Oh, What a Lovely Election

Author: Gary Hart

To anticipate is to reduce the scope of uncertainty.  Great leaders are almost always those who can see farther ahead, over the horizon, more than others.

With that in mind, let’s not let the sixty days between Labor Day and the election surprise us.  We avoid surprise by considering what might happen; based on today’s realities, what are the possible outcomes.

Here is what we know: the president has a “base” of 35% to 40% of the country.  Most will turn out and vote for him.  Most of that “base” is in red States.  So called blue States will not vote for him.  The total vote, with heavy margins in large blue States such as New York and California, could well constitute a national majority.

Most analysts once again foresee the contest being reduced to no more than six key States: Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and  Arizona.  Since it is difficult for many analysts to see a needed majority of voters for Trump constituting 10% to 15%, there is every likelihood of 2020 being a rerun of 2016 with the electoral vote deciding the outcome.

In the interest of anticipation, what options does Trump have, as the election approaches, and the polls show him behind either by a little or a lot?

If he has demonstrated even the semblance of a strategy, it can be summarized as distraction, disruption, and diversion.  He is clearly desperate to recreate his mass rallies.  If the virus prevents him from participating personally, he will address those willing to risk their lives by live remote.

He will increase the childish rants and name calling against “sleepy Joe”.  His advertising will claim credit for an economic recovery yet to be seen and demonize China as the source of all U.S. problems.  He will use the stock market as evidence of the “recovery” even if unemployment is still at 15% plus.

We can anticipate this scenario regardless.  But what about actions rarely if ever witnessed before in American history?  He has already claimed a national security emergency to divert billions in the military budget to a border wall.  Sober people do not consider it unthinkable that a national emergency could be manufactured in a military clash with Iran or even China.

There can be claims that top secret intelligence warns of nuclear missiles being spun up in North Korea or even Russia.  There is every chance that the virus will return in force in the fall.  Crises can be imagined in a wide variety of scenarios.

As argued previously, there is always the chance of election interference at the State and local level, especially where the president’s party is in control.  Many precincts, especially in minority neighborhoods, will run out of ballots mid-day.  Outcomes will be challenged in late reporting big cities.  Law suits challenging results unfavorable to the president will be filed on election night in courts up to and including the Supreme Court.

Most recently his “senior advisor” son-in-law floated the idea of postponing the election, for example, if the virus returns…which all serious experts have said it will.

The president has made startling claims to extraordinary powers as yet undefined.  Thoughtful people are seeking to discover what those might be.

The most hateful word in his vocabulary is “loser”.  Does he intend to spend his remaining years at Mar a Lago as a loser?

We must assume he will do everything in his power—and then some—to avoid that outcome.  We now have abundant evidence that this president puts his own interests well above those of the nation.

And he does not consider himself bound by any laws, conventions, or even the Constitution.  Do not look to the Attorney General of the United States to protect and defend the interests of the American people.

 

18 Responses to “Oh, What a Lovely Election”

  1. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    I for one think that the following is a very real possibility with a high degree of probability:
    1) He already has in place a declared national emergency.
    2) His Atty. Gen. is seeking to subvert the Habeas Corpus provision of Constitutional Law without him having to actually suspend it, which has happened in the past under President Lincoln, for instance.
    3) To facilitate 2) he will declare a State of National Emergency requiring a Declaration of Military Law.
    4) That being done, he will suspend most, if not all, rights under the constitution, except for the part about religious liberties. He will, however, suppress free speech, freedom of the press, and the right of citizens to freely and openly assemble to express their grievances against the government.
    5) He will suspend the Congress until new elections can be held. Date to be determined by him, when the State of Emergency and Martial Law will be lifted by him.
    6) He will suspend all election until the State of National Emergency has been lifted.
    7) He will suspend all federal courts, including the Supreme Court, and set up a system of military tribunals to take their place
    8) He will declare himself president until new elections can be held, (When will that be? It’s up to him to decide.)

    This is what I can see as a possibility, again with a high degree of probability. In Presenting your vision of our future, you have never stated a manner in which he can be stopped and removed in a worst-case scenario, the very beginnings, of which I contend, have already been in existence for some time now. I do not see any of the persons in place within the present government, who seem to be inclined to do anything to stop him. He has become a “clear and present danger” to the Constitution, this nation, and the citizens thereof. He must be removed from office immediately, even if it requires “extraordinary action”.

    WHO WILL REMOVE HIM? That is the only question that should be addressed at this juncture. I say again, “Who will remove him?”

  2. Gary Hart Says:

    Stephen: He can most obviously be stopped in the next election. He can be impeached, which he was, though not convicted by a Republican Senate. He can be sued in the federal court system, including SCOTUS. He is being strongly opposed daily by the Speaker of the House and Minority Leader of the Senate and many other visible Democrats. You may be in dangerous territory suggesting “extraordinary action”. Though you may choose to dispute this, we are still a democracy governed by the rule of law. GH

  3. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    >>>>>He will increase the childish rants and name calling against “sleepy Joe”. His advertising will claim credit for an economic recovery yet to be seen and demonize China as the source of all U.S. problems. He will use the stock market as evidence of the “recovery” even if unemployment is still at 15% plus.

