wave” might turn into a blue tsunami. Separating from Trump may not help many Republicans as their subservience throughout his term has tarnished their image, but they have little left in their playbook to counter Trump’s dismissive response to the pandemic and his off-again, on-again approach to negotiations with congressional Democrats over a new stimulus package. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, locked in an unexpectedly close race, says Trump “got out over his skis” in playing down the coronavirus threat. “He tries to balance that with saying, ‘We, you know, we got this.’ And clearly, we don’t have this,” Cornyn said. “I think the biggest mistake people make in public life is not telling the truth, particularly in something with as much public interest as here because you now the real story is going to come out.”

Nothing in the president’s recent behavior suggests he is capable of making a major push to close the gap with Biden. His boasting about how well he is recovering from his bout with COVID-19 suggests perhaps that the steroids he has been taking are clouding his judgment. Trump’s posturing on the White House balcony the evening he returned from the hospital reminded many of the poses of Benito Mussolini, the Italian Fascist leader. He has continued to play down the seriousness of the pandemic, tweeting just before leaving Walter Reed Medical Center Monday evening, “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” Wednesday evening, the president released a bizarre video in which he claims contracting the disease was “a blessing from God” and praises a miracle cure from an untested drug he was given. In the video, Trump appears to struggle to take in enough air.

His actions in recent days do not reassure voters that he is taking the pandemic any more seriously after coming down with COVID-19 than he did before contracting the disease. By all reports, Trump is walking around the White House without a mask, including when going to the Oval Office, against the advice and wishes of top aides. Trump and his doctors have been less than forthcoming about his symptoms, treatment, and infection history. The last point is critical because Trump came into contact with numerous people in the days before he tweeted that he and his wife were infected. He debated Biden just days before going to the hospital.

Trump acts as if his defeat on November 3 is a foregone conclusion. He behaved boorishly in his debate with Biden, violating the debate rules in repeated confrontations with both his opponent and the moderator. His campaign has run through so much money that it has been pulling TV ads in key battleground states. The president killed stimulus talks, saying that there would be no aid for struggling Americans until after he is reelected. Even Trump eventually realized that taking the blame for stalled talks was not a good idea just weeks before an election, so he quickly suggested that he might be agreeable to a scaled-down version of a stimulus package. 

Trump and his sycophants know there is not much time and not much they can do to change the trajectory that has Biden increasing his polling lead in the wake of so many presidential self-inflicted wounds. Vice President Mike Pence did little in Wednesday night’s debate to convince voters that the Trump administration is about to get a handle on the myriad crises afflicting the nation. He offered the same nonsense on the pandemic, saying Trump acted forthrightly in banning travel with China, while offering no effective rebuttal to Senator Harris’ accusation that Trump has presided over a catastrophic public-health failure. Pence was somewhat politer than his boss in his face-off with Harris, though he frequently talked past his allotted time and often interrupted his opponent, a tactic sure to alienate women viewers. All in all, Pence found himself diminished by Harris and a fly that landed and stayed on his white hair for more than two minutes.

Pence had a memorable and scary moment of not answering a question at the end of the debate. The moderator, Susan Page of USA Today, asked Pence what “would be your role and responsibility as vice president” if Trump refused to cede power if he lost the election. The president has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and his vice president was no more reassuring that the administration would accept the election results. Pence merely said “I think we are going to win this election” and then repeated his talking points about tax cuts and rolling back regulations, then ending by accusing the Democrats of trying to undo the results of the 2016 election.

Trump, too, has returned to his theme that the Democrats plotted against him in 2016 and that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, “cooked up the Russia hoax.” It is a curious obsession, given that Trump won the election. But, the reappearance of the accusation of a Democratic plot four years ago is one more indication that Trump and his allies have little to offer voters this time around, and it is an admission that they know the election is all but lost. The only question remaining — which Trump and now Pence have refused to answer — is: Will they go quietly?

Posted October 9, 2020

Trump’s Fantasies

I alone can fix it. — Donald Trump, accepting the 2016 Republican nomination for president. 

I alone can fix it because I alone broke it. — Not said, but the message from Trump’s speech accepting the 2020 Republican nomination for president.

It is as if we are watching the same tape, a loop that repeats and repeats. Donald Trump is the incumbent president, running a campaign reminiscent of the one he ran four years ago. He tried to shift slogans a while back, from “Make America Great Again” to “Keep America Great,” but the latter is a tough sell in the middle of a pandemic, high unemployment, and civil unrest. So, MAGA it is again, even if the “again” is a tad awkward nearly four years into Trump’s presidency. 

