breaking democracy

I’m not an alarmist by nature. I’m not one of those people who worry a lot. I’ve never spent much time fretting about things over which I have little or no control. I can’t recall ever waking up because I was worried about something.

Until this morning. I woke up a little after 0500 this morning, worried. Why? Because Donald Trump is trying to break democracy — and I genuinely don’t know how alarmed we should be about it.

The more rational part of my brain is saying, “Dude, chill the fuck out. This is Donald Trump we’re talking about. Ain’t no way this guy could pull that off. He’s too stupid and too lazy to break democracy.” And I believe that to be true. If it was just Trump, I wouldn’t be worrying. But Trump has surrounded himself with venal, amoral, self-serving, dishonest, corrupt assholes. In other words, he’s surrounded himself with people just like himself, but smarter, more competent, and more energetic.

Even with that information, I wasn’t really worried. And then a friend — Sue Wilkinson, living in what I like to think is a small idyllic village in England — alerted me to this:

It’s a long video — sixteen minutes. If you skipped right over it and kept reading, I understand. But I’d encourage you to make the time to watch the whole thing at some point. It will scare the holy shit right out of you, but watch it anyway.

Because this is a thing we actually NEED to think about. Trump is actually PULLING THIS SHIT RIGHT NOW. He’s refusing to concede the election. He’s encouraging his followers to disrupt the election process and reject the results. Even though he has no evidence of fraud, he’s suing various states to overturn their election results. He’s actually accusing state governments — some of which are governed by his own political party — of committing crimes. He’s trying to stop the states he lost from certifying their results. And he’s got his pet Attorney General, Bill Barr, to ignore the Justice Department’s longstanding tradition of staying out of election investigations until after the results are in and certified.

But there’s more. Trump’s head of the General Services Administration has refused to sign the paperwork releasing the money and resources for Uncle Joe Biden’s transition team. In fact, throughout the federal government, Trump’s political appointees have ordered their staffs NOT to work with the Biden transition team. It’s like every Trump appointee in the entire government has their fingers stuck in their ears so they won’t have to hear that they’re out of a job. They are deliberately dodging their responsibilities to the America people.

And there’s still more. While he’s pulling all that other selfish undemocratic shit, Trump is also actively dismantling the US national security system. Yesterday Trump fired his third Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper (who replaced Trump’s second SecDef, Patrick Shanahan, who replaced Trump’s first SecDef, James Mattis). When asked about the possibility of being fired, Esper said this:

“I could have a fight over anything, and I could make it a big fight, and I could live with that. Why? Who’s going to come in behind me? It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us.”

To be clear, Esper was about 75% a ‘yes man’. Still got his ass fired. Lots of people expect Trump to also fire Christopher Wray, his third FBI Director (after Andrew McCabe, who replaced James Comey — and it’s worth remember that the FBI Director is appointed for a ten year term in order to keep the director separate from politics). Trump is also said to be considering firing CIA Director Gina Haspel (who is, that’s right, his third CIA Director).

None of this is a surprise. A lot of us thought this was a possibility. Even a probability. But even knowing that Trump was likely to pull this shit, I still wasn’t really worried. Until that video taught me something I didn’t know. I knew that if the election mess ended up in the House of Representatives, they could hold a contingency election. They could ignore everything that happened before — the popular vote, the electoral vote — and elect a new president all on their own. But I DID NOT KNOW how a contingency election worked.

It works like this: there are 50 states with 435 voting members — 232 Democrats, 197 Republicans, and a single Libertarian (5 seats are vacant). Each state gets a single vote. The individual members of the House vote to determine how their state will vote. For example, the 53 members of California’s delegation would vote to determine how California’s single vote will be cast. Montana’s three members of Congress decide how Montana’s single vote will be cast. Nebraska’s three members of Congress decide how Nebraska would vote. It doesn’t matter that California has eight times as many representatives as Montana and Nebraska combined, and represents nearly 40 million US citizens, whereas Nebraska and Montana represents a total of about three million. What counts is that Montana and Nebraska would get two Republican votes and California would get one Democratic vote. Democrats may have more members of Congress and represent more citizens, but Republicans control more individual states.

So IF Trump and his people fuck up the post-election process to the point where the decision has to be made by the House of Representatives, a minority of Republicans in the House could literally override the electoral college vote and the popular vote and install Donald Trump as POTUS. That’s fucked up, right there.

That could actually happen. I’ve no idea how likely or unlikely it is. I’d like to believe it’s highly improbable. But I believed Trump’s election in the first place was highly improbable. The thing is, it COULD happen. I’ve no doubt at all that Trump wouldn’t hesitate to break democracy if he thought it would help him. And IF it happens — IF Trump somehow retains the presidency — it would shatter the notion of representative democracy into thousands of tiny misshapen pieces. It would probably be impossible to put them back together again.

That’s why I was awake at five o’clock in the morning.

27 thoughts on “breaking democracy

  1. I had the same thoughts during the coverage of election returns. Had the Electoral College totals tied at 269, as was looking possible for a while, the same scenario would have played out. There is no depth to which Trump or the GOP won’t go to hold on to power. Trump, of course, also needs to avoid prosecution, so he has that extra little bit of incentive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh lawdy, really?

      Let’s see…Trump is alleging massive national election fraud without providing any actual evidence in an election in which he’s losing the popular vote by over four million votes as well as the electoral college vote.

      Gore, on the other hand, wasn’t alleging any election fraud. He was contesting whether some votes made on a punch-style ballot in one state should be disqualified if the punch failed to completely disconnect the ballot paper.

