The fallout continued yesterday from the massive data-dump disclosure of Trump’s taxes by the New York Times. While the GOP rattled sabers about possibly investigating how the Times obtained Trump’s taxes, cable news and social media were swamped with reaction, from ridicule of the president pretending he’s rich when he’s actually cash poor and massively in debt to discussion of potential criminal liability for his many dubious deductions to the profound national security risk his liabilities represent.
Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen repeated the claim last night that Donald Trump’s greatest fear is having his tax frauds discovered and being forced to pay back all the money he’s stolen from Uncle Sam. That prospect is much closer to reality now and it must have Trump terrified and desperate. He was tweeting late into the night, which is usually a sign that he’s stressed, and with his debate with Biden scheduled for this evening, Trump might show up a little frazzled. We can only hope.
Now that we know Trump has been cash-poor for a while, it’s possible that Trump acted against the national interest to obtain financial favors from any number of countries, like the Saudi delegation staying at his overpriced hotel, or that he’s been compromised by his pre-presidential lifestyle being funded with loans co-signed by oligarchs. But while his time in office may have created a host of conflicts of interest, national security breaches and foreign policy disasters, it’s also worth noting that Trump will be an enormous threat to our national security after he leaves office. What’s to stop him from selling national secrets to Putin in exchange for a Trump Tower Moscow, or a share in a lucrative pipeline deal, or a truck-load of bitcoin? Given that Trump has no ethics or scruples whatsoever, it’s horrifying to wonder what he will do when he’s no longer in office, especially if his empire is at risk from the law.
While cable news and liberal social media have been focused on Trump’s tax fraud and the looming Supreme Court theft, there are several narratives emerging from the Trump muck that we will have to fight against. Fox and other propaganda mills are telling voters that mail-in voting is rigged, that it’s rife with fraud, that China is somehow plotting to send millions of fraudulent ballots, and that we have to decide the outcome quickly or the election is invalid. But here is a fact. In every national election from 2010 to 2018, roughly a quarter of all votes cast were absentee or mailed-in. Our voting system is already set up for a large number of mail-in ballots, and there have been no documented instances of wide-scale voter fraud. Zero.
Mail-in voting fraud is a hoax that Trump and his supporters have latched onto because they know he’s losing and his only hope is to cast doubt on the process itself, poison the outcome, and hope to pull off some dirty legal tricks in the ensuing chaos. The only effective antidote to Trump’s malevolent strategy is to beat him decisively at the polls, and it seems possible that we can. But five Democrats are expected to vote by mail for every one Republican, so it’s also possible that Trump will be in the lead before the mail-in votes are fully counted. The people at the Lincoln Project believe that Trump’s defeat will be so clear and overwhelming that we won’t have to wait very long for Biden to be declared the winner, and let’s hope they’re right. But we have to brace ourselves and plan for longer fight. And part of that fight will require us to beat back the fiction that mail-in voting is somehow rigged. We’ll have to counter this narrative on social media, in letters to the editor, and in our discussions with friends and family. Mail-in voting is tried and tested. It’s safe and reliable. It has a solid track record, and the GOP have failed in the public sphere and in the courtroom to provide any evidence to the contrary.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”