The sense of déjà vu is reinforced by the decision to ditch the usual exercise in platform writing and run again on the document adopted in 2016. Nothing wrong, in theory, in repeating the promises and criticisms of the previous campaign, except it raises the nagging question of why the Trump administration has to promise to do in its second term what it promised to do in its first. Also awkward are such sentences as this: “The current Administration has abandoned America’s friends and rewarded its enemies,” a barb aimed at the Obama administration that could be easily interpreted as the GOP platform criticizing the Republican president. Oh, well, no one reads platforms, anyway. 

Platforms are the prose of a campaign; convention speeches, the poetry. Not that there was much poetry at the just-concluded Republican National Convention. Instead, there was fantasy. All America was surprised to learn the pandemic is over. We all missed that tidbit, but COVID-19 was mentioned as little as possible, and, on one occasion, in the past tense. “It [the pandemic] was awful,” opined Larry Kudlow, Trump’s senior economic adviser and noted epidemiologist. And, when the Trump administration was not saying COVID-19 is not dangerous, it was demonstrating it. At least, that is the takeaway from seeing all those applauding Trump fans sitting cheek by unmasked jowl on the White House lawn listening to the president speak. 

Fantasy was the theme of Trump’s acceptance speech: “Greatest economy in history” is hard to reconcile with high unemployment, and “I say modestly that I have done more for the African-American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln,” arguable as a perversion of Lincoln’s reputation and absurd as a supposition that Trump is ever “modest.” Fantasy appeared in Trump’s abuse of the naturalization process when he televised at the convention the naturalization ceremony of five newly minted American citizens, without, apparently, telling at least two they were being used as propaganda. Many of the speeches were fantastical as well, portraying a kinder gentler Trump who pardons suffragists and a bank robber, expresses concern for the well-being of his aides, represents a party that celebrates the removal of the Confederate flag (“a divisive symbol,” said former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley), and believes gratitude is more important than grievance (according to Vice President Mike Pence).

The kindler, gentler Trump was a naked play for the votes of college-educated, minority, and independent voters alienated by three-plus years of presidential vitriol, name calling, and lawbreaking from the White House. But, this being a Trump renomination extravaganza, there also was plenty of red meat for the base. In his acceptance speech, Trump accused Democrats of standing “with anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters, and flag burners.” He said Democrats remained “completely silent about rioters and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-run cities.” And, the convention invited Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the gun-wielding St. Louis couple, to tell the faithful, “No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.” Given the origin of their notoriety, it does not take much imagination to understand the barely coded message: Not safe from people of color.

Trump has two problems in running for reelection. First, his administration has been an abject failure, with more than 180,000 Americans dead from the pandemic, the economy in tatters, and protests against systemic racism roiling the nation’s cities. Hence, the need to pretend the virus is in the rear view mirror, extol the record-breaking stock market, and highlight Black speakers at the convention (as Ruth Marcus writes in The Washington Post, there were probably more African Americans speaking than sitting in the audience). 

Trump’s second problem is an inability to define his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. As Nate Cohn notes in The New York Times, the last two incumbents to seek reelection, George W. Bush in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2012, used their conventions to paint their opponents with a negative brush. Bush depicted John Kerry as a flip-flopper who tried to have it both ways on the Iraq War, and Obama portrayed Mitt Romney as a rapacious plutocrat who symbolized the policies eroding middle-class industrial jobs in the Midwest. Trump and his lackeys have tried to describe Biden negatively, calling him “Beijing Biden” or “Sleepy Joe,” the latter a particularly tough sell given Trump’s ample, lumbering physique contrasted to trim, lively stepping Biden and the president’s frequent slurring of words that makes his challenger appear positively eloquent. 

Then, there is the “Trojan horse” charge, the accusation that Biden is either a closet socialist or a front-man easily manipulated by radicals such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders or New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Biden as stealth candidate has not gained much traction either, largely because, as I have written, the public sees the former vice president as “reasonable.” 

Fantasy is what is left. Trump must pretend the problems are not that bad, and regardless, he alone can fix them. The public is asked to ignore the nasty fact that those problems occurred on his watch. That may be a fact, but how important are facts to an administration that has touted “alternative facts” from the very beginning?

Posted September 1, 2020

 

American Democracy is Fundamental

Last week, Joe Biden said democracy is on the ballot. And the truth is, our economic recovery is on the ballot. Law and order are on the ballot. But so are things far more fundamental and foundational to our country. — Vice President Mike Pence, accepting the Republican nomination for vice president in a speech at the Republican National Committee, August 26, 2020.

