Author: Gary Hart

At the dawn of the space age, the brilliant writer Norman Mailer wrote a great book entitled Of a Fire On the Moon.  In it he compared rocket designers to plumbers because, he wrote, “the job of both is to prevent treachery in closed systems.”

American politics and government are hardly closed systems.  But their rules are subject to treachery.

Our national election is now coming out of the far turn and headed for home.  Prepare for anything and everything.

We have already seen unidentified para-military units deployed on major city streets in unmarked vehicles.  These may be private contract militia outside the military chain of command. The cities involved have Democratic party leaders and are in key swing States.

The Trump loyalist appointed to manage the U.S. Postal Service is cutting back personnel and shortening hours to inhibit delivery of ballots to voters and filed ballots to official counting stations.

The top management of the Department of Defense is now led by Trump loyalists prepared to respond to commands for domestic deployment of official military personnel prepared to put down demonstrations that can be manufactured by right wing militia or that merely involve voters waiting in long lines to vote.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to challenge any mail-in ballots not counted by midnight of election night.  There is no Constitutional or legal authority for this.

His campaign promises to deploy 50,000 voting “observers” who will be sent to minority precincts in Democratic cities in key swing States whose purpose is clearly to intimidate those voting in person.  They will demand voter documentation not required by law.

Attorney General William Barr has now converted the U.S. Department of Justice (of which I am an alumnus) to Trump’s public law firm instead of the law firm of the American people.  It will be the subject of amazement if Justice intervenes in the election to protect fairness and the law rather than the interests of the Trump campaign.

Expect ballot, machine, and poll worker shortages in seven or eight key swing States that will determine the election and that have Republican governors, mayors, or legislators responsible for conducting the election.

Courts across the land, high and low, will be deluged by suits filed from all sides on and beyond election day.  Do not expect swift decisions, except for those cases clearly dilatory.

Treachery knows no bounds.  American democracy, so vaunted to the world, will be tested, with the possible exception of our tragic Civil War, as never before in our history.

This is primarily because we have a president who knows no bounds, who lives in a fabricated world far removed from reality, and for whom the worst condemnation is “loser”.

When I still insist that Trump must have a conscience, must think of the poor, must regret privatization of our sacred national trust, must occasionally question piling billions after billions on his fabulously wealthy friends, must feel some secret guilt about literally embracing autocrats and dictators, to all of this and more, my son John simply says, “he does not care.”

That is the only response that makes any sense.  But even that must cause everyday Americans who family, religion, education, and decency have taught to have a conscience to respond, “how can that be?  How can a president of the United States be so hollow?”

The best solution to a systematic effort from the highest office to steal a national election must be a landslide of rejection.

Pray that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win Florida election night by an indisputable margin.  Pray that other determinative States then follow, one after another.  Pray that the outcome is so decisive that even the Master Manipulator is left with nothing to manipulate.

If Donald Trump wants a pardon for these disastrous four years, he will have to look beyond mere temporal powers to forgiveness from a higher power.

There should be no pardon for the treachery of attempting to destroy American democracy.



28 Responses to “Treachery”

  1. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    “There should be no pardon for the treachery of attempting to destroy American democracy.”

    Mighten we substitute “treason” for “treachery” in your last sentence and be closer to the truth of the matter?

  2. Michael Says:

    What we are seeing is what I’ve long feared would happen: Trump taking a bulldozer to our democracy with the full collaboration of the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party too weak to do anything about it. I long hoped that the American people would be able to rescue itself at the polls in November. Now, because of everything Senator Hart described in this essay, the odds are turning against that. Trump may be an imbecile and degenerate con man, but is on the precipice of destroying the American Republic. If it happens there will no doubt be endless volumes written over the coming decades, agonizing over how something like this could possibly have happened. He answer, though, will be painfully simple: we did it to ourselves.

  3. Stephen D. Pillow Says:


    Your last thought, “we did it to ourselves” is hard for anyone to accept that we had any thing to do with this destruction of our democratic republic. We allowed this, no matter how hard we think that we fought against it.

  4. Michael Says:

    Happened to see this online (I haven’t owned a TV since 2005). Senator Hart has been one of the very few voices raising the alarm.

