Are you flipping out about Donald John Trump’s week-long stream of declarations to the result that he will not cede the presidency if he loses in November? Has your stomach not been the very same considering that he discussed desiring to “get rid of the tallies”? Are you so worn out by 2020 and so sleepless, so tortured by problems of Trump remaining in the White House by force that you have no energy to assist get out the vote that could crush him in a landslide? You, my buddy, might be an unwitting victim of the Strongman Con. Trump is apparently chuckling behind the scenes at how much of a difficulty he’s kicked up with his democracy-defying act. All the attention is on him once again: simply the method a narcissist likes it. His opposition, which far surpasses his advocates, is terrified: just the way his base likes it. Don the con, continuous wrongdoer of rip-offs and personal bankruptcies and pointless claims, past master at making himself and his business look bigger and meaner than they really are, believes he’s getting away with it again.
Which he will– if all of us panic and turn him into an unbeatable dictator in our minds, instead of a weak-ass wannabe. A variety of hard steps stand in between Trump and seizing power. He could not simply snap his fingers and prevent Joe Biden from being sworn in as Leader in Chief in January. But what he can do now is his damnedest to depress turnout and sow doubt, starting with mail-in ballots.
The TELEVISION star wishes to enthrall you into forgetting you are seated at the machinery of democracy, which is created to unseat losers, while thrilling and pushing a minority who long for a strongman to trash that machinery.
Trump engages in wishful thinking, which everyone takes seriously, which then lends credence to the dream and helps Trump bring about the outcome he desires.
Undermining confidence in democratic organizations (i.e. persuading people the election is rigged) weakens democracy.
— Teri Kanefield (@Teri_Kanefield) September 25, 2020
The Strongman Con is a term coined by author and attorney Teri Kanefield, who turned a sanity-saving Twitter thread on today’s Trump project shenanigans into a must-read column Friday. What it explains is something historians of autocracy have actually been telling us for years: Democracy just passes away if a bulk believe it no longer exists, or consider it not worth the effort to keep it alive. Totalitarians become dictators by puffing up their chests and talking harder than they can walk. Mussolini progressed Rome with a simple 30,000 males; the authorities believed him when he stated he had 300,000, so they gave up. “Give them faith that mountains can be moved,” Mussolini said, “they will accept that mountains are portable. Thus an illusion may end up being reality.”
The genuine battleground is the mind, where Trump desires your faith, but will take your fear. It’s crucial to remind your mind of the power currently gained by putting minds together. The state of the anti-Trump coalition is remarkably strong, and it has been solid for a minimum of two years.
“People completely forget that the GOP lost the midterms by 8 percent,” Kanefield notes– approximately the very same as Biden’s nationwide lead over Trump, the most stable lead in presidential polling history. “Losing the midterms was bad for the GOP. If they might have avoided that, they would have. They could not prevent it. They lost.”
Trump doesn’t want you concentrating on that, because it makes him look weak, and weakness is his kryptonite. He is very keen for you to fill your problems with overblown estimates of his assistance. “Being overestimated is how wannabe Strongmen appear effective,” states Kanefield. “It makes them feared and respected. Trump is very first and primary a conman. He wants his supporters to think he is invincible. He wants you to believe that he can’t be stopped.”
The con is so powerful that every Facebook feed appears filled with a minimum of one variation of “oh, Trump will simply cancel the elections” or “you understand, even if he loses, he will not leave.” Fortunately, the first specious forecast is heard less the closer to November we get. U.S. elections are, for much better or worse, fundamentally regional affairs. Trump can not all of a sudden choose to shut an across the country election down without the military. And the military, a bulk of whose members do not like Trump, has clearly said it won’t get included in the 2020 election. Its leaders are still smarting from Trump using them as props in Lafayette Square.
