Sunday, January 3, 2021

"I just want to find 11,780 votes."

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)

It's like something out of a dystopian sci fi or alternate history novel, isn't it?

    Imagine a rejected ending for Sinclair Lewis', It Can't Happen Here in which President Windrip, instead of being overthrown and placed in exile, runs for a second term in 1940, handily loses the election then contests the results. Or imagine a still-living President Charles Lindbergh contesting the 1944 election results in Philip Roth's, The Plot Against America.

    Yet, the question must be asked: If we're living literally in something originally cast as cautionary tales, then why aren't we heeding more seriously the lessons being imparted to us by a radical right wing that's bound and determined to subvert not just the 2020 election but the very foundation of our Democratic Republic?

    Yesterday, Donald Trump essentially continued his stalking of Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger by calling him and waylaying him for an hour with a series of vague threats, wheedles, cajoling, insults and pure unadulterated flop sweat. As calls between Republicans often are, both men had at least one attorney present on their respective ends of the call. On Trump's end was Cleta Mitchell, a right wing shyster and turncoat who's either a Johnny-Come-Lately to the clown convention that is Trump's legal team or had successfully flown under the radar. For good measure, there was also Kurt Hilbert, another right wing shyster. On his end, Raffensberger was accompanied by Ryan Germany, his own legal counsel.

    The call was frightening to listen to in so many ways and on so many levels. And if we were as frightened as we should be by it and this ongoing cautionary tale written for us by dead men far wiser than most living ones today, we'd be invoking the 25th amendment right now to remove Trump from office before he does any more damage in the next 17 days.

    As with his legal strategy and his entire purloined "presidency", he was vague, rambling and his strategy of dealing with Raffensberger over the phone hadn't seemed to evolve since the previous times he'd called him to harangue him about the same election results. The transcripts and especially the recordings of the call should frighten us more because he shows Trump even more raw and unvarnished, as usual, in the first draft, without being sanded and smoothed over by a small army of White House flaks.

     The title of this article comes from Trump himself- "I just want to find 11,780 votes."

     President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes.

    In so many words, Trump was essentially asking Raffensberger to fudge the election results and Trump would've been perfectly happy winning the state by just one vote, which in itself is part and parcel to your typical Republican strategy- To win by 1% or, in Trump's case, by one vote, then crow about it being a "mandate." Forget the fact that Georgia's 16 electoral votes would still keep him hopelessly out of reach of a second term, with 58 more electoral votes still being needed for just a tie.

     He sounded as if he was coming apart at the seams, in real time, during a live call. It was the audio version of watching a sand castle melting down to a nub when the tide comes in at day's end. Trump yelled about ballots being scanned three times, about dead people voting, ballots being shredded, you name it. It was the sound a man makes when he sinks his own ship and is about to go down for that dreaded third time.

The Cuban Inquisition

What Republican scum are trying to do is set up a 10 day Spanish Inquisition for electoral results, essentially challenging only the states in which the aforementioned Republican scum don't agree with the results. Even Lindsey Graham, not exactly a bedrock of sanity himself, isn't on board with this. Thus far, this dream team of 12 right wing senators that, as Graham rightly said, has little chance of coming into existence, has been widely-panned on the mainstream media from Jake Tapper at CNN to Chuck Toddler on NBC. Even Fox & Frauds Weekend wants no part of it.
    Notably but typical of furtive Republican rat-fuckery, not one member of this Cuban Inquisition that was, presumably, dreamed up by Ted Cruz decided to go on Meet the Press this morning. Which is sort of odd since this is the last Sunday before the electoral college results will be certified by Mike Pence on Wednesday the 6th, usually, a hardly newsworthy event that's more a formality than anything else.
     But that was back in the good old days before every process of a general election became a hill upon which countless far right wing extremists have pledged to die. After Pence opens the envelope and announces Biden the winner, the climax in this Quixotic war waged, as always, by Donald Trump at the rear, will be Inauguration Day.
    He's already vaguely announced that something will happen on the 6th, although what he can't say. The last I'd heard, he didn't even have a venue. The Proud Boys are openly planning to disrupt the inauguration on the 20th in mufti. Who cares? The Secret Service, Park Rangers and DC Metro police will be there.
     We need to be very frightened not so much by the here and now because right now it's all blustering and impotent screaming by hyper-partisan idiots a sane person wouldn't trust to guard a pile of dog shit. And, yes, Donald Trump is just another one of those blustering big mouths who just has the loudest voice of all.
    No, the fear we ought to have is that a newer, improved version of Donald Trump, one more palatable to non-discerning voters, will step in to fill the void that Trump will leave in the right wing universe. It could be Josh Hawley, the once moderate Republican senator from Missouri who then decided to hurtle his body on the grinding, relentless gears of progress. It could be Ted Cruz. It could be any of them and every single one of them couldn't give a shit about that snake in the grass Trump. They're just trying to score brownie points with his red-toothed base, a writhing nest of venomous snakes in their own right, that they both underestimate and do not understand.
    Donald Trump has pummeled and softened up our democracy and its institutions that bind us together as a functioning Republic and it is weakened and reeling from the constant head and body blows that he has inflicted on it. The five and a half year-long fight had attracted a vicious crowd of 74,200,000 screaming fans that demand more. America is, simply, vulnerable to another Donald Trump, another Buzz Windrip, another fictional Charles Lindbergh, another  right wing opportunist who sees what the most vocal and enthusiastic base wants and steps in with promises to fill that aching need for white grievance, hatred and division.
     They are the ugly, misplaced heirloom that Donald Trump will leave behind on the mantle just above the fireplace in the Oval Office, ripe for the claiming.


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