It is time to look at the bigger picture. We actually have an actual electoral fraud in North Carolina 9th. This scam involved the absentee ballots of people who were not intending to vote. The fraud is obvious and it benefits the Republican on the ballot. Apparently, this is fine, since there is not a Democrat winning. It is telling the silence we are seeing from national Republicans regarding this.
They literally accuse Democrats of fraud every time they win.
There is more. The Wisconsin Legislature voted in legislation that strips power from their newly elected Democratic Governor and Attorney General. In effect, the Republican lame duck legislature, and the lame-duck governor are doing all they can to weaken and delegitimize Democrats.
The same story is happening in Michigan and North Carolina did the same two years ago.
A vibrant democracy requires that once elections are over, the results are accepted by all. It also means that one party accepts defeat when the other wins. Republicans, over the last few years, have increasingly become radical at both state and federal levels. They refuse to accept that voters can fire and hire them. They do all they can to undermine Democratic wins, and to suppress the votes of natural Democratic constituencies. This has its own dangers. There are multiple reasons why this is crazy. But it is also dangerous.
When one of the two major parties in a country with effectively a two-party system gives up on the legitimacy of the system, we are at a crisis point. This also leads to winning by any means necessary. It also weakens the system and it makes it easier for foreign intervention to occur. This means that when the other side wins at the polls, that victory is streamed with suspicion and their policy is undermined at the pass.
Donald Trump, Mitch McDonnell, and Russia-Gate
So we come to the President of the United States, Donald Trump. He spent the Barack Obama administration attacking, demeaning and questioning the administration. Partly this is because of his racism, and belief in white supremacy. Like many in the GOP, the president could not accept that a black man won and had a right to occupy the White House.
Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to make Obama a one-term president. When that did not happen, he obstructed every time he could. This includes not bringing for a vote the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
These are related to the idea that a Democrat has no legitimacy. It tracks directly to the actions of state legislatures in North Carolina, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And it also means that Trump was going to do anything to win. Even if he believed he was not going to.
It also explains why Trump has threatened to jail his political opponents, and why his base goes absolutely crazy when he says such. If you do not believe others have a right to govern, and you do not believe in government, violating norms becomes very easy.
This also brings us to the naked pursuit of power. The fillings from the Mueller and Southern District of New York team show the most direct evidence yet of Russian help. This is especially clear with the Michael Cohen filling from New York. It is plain that at the very least that candidate Trump continue negotiations for Trump Tower Moscow deep into the campaign. It is also transparent that they saw this as a form of synergy as early as 2015.
This is not just breaking of norms. Given the President never gave up control of his business, all fantasies notwithstanding, this possibly is breaking US Law. In fact, what he may be violating is the Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution, which forbids a president from enriching himself from the office. This is precisely what will be tested in court, among other things.
A lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the constitution’s emoluments clause can proceed, a federal judge said Friday. Never before has an emoluments case gone to trial in the U.S.
Federal District Judge Peter Messitte denied Trump’s request for a stay and ordered the two parties to begin the discovery process.
The ruling means the plaintiffs, the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., have some power to obtain documents from the president and his business ventures. Trump notably has not released his tax returns and has maintained ownership of his businesses.
This is critical, and not covered as often by either the press or the commentariat. Partly because this is is not as exciting as the rest of the issues coming to a head. However, we keep seeing something else. This is a president that is acting like a dictator, in the face of opposition from his own party to build a wall on the southern border. He is allergic to facts.
When he threatens to shut down the government, he is engaging in the kind of behavior we expect from authoritarians around the world. He is modeling his behavior on that of people like Vladimir Putin. If he was alone, we have had presidents in the past with authoritarian tendencies. Richard Nixon comes to mind. However, he is not alone. His party, Republicans, have refused so far to put a stop to all this abnormal behavior.
What happened in Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina, where state legislatures cut the authority of Democrats before they took office is part of the pattern. Trump is part of the pattern, What we are seeing is the undercutting of democracy at multiple pressure points. It is also part of a global pattern. Democracy is under threat, and in this, we are at a point of crisis.
The president is also very good at using social media to try to distract from the legal issues that threaten his presidency. This is what he did this morning with his threat to shut down the government as well. It is time to face it, we have a president, and a political party, that seek power by any means necessary. Even if they break traditions, norms, and democracy.