  5. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    “We did it to ourselves.” Yes, Michael, we did and are doing it all over again. Watching the “Democratic?” National Convention this week has made me sick to my stomach. Instead of embracing the progressive and liberal activists and their activities and goals, the DNC and the Wall Street Democrats have spent most of their air time trying to woo disenchanted Republicans to vote for “OUR” moderate, middle-of-the-road, same-old-stuff of the Clinton era platform and programs. They have purposely slapped the progressives and liberals in the face with mere token acknowledgement of all that they have done for this Party. The Democratic platform and program seems to be Hillary 2016 all over again for 2020. By the way, how did that work out for you in 2016. They are ramming this program down our throats again, and telling the progressives and liberals, vote for us with no guarantees that we will do anything to promote your programs, or get another 4 years of the repubican abomination that is destroying our nation. I went along in 2016, because I feared what I saw coming from the repubicans. However, this time, I am willing to give the DNC and Wall Street Democrats a one finger salute and tell them to stuff it. If I don’t see measurable improvements in their approach, I will no longer support the Democratic Party ever again. May God have mercy upon our souls, our nation, and our Democratic Republic, because the money has completely taken over our political system.

  6. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    News flash … the progressives and liberal activists can win a general election. I would have thought the primaries made that clear enough.

    Of course, it depends on how you define ‘progressive’.

    If Biden’s fine convention made any Democrats sick to their stomach, get ready for another four years of Trump. Hello?

  7. Elizabeth Miller Says:


    Here is what I meant to say,

    News flash … the progressives and liberal activists most decidedly CANNOT win a general election. I would have thought the primaries made that clear enough.

    Of course, it depends on how you define ‘progressive’.

    If Biden’s fine convention made any Democrats sick to their stomach, get ready for another four years of Trump. Hello?

  8. Michael Says:

    Stephen, in 2000 many people on the Left said there was no difference between the parties, or between Gore and Bush. They stayed home or voted to Nader. What was the cost of that to this country? How much damage do Bush’s court appointees, including two to the Supreme Court, continue to do to progressive causes to this day? In 2016, the number of progressives who voted for Jill Stein or stayed home because they didn’t like Clinton cost her the election. After two wave elections in 2006 and 2008, progressives stayed home in the 2010 midterms because they were disappointed by Obama. Republicans cleaned up during a redistricting year. We are still living with the after effects of that. The 2014 midterms had the lowest turnout since 1942 when the nation was fighting WWII. So, yes, we did this to ourselves. Trump and McConnell as Senate majority leader and all that followed are the results. No one gets everything they want when they want it. That’s no reason to throw a tantrum shoot yourself in the face. I would rather have to keep pushing politicians further than they want to go than to see decades of progress undone.

  9. Brian C McCarthy Says:

    It’s hard to address Stephen’s, Elizabeth’s, and Michael’s comments without first clarifying the nomenclature. Unfortunately, almost every media outlet in the US mislabels liberals as “moderates”, mislabels social democrats and socialists as “liberals”, and inconsistently substitutes the term “progressives” for all of the above. “Moderate” is not the name of any ideology or party and should be used only as a qualifying term.

    Only in a two-party duopoly would a self-described socialist like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and a center-left social liberal like Joe Biden be in the same party, let alone a moderate-conservative outlier like Sen. Joe Manchin. In most other democracies with multiple parties there is a liberal party in the center left or center and a socialist, social democratic, or labor party further to the left (Liberals and NDP in Canada, LibDems and Labour in the UK, etc.). But unless we’re going to switch to a multi-party system with proportional representation or transferable votes—which isn’t happening anytime soon—the “big tent” will have to remain big.

    AOC herself admits that she and Biden wouldn’t be in the same party in most countries. “Democrats can be too big of a tent” and “they let anybody who the cat dragged in call themselves a progressive” are two of her more memorable statements on the issue. A leftist war on the center-left will only do for the Democrats exactly what a similar campaign by the far left of the UK’s Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn did for that party: make it unelectable for years, maybe decades to come. To win first-past-the-post elections in a two party country, the left wing has to accept that the needed votes are in the center and not on the fringes.


  10. Stephen D. Pillow Says:


    “News flash … the progressives and liberal activists most decidedly CANNOT win a general election. I would have thought the primaries made that clear enough.”

    Therefore, the progressives and liberals should not expect the Democratic Party to afford them as much respect and attention as it does the disenchanted Republicans, which are sure to help Biden win. Why does the Party have such a problem working with the progressives instead of slapping them in the face and ignoring them. The progressives are just supposed to shut up and get in line with the same old Party line that has been fed to us since Clinton’s first race. HOW DID THAT WORK FOR YOU IN 2016? The Party isn’t taking care of the poor, the sick, the hungry, the homeless, or the unjustly treated. At what point does it start working for the true people of this nation instead of the wealthy and Big Business just like the Republicans. Give me one good reason that a progressive, liberal, or socialist should vote for a Democrat, except “We have to stick together to defeat the abomination infesting the white house.” I have been voting for Democrats ever since I could first vote in 1968, and have yet to vote for a single Democratic Presidential Candidate that support my progressive ideas and ideals with the possible exception of Eugene McCarthy. I am sick and tired of being lead down the primrose path with promises to work with the progressives after the election. The Democrats have lied to the progressives just as much as the current occupant has lied to the American public.

