One can view Donald Trump’s intensifying dictatorial oppression of the country from a variety of perspectives.
Is he convinced that looking like a strongman and tyrant will enthuse more of his authoritarian voters to come out in November, overcome his opposition and re-elect him?
Does he believe, based on his life experience, that by denying a reality he doesn’t want to believe, he can use the force of his will to change it? So, trying to cover up the danger and mortal threat of COVID-19 can force the country’s economy to bounce back in time and to help assure his re-election? And connected to that, however many hundreds of thousands of American deaths he’s responsible for in the process, they are all irrelevant as long as it can help keep his power?
Is he enraged at the majority of Americans after seeing poll after poll that shows they are growing in opposition to him? Is he cruelly striking out at them to punish and harm them as he does with all of his other perceived enemies?
Does a part of him recognize that he is going to lose re-election and so he has angrily decided to take down as much of America as he can with him, also hobbling a Biden Presidency by leaving him with so many disasters to face?
It may be one or possibly, a combination of the propositions listed above that help describe Trump’s violent and malicious attacks against the majority of the country. In this case and in light of the GOP majority in The Senate trembling under their desks to stay out of the sight and wrath of Dear Leader, the power of any entity outside of the undependable Supreme Court to restrain Trump’s dictatorial rampage is questionable. Keeping in mind too that when The Senate GOP refused to even admit evidence into the impeachment trial of Trump before happily unleashing him to commit more heinous crimes, they de facto gave him full license to unleash whatever hell he chose at any time. Their utter silence in the face of Trump’s rise to dictatorship is as disgusting as it is terrifying.
So if there is no dependable or effective path to stopping an out-of-control Trump from tearing our democracy and Constitution into shreds, preparing the country for his dictatorship by interfering and corrupting our elections, is it game over?
No. Trump can and must be stopped this year or there may no longer be a functional democracy after 2020 that could unseat him from power…without horrendous violence.
Americans have a very effective mission to stop Trump that they can pursue, leading up to the election and through it. First, protests MUST continue, the gestapo-style deployment of a sadistic Trump Secret Police must never be allowed to prevail. Officials in Portland and Oregon are stepping up to use the courts and criminal investigations against this corrupt and unconstitutional federal occupation. Protesters including Wall of Moms are swelling the size of protests in Portland and folks on social media, blogs and the news media are sustaining and building popular opposition to this Brown Shirt invasion of American cities.
Trump and his toadies are still promising to grow this federal assault on Americans in more cities, only Democratically controlled ones of course. Trump, the protector of Confederate symbols and values, fan of the “fine people” in Nazi organizations, seems to be convinced that creating a modern-day Civil War, with government forces attacking regular Americans in “northern” cities (and cities with a majority of people of color), may flip over the election gameboard that now shows he’ll lose. Chaos and division is his campaign’s only strategy and he seems unrestrained by how far over the line he’ll push this assault to retain power.
It is a reasonable assumption that Trump could deploy this federal Gestapo in November too, to polling places in swing states and swing districts, to “protect” voters from the mythical Antifa army, using that excuse to threaten and even detain likely Biden voters. This is why Trump is terrified of Vote By Mail, all the plans that have already been made to suppress voter turnout, intimidate voters and sabotage a fair election, is itself undermined by Americans being able to bypass polling places and send their ballots from their homes.
While it’s not an approach to put the brakes on Trump’s tyrannical madness, it will short circuit Trump’s (and Russia’s) myriad attempts to disrupt voting. This puts an onus on both the Democratically-controlled House and voters. House Dems must demand and be unmovable on requiring full funding for the USPS in the latest financial bill. It is a matter of survival for our democracy, the Postal Service must have the funding to effectively and securely deliver the votes of tens of millions of Americans to their government. This must be a dealbreaker for Dems in the House. As much as states and people are suffering right now due to shutdowns and unemployment from COVID-19, it would be a disastrous compromise to dispose of our democracy in the long term by trading it for minimal short term funding for states and Americans. That aid will be long gone by Election Day 2020 but our democracy will have been sold off, enabling authoritarian control over the nation for the foreseeable future.
