• Say You Want a Revolution?

    October 31, 2020

    Posted in: 2020, Democracy

    So you say you want a revolution? Or a coup, or an overthrow, or just a bit of the old ultra-violence, anarchy, les barricades? Apparently so. Journalists, politicians, and academics, almost of whom haven’t thrown a punch in anger since fifth grade, are advocating, planning, and warning us soon the SHTF (look it up, but the last word is “fan.”) Stuff (not exactly the first word) that used to be exclusive to preppers, FEMA teams, and guys with only a “Joker was Right” T-shirts outside in mid-February is now openly spoken of across the country.

    There are a couple of overlapping blasts. Trump can win only by cheating, thus if he wins, that is proof he cheated and the election is unfair and he is also a witch. Trump will lose the election (apparently he isn’t good at cheating) but refuse to cede power to Biden. No one wins the election and Trump steals it using his cabal of Supreme Court justices and/or some sort of civil war breaks out. A final category are academics writing in the third person predicting pretty much the same thing but using the historical wrapping paper of Weimar (the favorite), Rome, or 1914 WWI, maybe with Kathy Griffin’s assassination in a Central Park horse carriage as the trigger event.

    Paul Krugman of the NYT Nobel prepper team says there are “substantial odds that America as we know it will be damaged or even destroyed” by the election. He tells us to “expect violence from Trump supporters, maybe lots of it, both to disrupt voting on Election Day and in the days that follow” until Trump “stops counting of absentee ballots, claims massive fraud, and probably tries to get the Supreme Court to overturn the result.” Krugman’s battle buddy in the Times’ bunker Thomas Friedman says America today reminds him of the Beruit at war with itself he covered as a cub reporter. Team Krugman are trying to preemptively discredit the election results in the event Trump does win, much as they did with his 2016 victory. The new twist is preparing us for the violence they seemingly wish will be a part of it.

    Over at The Nation, now largely serving as the antifa house journal, they skip the how-he-did-it and assume Trump simply remains in power. The writer’s concern is “we have the moral high ground. But we don’t have, frankly, the military leadership in place to direct a guerrilla campaign against an illegitimate regime. We don’t have a government-in-exile waiting to take power. We don’t have international allies. We don’t have an underground network of spies and saboteurs… but we can lay our bodies down in front of the tanks.” Any hope for the rule of law? Nope. “The Supreme Court too is, fundamentally, an antidemocratic institution run by people who are not subject to the popular will of our diverse society.”

    America, take a deep breath. Exhale slowly.

    I’m aware believing you are the only sane person in the room is a sign of mental illness, but that is the way things feel. People from Op-Ed writers to Candidate Biden (who believes Trump will not voluntarily leave office) to former colleagues I once revered for their ability to stay cool under stress are predicting or calling for riots and revolution, coups and looming dictatorships, right up to actual civil war. Almost no one seems think we are capable of just having an election. It is the expected end of four years of TDS, with the looming crisis always having to top the previous false ones.

    First, the irony. It was in fact the Democrats who refused to accept the results of the 2016 election, trying everything from self-delusion to claiming the Electoral College didn’t count to calling for recounts to writing the equivalent of Federalist Papers fan fiction trying to make up some alternate scenario where Trump lost. After all that failed, they quickly pivoted to a four year effort to throw Trump out once seated that ran the gamut from empty Emoluments Clause lawsuits to delegitimization via Russiagate to outright impeachment to demands to invoke the 25th Amendment for increasingly bizarre non-reasons. There were mini-versions of the same with Democrat Andrew Gilliam in Florida and everyone’s sweetheart Stacey Abrams not accepting the election results that made them losers. So in terms of not respecting the democratic process, it is the Democrats who have brought the gusto.

    The reality is there is no rational basis to expect Trump to act unconstitutionally. Sadly, people already delusional with a horrible track record of predicting events (that war with North Korea start yet?) have misinterpreted, exaggerated, or just made things up. One example — Trump calling for poll watchers morphed within minutes into him ordering militia groups to disrupt voting. Poll watching is a valid protection for our democratic system. Sign up here.

    It is also pretty hard to “steal an election.” Most dictators who steal elections do so by not having them, or allowing only themselves on the ballot. The intense presidential campaign now in its final stages is proof enough democracy is still quite alive. If Trump wanted to be dictator, why is he bothering with the election process at all? Why wouldn’t he just order his robot army into the field today?

