The main political event of the weekend was the Sunday interview of Trump by Chris Wallace of Fox. Wallace skews conservative but he’s a real journalist, one of the few in the Fox universe. And it may just be that Wallace understands the catastrophic failure that the Trump presidency has become, and how it will be viewed by history, because he asked some hard questions and challenged Trump on his lies like few other journalists have in recent memory.
Social media and traditional media alike were buzzing about the dishonesty, lunacy and malignancy of Trump’s statements. Here are the two main points:
- Trump lied about the state of the pandemic in the USA, repeating his usual lies about testing creating cases and how we have the lowest mortality rate.
- Wallace asked Trump if he would accept the outcome of the election if he lost. Trump insisted that it depended on the circumstance.
The NY Times has an excellent summary of the important lies and disagreements from the interview. Here’s a link:
Perhaps the most ludicrous moment (of many) came when Trump began bragging about recently passing a cognitive test, and how hard it was. Wallace challenged him, saying he too had taken the test recently. Trump insisted it was SO hard and that he had gotten every question right, especially the last five questions! Wallace replied that the last one was merely counting backward from 100 by seven, and began, “ninety three…”.
Rumor was spreading Sunday night that “Moscow” Mitch McConnell (aka “The Grim Reaper”) scheduled an emergency meeting with Trump this morning to plead with him about his sagging poll numbers, which seem to be dragging down-ballot candidates with him. Trumpublicans fear that the Senate could flip if the polls remain constant. If Trump keeps doing crazy interviews and desperately scrambling to “look good,” Biden and the Democrats won’t need to do much, just stay calm and act like adults.
We need to watch out for several things. One, we need to be prepared for Trump to challenge the election result. If it’s not a close election, Trump might still claim that there was massive mail-in voter fraud. We also need to be prepared for the possibility that the election is manipulated by Russia, China or domestic bad actors. All it takes is to hack voting machines or tallying machines or voter rolls in several swing states to produce a result where Trump wins by the slimmest of margins even though the polls and exit polls show him losing. It would be a crushing blow to Democracy, but also a horrible constitutional crisis. This is not out of the realm of possibility.
We also need to be prepared for Trump to enact policies between now and the election to curry favor with certain groups. Trump said yesterday that he was going to replace the ACA with something much better in the next few weeks. He also may try to enact a policy on immigration to appease the Latino vote. Here’s great coverage in Axios by Alayna Treene and Stef W. Kight on the possible (though sketchy) implications to presidential power of the recent Supreme Court Decision on DACA:
Any policy Trump enacts would likely be bogus or smoke-and-mirrors so we must be ready to explain to friends and neighbors why it’s just a hollow, cynical ploy for votes.
We also can’t ignore the outrageous stuff happening in Portland, Oregon, where unmarked federal agents–secret police–have been confronting BLM demonstrators and whisking them away in unmarked vehicles. The troops are apparently from Customs and Border Patrol, under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security. They are not in Portland to ensure peaceful protest. They’re there to escalate and confront protesters and create a crisis to further Trump’s narrative that our streets are on fire and the country is out of control–“and only I can fix it!” Democratic lawmakers and the ACLU are suing the DHS to stop the troops, claiming that such action is unconstitutional and unwanted by local law enforcement. It’s a chilling situation. But of course, the conservatives who have spent decades arming themselves while warning of government overreach and Obama stormtroopers have disappeared into silence.
There was a Black Lives Matter rally in our area this weekend. An impressive crowd estimated to be 400 activists showed up on Saturday in Pleasant Valley despite the heat. Protesters with signs and banners gathered (wearing masks and social distancing) near the Pleasant Valley Town Hall in what seemed a very successful event. About 200 counter protesters gathered nearby to support police, and the two sides got into several verbal altercations and had to be separated by police. Here’s coverage in the Poughkeepsie Journal. Kudos to all who showed up.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”