It is also urgent that Americans make sure that they apply for Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting in their state. As mentioned above, there are numerous attacks planned on voting in-person. As we’ve seen across the country, State Republican officials are slashing the number of polling places where PoC vote and for many who vote Democratic, so waiting in line to vote will be nightmarish, taking countless hours if not all day. Voter registration rolls will be purged but applying early to vote by mail or by absentee can alert voters in time to re-register if they’ve been purged. The RNC has also dedicated $20 million to pay what is essentially a goon squad to go to polling places across the country (no doubt, mostly in swing states and districts) to “observe” (intimidate) and challenge voters at polling places across the country on a massive scale, throwing the election and votes of many Americans into turmoil.
The easiest way to short circuit this anti-democratic strategy is to vote by mail. Most states allow voters to request Vote By Mail, many allow no-excuse absentee ballots, others simply require an explanation on the application for the need for the ballot. A couple of oppressive states require a notarized statement (a poll tax) to request an absentee ballot, a suppressive hoop to jump through but possible for some (would be nice if a political fund or the DNC would subsidize or actually provide this for lower-income voters).
Considering all of this, for those living in states that require an explanation for absentee voting, it would seem to be supportive of democracy and protecting your right to vote to plan an out-of-state vacation during the November 3rd election and send a request to your Secretary of State or voting officials to send you an Absentee Ballot because you will be out of state. First, you deserve it after all of these months of quarantine and as a bonus, you can effortlessly vote and avoid the nasty schemes of Republicans to prevent you from voting. If, whether due to COVID-19 infections not subsiding, a personal or financial issue or some other reason, you have to postpone your travel, you would still have the benefit of easily using your absentee ballot to vote.
Now, back to the pressing question of how to stop Trump’s march to tyranny. There may be little to nothing that Democratic politicians can do aside from state officials filing lawsuits in court (where Trump has embedded many corrupt and unqualified judges). The SCOTUS can’t be written off completely, it has sided against the authoritarianism of some of Trump’s actions but their rulings are often delayed in coming and could be irrelevant near or by Election Day even if they eventually come.
However, there is one person who could use the selfishness of those surrounding Trump and perhaps even Trump himself, to gum up the works of this dictatorship-in-process. And he’s not even in elected office. Yet.
Joe Biden has run a campaign with a theme that this election is about morality. He has said it is a battle for the very soul of America. And right now, it would be a good time for Biden to really flex on this, step up and fire a loud warning shot across the bow of Trump’s henchmen.
Fortunately, Joe Biden is not walking in the footsteps of gunshy Democrats who are typically quick to say, “When we’re in power, we can’t spend our time looking back.” In other words, “We’re afraid of the political consequences of holding criminal Republicans responsible for their actions.” Biden has said flatly that he will allow his Attorney General to fully and criminally investigate any and all in the Trump Admin, as warranted, for criminal acts.
This is very good, especially as we see the rule of law being decimated by Trump, his interfering in cases with William Barr’s help, pardoning horrible criminals and hiding all evidence of his crimes from Congress and the DoJ. To reinvigorate the rule of law in America, those who have been dismantling it must be held accountable.
Joe Biden should hold a big speech announcing the return of morality, ethics and compassion for all Americans no matter what state they live in or what party they support. And within such a speech, the keynote should be returning integrity to this country’s institutions so that they can earn the right to be fully trusted once more. And key among these things is justice. Towards every American, no matter their wealth or lack of it. Towards every American, no matter their position of power or lack of it. America will again be a nation of laws and he should explicitly put Trump and those in his administration in the crossfire, saying that they had better stop coming for the rule of law right now or next year, it will be coming for them.
This would include all Trump’s appointees. It would include all law enforcement officers who participate in illegal assaults against the American people. It would include government officials who violate the civil rights of Americans to vote, protest or just live in America as a person of color.
It would be important for Biden to make clear that there would never be political prosecutions, simply being a political adversary, having an opposing opinion or even a personal opinion that would be unlawful if acted upon, is protected by the 1st Amendment, and would never be viewed as actionable. But any authorities who participate in the committing of such violations of law will be prosecuted to the fullest in a fair trial.
Trump can’t commit all of this destruction by himself. Yes, he is surrounded by zealous extremists who, like him, think they can create reality by just insisting on it. But there are many more around him that will readily act out of self-preservation if faced with total personal destruction in the very near future.
Trump’s whole campaign in 2016 and likewise 2020, is all about fear. Let’s see how loyally his people act when real and earned fear is turned on them.