Is the vice president of the United States suggesting that there “are things far more fundamental and foundational to our country” than democracy? Perhaps, he merely is guilty of fuzzy thinking, but I cannot interpret his words to mean any thing other than democracy is not “fundamental and foundational.” 

Pence’s words would have little import if he were not part of an administration that has demonstrated its willingness to undermine democratic practices and tradition and pursue with zeal authoritarian control of the levers of power. Even the venues top Trump administration officials chose for their speeches bespeak an authoritarian impulse. Pence spoke from Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, revered as the place where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812. Pence commandeered a site with emotional meaning for Americans to deliver a highly partisan speech in pursuit of a second term in office.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump delivered their convention speeches from the White House, ignoring that the First Family is only temporarily occupying a residence that belongs to every citizen of this country. Trump appears to believe the White House, the presidency, and entire government of the United States are his personal possessions. He sees nothing wrong with using the White House as a prop to maintain power. Nor does he see anything wrong with leveraging the powers of his office. He conducted a made-for-TV naturalization ceremony at the White House, apparently without telling the new citizens that they were part of a featured segment shown during the Republican National Convention. 

Bolshevik leaders standing atop Lenin’s tomb to celebrate important Soviet holidays or Hitler at Nuremberg greeting cheering throngs of Nazis reveling in his dictatorship knew the importance of national symbols in the pursuit of absolute power. And, so does Trump, who is willing to use as props for partisan ends emblems important to all Americans. It is the stuff of authoritarians, at least as old as Roman triumphs marking the successes of victorious generals.

Also the stuff of authoritarians is the elevation of family. It is no accident that so many Trumps and their spouses or significant others were featured speakers at the Republican National Convention. In the fine tradition of North Korea’s Kim family, Trump seems willing to make the United States a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump family business. Melania Trump’s military-style dress, in olive green with broad shoulders and brass buttons, only reinforced the image of a family reveling in the leader’s cult-of-personality and authoritarian bent. And, in a cult where the leader is exalted above all, there is no need to dwell on issues, which may be the reason behind Republicans neglecting to pass a platform. Who needs to spell out a plan when the leader knows all?

Besides, dwelling on a platform might lead people to think about the state of the nation now, as Trump’s first term in office winds down. It is not a pretty picture, with more than 180,000 Americans dead and millions suffering from job loss, hunger, and the fear of homelessness due to the economic collapse caused by the Trump administration’s failure to deal effectively with the pandemic. Add to that sorry record a nation coming to grips — perhaps — with centuries of systemic racism and wrestling with smoldering unrest in many urban centers. No wonder the Trumpistas do not want to talk about issues.

So they resurrect MAGA, a curious slogan for a president of three-and-a-half years who promised when he first ran for office to “Make America Great Again.” It is a nifty trick to attempt to run as an outsider when you have been on the inside for almost four years. But, it is the only strategy available to a failing and incompetent president.

History is full of examples of suffering peoples willing to trade their liberties for the security of authoritarianism. To cite just two: After a century of unrest and intermittent civil war, Romans in the first century BCE accepted the end of the republic for one-man rule under Augustus. In the last century, Germans traded the chaos of the late Weimar Republic for the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. 

Those were Faustian bargains, to be sure, but each contained a quid pro quo. Romans did get civil peace and an extended empire for several centuries. Germans did get an end to street fighting and the promise of greatness, only to see it end in ashes 12 years later. But, what is the bargain between Trump and his loyal base?

The sad truth is that Trump’s followers are arguably no better off today than four years ago and nothing that Trump promises is likely to improve their lot. The Trump administration is singularly incompetent, unwilling to mount a campaign against the virus, failing to combat the economic downturn, and unable to deliver on core promises such as building the wall. Except, that is, for one part of MAGA: Keeping America White.

At the core of Trump’s appeal, from the time he rode down the elevator at Trump Tower, has been the racist fear that America is changing from a nation dominated by Whites to one in which Whites are no longer a majority. For many, 2045 is doomsday, the year in which the census projects that people of color will be a majority of the population. Twenty-five years is not a long time, hence the urgency to build a border wall and curb immigration felt by those who dread the coming demographic changes. 

Urgency there may be, but the Trumpistas will have as much success curbing demographic trends as King Canute had in turning back the tides. And, Trump and his sycophants and loyal followers will find that American democracy — which is indeed on the ballot this November — is alive and well and will thrive in diversity, that is, if we choose to keep this democracy.