    That is certainly true. At his last presser – the one where the US has prevailed in testing – he warned that the Great Recovery will be spoiled if tax-increasing Democrats are elected.

    Thankfully, the old, tried and true Republican economic fantasy has been successfully targeted and destroyed by Democrats and other thinking people. Right? Oh, wait …

  4. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Stephen,

    Assuming that there will be an election in November and that mail-in ballots will be widely available, I came across an argument while perusing a comments section at the NYTimes that lifted my spirits – almost anything can, these days – in terms of the odds in favour of Trump’s political demise.

    First, the argument started with the fact that Trump’s popularity/job approval/support has been consistently at 45% +/- 3% and that on a good day, he loses by 4%; on a better day he loses by 16%. I’m not sure I fully understand this point.

    Secondly, the argument continued with the infinitely important point that Hillary Clinton is no Joe Biden, to put it politely. And, that of the 20% of voters in 2016 who disliked both Trump and Hillary, most broke for Trump. This year, that 20% break even more decidedly for Biden.

    That makes perfect sense to me. What say you?

  5. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    Senator Hart,

    I realize that “he can be stopped in the next election, . . . impeached, . . . sued, . . . ” and “is being strongly opposed by the Speaker of the House and Minority Leader of the Senate.” My point is that not one of these methods will Has produced any detriment to his unchecked destruction of this nation. No one is doing anything to prevent the 8 points that I raised above, and no one will, because they “can’t” and he knows that.

    I realize that I am in “dangerous territory suggesting ‘extraordinary action'”, but so were many of the founders of this nation. I don’t see any true leadership in any attempt to carrel this destructive abomination, and don’t see any brightness in our future by just sitting by sitting back and hoping that it will all work out in the end. That smacks of the exact same thing he is doing with the pandemic. Do you think that every thing will just work out in the end with this pandemic by just sitting back and waiting?

  6. Gary Hart Says:

    We would all benefit, Stephen, by a little more specificity about the kind of action you are advocating. None of the Constitutional and legal avenues seem to fit your requirements. Don’t assume all leadership is dramatic and on one kind of platform or another. Except for the Declaration of Independence, the Founders seldom if ever advocated violence, of which there is now too much already and more to come. Some of us are preparing for “extraordinary action” around election time and preparing Constitutional responses to it. Speaking for myself only, I have never “sat back and hoped that it will all work out” and I don’t intend to start now at this advanced stage in life. GH

  7. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    Senator Hart,

    I have always been a staunch believer in the Constitution and took an oath “to support and defend it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic” when I enlisted in the US Navy in 1967. I still stand by that oath and having worked in law enforcement and the legal field most of my adult life, I believe in the rule of law. That being said, how does one confront the highest elected official in the nation, which in all instances I should be supporting and defending, when he has a blatant disregard and disrespect for both the Constitution and the rule of law. Am I, therefore, bound to follow the Constitution and the rule of law in attempting to remove this person from office. The possible actions that I presented in my original comment have no basis in the Constitution or the rule of law, yet they are acts and actions, some of which he is known to have espoused of recent, and are the stepping stones to an authoritarian despotic regime. These steps have been done in the past and were against the constitution and the rule of law of the nations in which and at the time they occurred. If he has total disregard for the Constitution and the rule of law, as is apparent in most of his actions of late, what is to stop him from going even farther. I again ask you, if this does happen, which I say is entirely possible, WHO IS GOING TO STOP HIM, and now I add, HOW ARE THEY GOING TO CONSTITUTIONALLY DO IT?

  8. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Well, Stephen … Of course, Senator Biden is going to stop him, constitutionally by way of a lovely election in November.

    Yeah, I have entered a ridiculously optimistic phase. But, don’t worry … it won’t last long.

  9. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    I just came across a piece in the Financial Times that details the US response to Covid-19.https://www.ft.com/content/97dc7de6-940b-11ea-abcd-371e24b679ed

    https://www.ft.com/content/97dc7de6-940b-11ea-abcd-371e24b679ed

    After reading it, it’s hard not to be at least a little optimistic about Trump’s political demise but, I know that must be a trap.

  10. Michael Says:

    I think we now see Trump’s election tactics emerging.

    1- Try and create a ‘huge’ scandal involving the Obama administration around Michael Flynn with the hope it will take over media coverage the way Hillary’s emails did – to the point where even her supporters just wanted to make it all stop. The ‘scandal’ may be one that no one can explain, but that might not matter. Given that the Department of Justice and now the Director of National Intelligence are fully politicized, we can expect new ‘revelations’ that will dominate news cycles, especially then there is real news unfavorable to Trump.