  11. Stephen D. Pillow Says:


    Maybe instead of expecting the progressives to just bow down every election and give in to the Democratic Majority in order to win an election, how about the Party start giving in to the progressives with some semblance of working with them so that they can support something in which they truly believe, instead of having to support a continuing lie about working with them after the election.

  12. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    Just one last comment on my point of view. The following opinion piece in the Guardian makes my point more clearly than any attempt that I have tried.

    Please read it.

  13. Michael Says:

    Stephen, I don’t expect progressives to ‘just bow down’ every election. I expect them to organize and fight for their beliefs and to try and expand their numbers within the Democratic conference. But I do expect them to take a long view and I absolutely expected that they vote for the Party’s nominees and not throw a tantrum when they don’t get everything they want the minute they want it. Blowing everything up solves nothing. That only plays into the hands of reactionary forces in the country.

  14. Stephen D. Pillow Says:


    I guess that progressives will just have to work the grassroots, build their own party and tell the Democratic Party to just get along without them. As their numbers grow, they can become a viable party of their own and then they will have enough actual power to make what’s left of the Democratic Party and/or the Republican Party have to bargain in good faith with them. Coalition government anyone? They may never be big enough to actually get a member elected president, but they can sure as hell become a deciding factor in how the government is run. If the Democrats don’t start working openly with the progressives, they will be the ones that loose the elections and won’t be able to blame the progressives for not kowtowing to the mighty majority. As for taking the long view, just how long is that view. I’ve been taking that view for some 52 years now and have gotten very little in the way of compensation/compromise from the Democratic Party for it. “Next time” or “wait until after the election and we’ll work on that” just don’t cut it any longer.

  15. Elizabeth Miller Says:


    >>>>>>>”Therefore, the progressives and liberals should not expect the Democratic Party to afford them as much respect and attention as it does the disenchanted Republicans, which are sure to help Biden win. Why does the Party have such a problem working with the progressives instead of slapping them in the face and ignoring them.” … Frederick

    Probably because they are always whining and throwing temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. 🙂

    Seriously, you could pull this sort of thing with the Clintons. But, not with Biden.

    Biden has a saying and it goes like this – “I’m not on the left, I’m not on the right … I’m in the middle with Joe Biden. Come join me!” Let’s go and get things done!

    If the progressives and liberals and whatever else you want to call them, including brash upstarts, wish to make real progress, then they’ll get behind Biden like their lives and livelihoods depend on it. Because, they do!

  16. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    What Michael said!

  17. Stephen D. Pillow Says:


    In two of your posts you suggested that the progressives “throw a tantrum” when they don’t get what they want when they want it. You are speaking down to the progressives from some place on high fro9m which you don’t actually have the right and authority to do so. Yes, the progressives did boycott the 2016 election, not in throwing a tantrum, but in trying to make a statement to the “main stream Democrats” that they can’t win an elections without them. The progressives know that they will never be the mainstream of the Party, but they damned sure want their message heard and to some extent incorporated into the Party’s platform and promoted by the candidate and their administration. As an example, universal healthcare is supported by a major majority of the citizens of this nation, including many republicans, but the Democratic Party candidate for President does not support it. WHY? Because Big Business, the 1%, and Wall Street Democrats don’t support it. That is just one instance of the Party not being willing to support the progressives, even thought the Party has been trying to come up with some sort of overall medical coverage for all citizens, since the Clinton administration. Does Wall Street also tell the Democratic Party what to do, like they do the republicans? And again I ask the question, which by the way you have not addressed, why did the DNC have at least 5 disenchanted republican speakers on the program last week, and not one progressive, liberal, or democratic socialist speaker on it. Oh, I know that AOC got to second Senator Sander’s nomination, and she got ragged by the media for not expressing her stand on the issues that she supports. As she so eloquently stated in her reply, the time that had been allotted to her was not the appropriate venue for stating her position. Well, when was she given the opportunity to do so? I’m tired of arguing with you about this. It has become like trying to get a supporter of the abomination infesting the white house to understand my viewpoint. You just don’t get it. Let’s agree to disagree. However, if Hillary 2016 II doesn’t work again, remember what Einstein said. “Trying the same thing over and over again to get different results, is the definition of ignorance.”

