If you haven’t voted already, please vote tomorrow in our local elections. Local races matter, especially in the era of Trump. As long as Republicans retain political power they will continue to deny Americans decent healthcare, common sense gun control, environmental protections, educational support, reproductive freedom, and more. These aren’t just national issues–they can be attacked and degraded at a local level, especially in the areas of funding and zoning. Our local politicians can also build support and momentum for our national reps. Use your power and vote!
Award-winning journalist and best-selling author Kurt Eichenwald posted a long tweet yesterday on Trump’s Imperial presidency that’s worth sharing and considering as we approach 2020. It’s a worst case scenario, but we should all be aware of what a worst case could look like:
For those who don’t understand the fragility of American democracy in the hands of an unscrupulous autocrat – a scenario never imagined possible by the Founders under our Constitution – the cancellation of elections is quite simple and arguably legal. Which is why I fear for 2020. It all comes down to presidential emergency powers. They are poorly defined in the Constitution and under law. They are enormous and Trump clearly has been told that – remember how trump keeps saying he can do *anything* under the Constitution. Back when there was Japanese internment, Justice Robert Jackson wrote of this power in his dissent that it “lies about like a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.” We have already seen Trump do this without consequence to override congress to pay for his wall. Nothing can stop him because he said “emergency” and there is nothing to stop him.
So, it’s October 25, 2020. Polls show that trump is going to lose in a landslide. He announces a national emergency – we have evidence ”that millions of illegal aliens are conspiring to vote and undermine our democracy. Therefore, I am declaring a national emergency, suspending elections until this corruption is weeded out.” And that’s it. People can sue, but his powers are broad enough and his corrupt judiciary would have to knock it down. And even if it did, there is nothing in the Constitution that says he has to abide by the ruling. Just the courts own interpretations. He can argue that Marbury v Madison does not apply in emergencies, and who can stop him? Ok, now suppose the people take up arms or Does anything but acquiesce. Trump can declare this an insurrection and suspend habeas corpus, meaning they can lock up anyone they want. Lincoln did this and while it stretches the Constitution – the section on habeas corpus appears under article one, but never says who has the power to suspend and Trump can simply say, as Lincoln did, I have that power. He also has the authority to shut down the internet or all communications. While technically the electors are supposed to cast ballots, they can’t without an election victor. And without an electoral vote, The president cannot be removed. This is all legal. And does ANYONE believe, given he know this, that Trump won’t CONSIDER doing it? A man who publicly stated in 2016 that he might not accept the outcome of the election who, with the approval of the GOP, declared his opponents as traitors, demanded the imprisonments of political adversaries, declared the press to be the enemy of the people, has spoken longingly of never leaving office, who is besties with every autocrat and hates every democracy. Yes, as Justice Jackson said, the president – in this case trump – has a loaded gun and we have to simply trust that he won’t use it or that the republicans will join democrats to stop him. And I do not believe for one second that they will say whatever rationale for the “emergency” that trump cooks up is bogus. Just like they talked about evil hordes who didn’t exist coming into the United States, they have been saying those same hordes are voting. And they’ll say it when Trump suspends elections so FOR GODS SAKE stop the nonsense of raging over whether there is a public option or Medicare for all as a primary voting issue, or whether someone is a “corporate democrat” or a “socialist”. None of that matters this time. We are IN this position because idiots did not recognize what was at stake in 2016, played silly games about “both sides are equally bad.” This is the same game that was played in the German federal elections in 1932, where people voting for the “can’t win” candidate gave enormous power to Hitler just three years later, Hitler declared a national emergency, dissolved the legislature and called for new elections. And soon after that, the “protest” candidate and his supporters were locked up. Can’t happen here? I never thought it could. Then again, I never thought that any political party would ever support an imperial executive and usurpation of power by a president declaring he is above the law. The GOP has shown that, if they can make an argument, no matter how irrational or false, they will justify anything the bottom line: bad stuff could be coming. It is not outside the realm of possibility. It would not even be illegal or unconstitutional. And it will end the great American experiment in democracy. But rich people will do very very well.
(Ellipses removed, bold emphasis mine)
Just to lighten the mood, Trump was in NYC on Saturday night to attend an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) match at Madison Square Garden and upon being announced as he entered the arena a chorus of boos clearly outweighed the cheers. Trump surely thought he would be facing a friendly crowd, so he was humiliated for the second time in a week at a large sporting event. Whenever he leaves his protective bubble he incurs the wrath of the general public.
The Republican party has been hijacked and dragged into the sewer by Trump. It may never recover, but if we don’t vote Republicans out of power we may never get a second chance. Trump is an authoritarian and if the GOP never holds him accountable our republic is in trouble, as Eichenwald’s essay warns. We need to treat every election, both national and local, as a life or death challenge. Please vote tomorrow and urge your like-minded friends to vote too.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office” if he isn’t removed first.