Update: President Trump posted this last night over at his Twitter account. This is textbook stochastic terrorism. With the other Tweets that he has posted, we have a recipe for the Proud Boys and other sundries of far-right groups to take action.
Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process. Learn more
The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!
We are on the cusp of the most consequential election in the modern history of the country. At this point, this is not even in doubt. We are also dealing with a president who has delegitimized the process along the way. Why? Let’s be clear about this. President Donald Trump and his party do not believe in self-rule and democratic norms. We are to the point that Donald Trump intends to declare victory even when short of 270 electoral points. This is unprecedented but not unexpected. The last thing an authoritarian want is to surrender power. Joe Biden has already declared that Trump will not steal this election.
We already have seen some violence, and I do not mean people getting in their trucks, festooned with flags, and driving up and down the highway. If people want to form caravans and go YAY TEAM! Go for it. We saw plenty of that during the summer for Black Lives Matter and George Floyd. So it would be hypocritical to call Trump fans on this act. It is mostly men doing this.
Hey, they are socially distanced, and in the age of COVID, that is a win! The problem is when we cross into violence. One group in Texas tried to drive a Biden-Harris bus off the road, and they damaged one vehicle. That is assault, attempted murder, and it is now under investigation by the FBI. (IF trump should win, expect that to go away quietly.)
We also have threats of intimidation at the polls this year. Let’s be clear that is a felony. I expect those threats to be genuine, at least in some places. In Michigan, some of these people will open carry at the polls. This is what you expect from true believers who want to keep others from voting. Why? High turnout favors the Democrats. This year we already have a historic turnout before the polling stations open.
There is more; we already have seen clashes in places like Beverly Hills, in California. This did not surprise me. And at this point, businesses are boarding up from coast to coast. Why? People expect violence, and it is not your imagination. It is tense out there.
Trump’s Goal and His Army
The chaos president is sowing even more of the same. He is drowning the field with claims of fraud, and the deep state. I guess we the people are the deep state, but I digress. They have also organized a loose network of fans to watch the polls and overall be ready to defend the president. This so-called Trump Army is not unlike the militias that warlords form in failed states to enforce their will. Or to be brutal, either the Brown Shirts or the Black Shirts of Europe in the 1920s and 30s,. This is a test for our nation and whether we will remain a democracy, with all its faults and warts.
It may be a terrible system, but it is still the best to paraphrase Winston Churchill.
However, there are forces at play that will not accept our nation is moving inexorably towards a majority-minority country, far more accepting of the other. These are the same forces that were activated by the Trump presidency. These are the same forces that feel left behind and disrespected by the changes coming; they feel utterly non-represented and are seeing what is familiar go away. This includes a religious country with conservative family values. These are people who feel they are under siege as they see their old economies die out,. These include coal country and perhaps the oil patch. People are not just going to pick up and move. We do not spend near enough on retraining workers. So they do have some valid reason for grievance. They feel their economic dignity is disappearing. They blame all for their plight, especially immigrants and the other. They want to go back to a time when they were the dominant force in the nation.
This is not the only reason of course. There is deep racism in this land, and many voted for the president because he allowed them to express what once driven underground. We have found out just how many of our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances are deeply racist. This includes people who should know better. After all, you would not expect a Holocaust survivor to be racist; alas, some have absorbed this.
Some of us have kept our distance from many of these people. Many of us are mourning the loss of friendships. Yes, there is a feeling of dread across the land as we all collectively hold our breath.
What Will Reduce the Risk
If on election night we have early results going for Biden in states that canvas early, such as Florida and Arizona, we will be well on the way to a clear Democratic victory. This has to be as large as possible. It has to make Pennsylvania irrelevant. It has to be a wholesale repudiation of Trumpism. However, it will take longer to count the ballots in some key states. Let me make this clear. It is not unusual for elections to take more than a few hours. It can take upwards of weeks. But Trump is now delegitimizing the effort. Some states count same-day ballots on election night, which means that you will see a red mirage. Once they count absentee ballots, it will turn to Biden. This is the reality of how this works, but how Trump keeps claiming that only the day’s votes are valid.
But if the early canvasing states come with negative results for Trump early in the night, that will reduce the danger. I am not counting on this, but it is possible. There are few critical states in the sunbelt that are already counting their votes. These are Florida and Arizona.
The next few days will be dangerous. We will likely see civil unrest. The president is not going to go peacefully into that good night, nor will his fans. They are increasingly behaving like organized resistance groups, and a few are drilling for war. We know that a civil war is more than just idle talk for a few of them. The president has encouraged them. Them wearing tacti-cool is not just for intimidation, though it does have that effect; they believe in their fevered minds that their way of life is under threat and the only way to save it is by fighting for it.
A clear repudiation by a large number of a diverse America will help to tamp down the temperature. Part of this is the reality that people are in their information bubbles. Ergo, it is easy to believe you are correct if all you hear is what you agree with. If Trump loses well over 270 electoral points, it will signal that people do not want him or what he sells. If Republicans should see Texas go blue, that will be a shock to the system. States like Texas have been moving towards this direction for decades, And yes, California once was a deep red state too,
We know that happened in California, where Republicans have become a permanent minority party. The GOP has dug its heels. It is a far more nativist, conspiracy-driven, white supremacy party than in the majority. Trust me; you can hear rank and file Republicans talking about the deep state and black helicopters any time of the week and twice on Sunday. Electeds at times, act that way as well. See for example both Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunez. They have gone down a road that radicalized Republicans prefer. As primaries see increasingly radicalized candidates on the ballot, we have seen even crazier. It is as if they are trying hard to reenact the No-Nothings fate, otherwise known as the Whigs. This behavior is repelling even lifetime more moderate Republicans who see the danger and have left the party in droves.
There will be less danger of significant violence, But this does not mean we will be out of the woods. So keep your head on a swivel, Be aware of your surroundings, and if need be, be prepared to both defend yourself, and isolate these people. One of their grievances is that the country is leaving them behind. Well, if we make it to January 20 without too much violence, it will be good. However, they are not going anywhere. So be aware of that.
What will be, will be. It is baked into the cake. Millions have already voted. That should give us hope. It tends to favor the country we want,.not the country that was. But in the meantime, be ready to stay at home and avoid crowded places where violence could happen where you live. This will be our reality for some time. If Trumpism is repudiated by most of us, it will send a signal, but some people will still act out their frustration.
After the inauguration, we have a lot of work to do in order to rebuild bridges and restore civil society. And in some cases, those bridges are burned and will never be rebuilt. I know that many of us will have issues trusting openly racist people who want us dead. It is as simple as that.