  18. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    That was hard to read and, not just because there are no paragraphs. 🙂

    Are the progressive happy with the ‘statement’ they made four years ago? HELLO!?

  19. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Freder … err, Stephen,

    Biden 2020 is most decidedly NOT Hillary 2016 II !

    I know Joe Biden and, he ain’t the Clintons.

    The progressives will rue the day they disrespect Biden. Actually, they won’t because Biden isn’t that kind of politician. 🙂

  20. Michael Says:

    Stephen, I am a progressive. Throughout the primaries I supported Elizabeth Warren. She did speak at the DNC last week, as did Bernie Sanders.

    But just to recap: many progressives didn’t vote in 2000 or in 2016 because the Party wasn’t pure enough for them. That cost progressives four Supreme Court justices. If progressives had voted they would have had a 7 to 2 majority on the court now – and hundreds more lower court judges. Was taking their ball and going home worth it? A Congress full of Bernie clones can legislate all they want and send bills to President AOC, but it doesn’t mean a thing if their laws get struck down by systematic challenges in the courts. Conservatives understand that. For some reason progressives don’t.

    ALL the Democratic nominees support universal health care. Not all support single payer. Very few countries with universal coverage have pure single-payer systems. Most have a hybrid system that does the job just as well. I lived in Germany for over a decade. They have great health care. It’s not single payer, it’s a hybrid system. A Danish friend of mine who was living in Germany at the same time as me is now back in Denmark and has a daughter with special needs. We all hear about how great the Danish health care system is, but it is also obsessed with cost cutting and saving money. My Danish friend told me recently that in her current situation, she would have been better off in Germany. So that is a real debate to have. From what I’ve seen, many progressives don’t really understand it properly.

    As far as splitting progressives from the Democratic Party, that would be a completely senseless thing to do. Do you really thing Progressives are going to be able to ever make a coalition with Republicans? They will wind up in a coalition with Democrats anyway. They will win in areas where progressive Democrats win today and lose in areas of the country where more moderate Dems win. It would change nothing. It would only give conservatives a wedge to exploit. In any case the Party is moving to the left. Biden’s agenda is the most progressive since at least LBJ. To get what you want in politics doesn’t happen overnight. It takes persistence and compromise. Every great progressive leader in American history who has ever changed the country for the better knew that.

  21. H Patrick Pritchard Says:

    The mantra of today is to keep your eye on the prize. The prize is the Presidency, The Senate, and the House! We need to have a clear eye and focus on the possible! Internal philosophical fratricide is not the road to travel when our very democracy is in peril.

  22. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    Michael, Elizabeth, Brian, and Patrick:

    I appreciate your participating in this discussion. I took the devil’s advocate position in order to try to get the minority view of the progressives frustration with this majority view. The thing that I learned is that there is very little difference in the progressives discussion with the majority of the Democratic Party than there is for the Democratic minority discussing a piece of legislation with the Republican majority in the Senate. The majority’s idea of compromise is for the minority to compromise by agreeing to accept the majority’s position and the discussion will be settled. Food for thought.

  23. Elizabeth Miller Says:


    >>>>>>>To win first-past-the-post elections in a two party country, the left wing has to accept that the needed votes are in the center and not on the fringes.

    This is a very good point. Do you think the left wing has learned its lesson about this or are they prepared for another four years of more of the same?

  24. Stephen D. Pillow Says:


    You haven’t said anything different from all of your other comments. The progressives need to just shut up and do what the middle of the road says do. Thank you for your advice.

  25. Brian C McCarthy Says:


    No, I don’t. Just like the far right, the far left overestimates it’s numbers and the appeal of its ideas to the vast majority. Watch AOC—I foresee her causing a huge rift in the party in years to come. Hope I’m wrong.


  26. Elizabeth Miller Says:


    You’re welcome! 🙂

    I think Biden will surprise you. If he gets elected.

    If he doesn’t, it may be the final nail in the you know what for the progressives. Or, maybe the progressives think that another four years of Trump will be just the ticket to progressive utopia. I could understand that but, I don’t agree with it.

  27. Elizabeth Miller Says:


    The next time you play devil’s advocate, let me know! 🙂

  28. Elizabeth Miller Says:


    >>>>>>The majority’s idea of compromise is for the minority to compromise by agreeing to accept the majority’s position and the discussion will be settled. Food for thought.

    Food for thought, indeed! I think the idea of compromise on the part of the majority is a little less extreme than that, though and , in fact, more accurately describes the minority viewpoint on compromise. Heh.

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