As for the 2nd argument, that Trump would just refuse to give way for an inbound president-elect– well, he can attempt all he likes, but his options would be very limited. Administration authorities are currently quietly preparing the ground for a transition. The Supreme Court, even with an additional conservative justice, would be difficult pressed to simply stop a shift since Trump firmly insisted. Remember, this is the highly-divided Supreme Court that simply voted all in favor of presidential electors voting the method their states inform them. Chief Justice John Roberts might be more right-wing than we remember, but he likewise cares about the court’s authenticity.
If a bulk of electors elect Biden, then Roberts will be swearing Biden in at noon in front of the Capitol on Jan. 21, 2021. Because minute, Biden would be invested with all the responsibility of Commander in Chief. If Donald wishes to have a temper tantrum and it takes all afternoon for the Secret Service to coax him out of the Oval Office, Joe will hardly skip a step on his way to the socially-distant inaugural ball. Power does not reside in a structure, not even a well-known one.
Okay, so we’re looking at electoral college shenanigans? A GOP state legislature changes its slate of electors, perhaps on the premises that mail-in ballots do not represent “the will of the individuals.” That’s what one unnamed Trump operative in Pennsylvania today– again, planting an idea to trigger optimum freakout. But Pennsylvania law is rather clear on who the electors go to, and which ballots count. The GOP legislature could attempt changing that law; the Democratic guv would ban them. Exact same opts for Michigan and Wisconsin, and these are the three states Biden actually requires to turn to win.
Which is not to state there aren’t uncomfortable scenarios. There are lots of them! The risk of Trump fans stalking polling places and avoiding individuals from entering is genuine; it happened throughout early ballot in Virginia, though it only lasted an hour, and poll workers had the ability to distribute them. We ought to be gotten ready for Trump to claim success preemptively on election night, if there’s a moment he appears to be in the lead in battleground states. He might then file multiple spurious suits to stop the counts; we must be gotten ready for Chief law officer Expense Barr to bring the weight of the Justice Department behind them, if he believes he can save his own neck by doing so.
Biden has a professional group of 100 election lawyers and solicitor generals poised and prepared to go, and half a billion dollars in hand with which to fight– more money than Trump. States like Florida start counting absentee tallies ahead of time, prepared to reveal on election night (though naturally we ought to fret about the Florida GOP’s citizen suppression efforts before the election.) In slower-counting states (though even Pennsylvania starts counting the mail-in vote on election morning this year), there is more danger of some Trump-friendly judge torching his reputation to shut down a mail-in tally count, however he ‘d better hope the next judge up the appeals chain agrees with him.
With several red battleground states– Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and even Texas are in play– the Trump project would be stretched extremely thin attempting to combat the law in all of them. Counts set in motion are lawfully difficult to stop; Bush v. Gore was a travesty, but it worried a recount that started in December, not a first count. For all Trump’s flood of federal judgeships, some selected by him. Pre-election, Democrats have been buoyed by a raft of choices versus citizen suppression. Of course we seldom hear about them, due to the fact that 2020 hardly has time to take note of anything that’s not on fire.
However they are motivating indications nonetheless, as are the surveys that continue to suggest America at big has the measure of Trump. Is he a strongman or a cowardly lying wimp? Some 57 percent say wimp.
Who do you think is more of a wimp, Donald Trump or Joe Biden?Trump 57%Biden 43%@EmersonPolling, LV, 9/22-23 https://t.co/FzEKUeGNlY– Political Surveys(@Politics_Polls)
September 25, 2020 In many election problem circumstances, Trump’s primary method continues to be what it has been all along– persuading you that his version of truth is right, whether you oppose it or support it. He wants us to believe that mail-in tallies, used by the military for centuries, are in some way inherently suspicious, so you won’t object if they’re not counted. As long as we stay conscious that this is the technique and has always been the technique, we stay immune and strong. As Alice Walker composed: “The most common way individuals quit their power is by believing they don’t have any.”Here is how we stop worrying. We attest to the outrage; we don’t overlook it; we do not fail to take the threat seriously. However
then we evict Trump from our heads faster than his slumlord father threw out his tenants. And we get back to the severe company of assisting countless Americans to vote in numbers too big to lie about.