    And guess what: elections are run on the hyper-local level, with yokels in small towns in charge and the Feds nowhere to be seen. Under a statute on the books since 1948, anyone who sends “any [federal] troops or armed men at any place where a general or special election is held” faces prison. Anything Trump demands along those lines would be an unlawful order troops would be required to refuse. Challenges to ballots are a part of the system, and there are long-standing procedures in place to resolve differences. More potentially manipulable things like whether to count ballots mailed before but received after Election Day are being resolved in preelection litigation at the state level. Attorney General Barr can play no role and is not. Court challenges have actually made it easier for more people to vote early and by mail than ever before. It is childishly simple to say “Trump will declare martial law” or whatever brings in the viewers, much much harder to outline in detail how many tens of thousands of people across 50 states would have to break the law to make it even begin to happen.

    The idea of Trump refusing the leave the Oval Office is simply silly. Sitting in the Oval Office does not make you president. Having people throughout government act on your orders makes you president. If no one listens to Trump he is not president. Just unplug the phones. A technician invalidating the nuclear codes in the Football would likely be enough to shut everyone up. Any further problem could be solved by a decent nightclub bouncer. As for the military, the left has signaled multiple times over the last four years they’d be OK with some sort of coup, and in each instance the military explicitly stated no thanks. And how often under far more dire circumstances has the American military refused to follow lawful orders? This ain’t Bolivia, folks.

    As for people throwing themselves under tank tracks, or right wing militias battling the Secret Service to keep Trump in office, get a grip. All the macho talk misses one point: very few people are willing to die because of Trump. It seems easy to extrapolate some rioters playing rough with the cops into, whatever, the Russian Revolution, but Americans aren’t starving. Those antifa rioters all went home to apartments with Netflix. No secret police kicked down their door and the KKK didn’t come and take their babies away. A night in jail where they secretly know no real harm will come to them? Sure, street cred. But charge a machine gun? Throw themselves under a tank? Please, these are people are so worried about dying they wear paper masks in their own car enroute to buy gluten-free products. Everyone thinks they are GI Joe until the first rounds crack in.

    People are going to storm the White House? And that Secret Service sniper who trained his whole life for this moment is going to refuse a righteous order and let someone set fire to the place because of his quiet commitment to a medicare for all? The FBI was inside the right wing militia scheme in Michigan for months. It’s fun for people like the Proud Boys to do Army man cosplay, but the reason they are strutting around here is they don’t really want to stand a post in Afghanistan and risk getting killed. Sure, incidents will occur. After all, we are Americans, hateful, savage, and armed to the freaking teeth. But a revolution requires people desperate enough today that dying tonight seems a reasonable compromise. Too many journalists writing this trash still have their Che T-shirt from undergrad.

    Far too many of us seem to truly believe if Trump succeeds in taking over via some violent or unconstitutional means, that’s it for America, and most of the unbelievers who comment here will wash up in Q-Anon reeducation camps. I happen to know while the guard jobs will be outsourced to North Korea (what do you think Trump and Kim talked about?) the actual camp management will be done by vetted young Americans via a revamped Teach for America program. For each person who leaves a comment below on this article, I will personally intervene on their behalf to see they get an extra ration of Freedom Gruel, made with Ma Pence’s own recipe.

    So humor doesn’t help either? I tried straight talk, I’ve tried facts, so how about shame? A few months from now when none of this happened perhaps the people who have been abysmally wrong for four years will feel some shame for making peoples’ lives darker and feel more fragile than they needed to be. Those who predicted economic depression and caused people to wrongly sell off stocks, or those who ruined lives, jobs, and educations with politically motivated lockdowns, maybe one of them for a moment will reflect and seek some sort of moral or intellectual redemption. Yeah, right.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Recent Comments

    • jo6pac said...

      1

      The trumpster has a lot legal tools he can use thanks to demodogs and repugs.

      https://harpers.org/archive/2020/11/the-enemies-briefcase-secret-powers-of-the-presidency/

      The sad thing is he’ll be replaced with biden.

      10/31/20 4:17 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe said...

      2

      Double portions of Freedom Gruel?! Yum, sign me up! So who’s gonna stay up to watch the election coverage tomorrow night? And more importantly what’ll you be drinking?

      11/2/20 10:57 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      3

      Joe: A Sierra Nevada Narwhal (maybe two) but in my basement office space/music studio. The TV -with no cable- is on the third floor and very very rarely turned on.

      11/4/20 12:36 PM | Comment Link

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