Posted August 28, 2020

Trump the Loser

Our country’s problems multiply and worsen: Upwards of 50,000 cases of COVID-19 a day; unemployment, while rebounding the last two months, likely will spike again as the cases of infection spread; continuing systemic racism; and, now, Russian bounties paid to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. And, President Donald Trump does nothing.

No wonder Trump’s poll numbers keep heading south! Who would vote for an incumbent who has made America worse? Instead of a coherent response to the continuing crises, the president rages against enemies, real and imagined, and doubles down on racism, lies, and insults. The man who grew up in New York embraces the mythology of the Lost Cause and calls for keeping Confederate monuments and symbols. He labels stories that paint him in a bad light as hoaxes despite corroborating evidence of their veracity. 

Trump’s behavior is confounding. Normally, first-term presidents running for reelection seek to broaden their support, not narrow it. Yet, Trump tweets videos of his supporters yelling “white power” and a gun-toting couple menacing peaceful protestors. It is, of course, red meat for the base, but the evidence suggests that the base is constricting as the nation engages in a healthy debate on its racist past and present. With voters moving to the left and accepting the tenets of the Black Lives Matter movement, Trump continues to appeal to a warped image of a bygone America.

A recent poll taken by the Pew Research Center shows 87 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with “the way things are going” in the country. Most ominous for Trump and his campaign advisers: Only 19 percent of Republicans are satisfied. Pew says that over half of Republicans registered satisfaction with the country’s direction in every other poll undertaken during the Trump presidency, with 55 percent of GOP voters reporting they were satisfied in a poll conducted as recently as April. 

Horse-race polls in recent weeks show likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden building a double-digit lead against Trump. Voters appear to approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, and many report a willingness to give the president the benefit of the doubt on his handling of the pandemic (though results showing a tendency not to blame Trump were taken before the recent spike in cases of COVID-19). Rather, what is driving voters to abandon Trump is race, with Americans disapproving of his response to the protests against police violence and blaming him for deteriorating race relations. The shift in public opinion comes not among people of color, who, for the most part, never supported Trump. It comes among white voters who are abandoning Trump in droves as support builds for the Black Lives Matter protests. 

Given the data, which is obviously available to Trump and his campaign, it is perplexing why Trump makes support of Confederate monuments and “white power” slogans the central part of his campaign. Perhaps the answer lies in the pathetic response he gave in an interview on Fox News to a softball question he received from the always sycophantic Sean Hannity. Asked what his priorities for a second term, Trump replied, “Well one of the things that will be really great: You know, the word ‘experience’ is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience, I’ve always said that. But the word “experience” is a very important word. It’s a very important meaning. I never did this before, I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times, all of a sudden I’m president of the United States, you know the story, I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our first lady and I say, ‘This is great.’”  

Trump returns to racist tropes time and again for two reasons: He is a racist (see the “birther” question and Central Park Five), and he has no agenda to offer, as his answer to Hannity indicates. He has no vision for America, other than the slogan, “Make America Great Again.” It means, of course, “Make America White Again,” and its cachet becomes less and less relevant as America becomes worse and worse under his stewardship.

Does Trump even want to win reelection? He is certainly acting as if he were uninterested in remaining in the White House. Not only is he not responding to the nation’s multiplying problems, his administration is undertaking actions that are electorally counterproductive. One example is the recent decision to join a lawsuit before the Supreme Court to nullify the Affordable Care Act. Think about that: The Trump administration wants to end health care coverage for 23 million people in the middle of a pandemic. 

Perhaps the right question is not whether Trump wants to win reelection, but whether his psyche could withstand a grueling campaign of which the outcome appears he will lose? There is no word more devastating in the Trump lexicon than “loser.” It is a word Trump employs whenever he wants to hurl what he thinks is a devastating insult. He uses it frequently, and now it looks like he will be a loser. He pretends the poll numbers bode good news, but even Trump must know the plethora of crises he cannot handle is likely to bring about defeat. As one former Trump official put it, “He is trying to control the narrative, and he can’t.”

What does a man who hates to lose do when defeat is likely? One option is to rage and become an even worse version of yourself. Trump has been doing that with his racist tweets and his idolatry of the Confederacy. Another option: Say “the hell with this, I don’t need it” and walk away. I am not suggesting that Trump will just quit the race. But, I would not be surprised if some time in September the White House announces Trump has a serious medical problem that precludes him serving as president. Under that scenario, Trump would resign, let Vice President Mike Pence take over and campaign for election.

I hope that does not happen, for I want Trump to suffer a devastating landslide defeat. I think it is important the country go on record rejecting everything about this loathsome man. But, as I say, I would not surprised.

Either way, Trump is a loser!

Posted July 3, 2020