    2-Trump will try to push states to reopen, even to the point of inciting armed insurrection. He is desperate to show signs of some economic turnaround, even if people die because of it.

    He will have the full collaboration of the Republican Party in all of this.
    I don’t think it will work. The effects of Trump’s criminal negligence, incompetence and corruption in dealing with the virus will be catastrophic both in terms of deaths and the economy. I worry more about a full-blown effort to suppress the vote and manipulate outcomes in the chaos of an election held during the pandemic. I also worry that Russia, and maybe other international actors, will actually have the ability to change voter tallies.

    Under normal circumstances, a disastrous record like Trump’s would probably produce an electoral reaction on the scale of 1932. Imagine the explosive frustration in the population if voter suppression, fraud and foreign interference had produced a win for Hoover back then. That’s what we could be facing come November 4th.

  11. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    Michael,

    I agree with your view regarding the disruption of the general election in November. That is what I fear most. “Four more years” of this repubican abomination in the white house alone is intolerable. He must be removed from power.

  12. Michael Says:

    Stephen,
    I share your fears about what four more years of this would mean. I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that American democracy would not survive very long. But right now there is only November 4th. Unless we get a little Covid-19 karma. It is after all inside the White House.

  13. H Patrick Pritchard Says:

    One must consider taking extraordinary measures beyond the scope of the law is not a remedy for preserving the rule of law! Obviously it is self defeating! Despite the outcome of the 2016 election I sincerely believe by and large the American electorate can recognize a fundamental mistake. Given time habitual liars are exposed for what they are! That is not to say we do not need to work like hell to insure that every vote counts in this next election. If that means alert poll watchers and taking extra measure to use all legal actions to ensure fair elections then we must be prepared particularly in the swing states.

    Certainly the Coronavirus may be a factor in the ability to vote, and mail-in ballots is a plausible solution; however this remedy may not be available in some states. Some folks may be faced with a decision to take a risk to vote on-site. My only response to them is to remember the cost of democracy has never come cheap in this country. Millions of men and women have sacrificed their lives on the field of battle to preserve that right Many millions of men and women of color took untold risks for the right to vote in this country and some take risks every day to do something as simple as taking a jog or sleeping in bed ever fearful that their lives may be cut short!

    We must be mindful preserving democracy is not for the timid! Wearing a mask and gloves to vote is not cowardly. It is a symbol of respect for each other and of our desire to exercise our duty as citizens!

  14. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    H Patrick Pritchard,

    <<<<<<<>>>>>>

    What does it say about a country that presumes itself to be a global leader with unsurpassed military power and little compunction to use it that its citizens must take their lives into their own hands as they vote, sleep or jog?

    At least, when Americans go to war to ostensibly protect their democracy (let them think what they will) they have equipment to protect their lives.

    I find your assertion above to be wholly dismissive of the very real threats to your country and its democratic ideals.

  15. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    “Some folks may be faced with a decision to take a risk to vote on-site. My only response to them is to remember the cost of democracy has never come cheap in this country. Millions of men and women have sacrificed their lives on the field of battle to preserve that right Many millions of men and women of color took untold risks for the right to vote in this country and some take risks every day to do something as simple as taking a jog or sleeping in bed ever fearful that their lives may be cut short!”

    This is the assertion that prompted my response above.

  16. Paul G Says:

    US SOLDIERS QUESTION ASK DOD SECY WHY CHRONIC EQUIPMENT FAILURES?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5uBgLtY6ec

  17. H Patrick Pritchard Says:

    The previous comments I have posted on this blog and the daily comments posted by me on facebook would contradict the assertion made regarding any dismissiveness of the problems faced by my fellow citizens. My monthly contributions to Stacey Abrams project to fight all actions of voter suppression is further testimony to my resolve to help address the voting rights of our citizens.

    My point was a simple one. While no one should be asked to risk their health or death for the right to vote, many folks be military or civilian have been asked to do that to attain or preserve that right. I will everything I can to promote vote-by-mail efforts and other activities to afford folks the unimpeded right to vote.

    I totally agree with Paul G’s cite regarding American soldiers having access to resources needed to protect themselves. History is filled with stories of soldiers on the front line without adequate equipment and armaments to protect themselves on the battlefield from the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan. My father fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II and related to me the horrid conditions he faced during that ordeal.

    Today we are facing a two fold crisis in this country: the Coronavirus and a disgraceful. inept and criminal Presidential Administration. We need to muster all the forces available to combat both threats. It will take all the votes we can generate to take back the Presidency, the Senate and the House to rid ourselves of Mister Trump and every Republician who has enabled his actions.

  18. JD Kinnick Says:

    I would add Minnesota to your list as well. President Trump nearly carried the “land of 10,000 lakes” in 2016. After the shameful rioting and looting in the Twin Cities I wouldn’t be shocked to see MN go red in 2020. I see a “law & order” campaign theme which was successful twice For Richard Nixon.

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