In yet another blow to justice, decency and equality yesterday, a Kentucky grand jury failed to indict any of the police who shot Breonna Taylor in her sleep. (One cop was charged with a minor unrelated offense.) The news caused an immediate spasm of anger and mobilization as thousands of BLM activists took to the streets of Louisville and other cities in protest. Two police officers were wounded in a shooting at the Louisville protest and a suspect was arrested but the details of the incident were not yet available. Last night in Pittsburgh, in his latest Masque Of The Red Death rally, Trump mentioned the wounded officers but failed to mention the ongoing injustice surrounding Breonna Taylor’s killing, in keeping with his ongoing messaging of racism and white supremacy.
Much more horrifying were Trump’s comments yesterday to a reporter about whether, regardless of outcome, Trump would accept the election results and commit to a “peaceful transition of power?” Trump declined, saying, “We’re gonna have to see what happens.” He then repeated his lie about main-in ballots being a problem and said “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful–there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.”
His refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power, a cornerstone of our democracy, created a media firestorm with former government and Intel officials calling his comments chilling and unAmerican. Joe Biden asked, “What country do we live in?”
Trump’s grotesque comments came on the same day a blockbuster article was published in The Atlantic by Barton Gellman, confirming and expanding on Trump’s comments, which I beg you to read. The article goes into great detail about the ways in which Trump will challenge the election result, especially if it’s close and he’s losing. The nightmare scenario for Democrats is also the most likely scenario–that Trump is in the lead on election night based on in-person votes but his lead is slowly eroded in the following days as absentee and mail-in ballots are cast. Here’s a sample of what Republicans have been up to:
During the primaries this spring, Republican lawyers did dry runs for the November vote at county election offices around the country. An internal memo prepared by an attorney named J. Matthew Wolfe for the Pennsylvania Republican Party in June reported on one such exercise. Wolfe, along with another Republican lawyer and a member of the Trump campaign, watched closely but did not intervene as election commissioners in Philadelphia canvassed mail-in and provisional votes. Wolfe cataloged imperfections, taking note of objections that his party could have raised. There were missing signatures and partial signatures and signatures placed in the wrong spot. There were names on the inner security envelopes, which are supposed to be unmarked, and ballots without security envelopes at all. Some envelopes arrived “without a postmark or with an illegible postmark,” Wolfe wrote. (Watch for postmarks to become the hanging chads of 2020.) Some voters wrote their birthdate where a signature date belonged, and others put down “an impossible date, like a date after the primary election.”Barton Gellman, The Atlantic
For this and other reasons, I’m not going to mail-in my ballot. I’m either going to vote early or vote on election day. If I can shop at the grocery store safely, I can vote safely, and frankly we should be encouraging all Democrats who are not in a high-risk Covid category to vote in person. This election is too important–certainly more important than a bag of groceries or a haircut.
The most concerning aspect of this entire subject is just how weak and inadequate our laws are to provide clear guidance in case a President refuses to accept the outcome of the election. The founders pre-supposed that the loser would concede. But they never imagined an American as shameless and soulless and psychopathic as Donald Trump.
Trump is clearly scared shitless. We have to understand that his fear is animating his ever-more outrageous and extreme comments about the election. And we must not forget that many of the repulsive and horrifying things authoritarians say are mainly meant to demoralize us and exhaust us with our own rage. Trump is trying to kill our hope. We have to counter his bullshit about mail-in voting being bad, about our election system being rigged, about him somehow being in the lead. Those are all lies. And we have to do everything we can to get our friends and family to the polls, particularly in swing states. If voting by mail, we have to make sure our ballots are filled out properly. We also have to remind ourselves that just because New York State votes blue doesn’t mean our local races can’t be easily won by Republicans, so there’s no room for complacency or defeatism.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”