      If you can’t see the difference, then you don’t have a grasp on the fundamentals of a fair election.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I am awake with you! I can’t shake this uneasy feeling!! … “I’ve no doubt at all that Trump wouldn’t hesitate to break democracy if he thought it would help him. And IF it happens – IF Trump somehow retains the presidency – it would shatter the notion of representative democracy into thousands of tiny misshapen pieces. It would probably be impossible to put them back together again.”


  3. I do wonder about Van Jones … I’ve seen a video by Don Winslow Films where he’s totally associating with the Trump people. Haven’t seen this one yet but I will …. Take a look at this one!!


    • Van Jones isn’t a Republican. He’s a longtime progressive who has occasionally taken positions I disagree with. He defended Tulsi Gabbard against accusations that she was a Russian shill and apologist (I think she was and is). He also agreed to offer advice to the Trump administration on police reform after George Floyd was murdered (that didn’t last long, because the Trump administration wasn’t serious about police reform).

      I sometimes disagree with Jones, but look at his long record of progressive activism.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rest easy(er). Parts of the Democratic Establishment are already thinking of how to counter an attempted coup and there is solid Constitutional precedent for the House Majority to refuse to seat enough Republicans on Jan. 3 to create 26 state delegations with a Dem. majority.

    Here is where Pelosi could step in and show herself to be the Democrats’ answer to McConnell. Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution gives the House majority the authority to “judge” any contested elections. Historically, the House has used that power to refuse to seat new members in contested races pending an investigation or a new vote. In 2018, for example, the House refused to seat the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th District after a GOP operative was caught committing fraud to swing the race.


    As one example, former 9/11 Commission vice chairman and Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton, former Secretary of Defense and Republican Sen. William S. Cohen, and scholar Alton Frye have argued that the House majority should “refuse to seat a state delegation achieved through excessive gerrymandering,” because those gerrymanders have begun to place the “integrity of the House … in doubt.” Indeed, the Wisconsin delegation has been so gerrymandered that it is controlled by Republicans 5–3 even though Democrats won the statewide House vote by 7.5 points in 2018. Say Democrats win the statewide House margin by 10 points in 2020, but Republicans retain control because of extreme partisan gerrymandering and are set to tip the election in a contingent election to Trump despite a landslide against them and him in the state. How legitimate would that result be?


    As Boies, Hamilton, Cohen, and Frye all noted, when the Supreme Court ruled against invalidating North Carolina’s gerrymandered maps in last year’s Rucho v. Common Cause, it said explicitly that gerrymandering presented “political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” If it were truly a political question beyond the reach of the federal courts, then the political branch of Congress could choose to remedy it by refusing to seat a heavily gerrymandered delegation until state officials created maps that reflected the will of their voters. “I think it is not unreasonable for the House to say we’re not going to seat these people until this problem is corrected,” Boies said.


    Boies ran Gore’s legal team in 2000. He’s as Dem. Establishment as you get and clearly had spent some time thinking of how to prevent a repeat of Bush v. Gore. If he’s speaking about this tactic to the press, I’m sure he’s briefed Pelosi.

    At this point even Fox News has called the election for Biden. To any voter who’s not completely submerged into the fever swamp of the right, it will look like Trump is trying to pull off a judicial coup. If it’s looking iffy at the end of December it looks like he’ll succeed, we all need to go into the streets and force Pelosi to do what McConnell would do and use every arrow in her quiver. If she does so, we’ll have a President Biden (though maybe a VP Pence 🤮)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have come to the conclusion that you are no better than the tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist you claim to loath. You dismiss any and all evidence to anything that contradicts your opinions. You are no better than AOC who looks to create lists of Trump supporters to make sure they “pay” for not falling in line with the “right people”. Wow, does that sound familiar or what?

    You continue to repeat lies, make assumptions, and dismiss facts. Just because you do not like the evidence of voter irregularities and voting rules being changed last minute, does not make it right. Trump has every right to contest this just as Gore did. Trump has broken no laws and has had to fight again dems, establishment republicans, and the media for 4 years.

    You NEVER got over losing 2016 and suddenly you want the rest of us to roll over and take it after you have been dishing it out for 4 years, give me a effing break.

    The person I feel sorry for the most here is Biden. The man is a shell of what he was and is nothing more than a puppet and a conduit to get the far left agenda pushed. He never wanted Kamala as the VP, they were nearly 100% opposite on that debate stage. But once he won the nomination the powers that run Biden forced him to take her on because they know full well it will be a miracle if he lasts a full year in office.

    So sit back and enjoy the ride. Trump and his supporters are not going anywhere. And the fact that he got so many votes and that the supposed blue wave was not even a ripple, should tell you you are on the wrong side of history here.

    See you in the Supreme Court.


    • What actual “evidence of voter irregularities” is there? The only evidentiary claims that have actually been brought by Republicans to the courts have been summarily dismissed and rejected. Trump and his supporters — and a lot of loopy people online — have made a lot of wild statements of ‘evidence’ but they haven’t backed up any of it IN THE COURTS.

      Pennsylvania — nothing that would change the outcome. Michigan — “This court finds that while there are assertions made by the plaintiffs that there is no evidence in support of those assertions.” Arizona — Republicans in the state dropped the ‘Sharpie’ lawsuit on Saturday. Georgia — “The court finds that there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7:00 p.m. on [Election Day], thereby making those ballots invalid.” Case dismissed. Nevada — There is “little to no evidence that the machine is not doing what it’s supposed to do and incorrectly verifying other signatures.” Suit was rejected.

      Not a single court in the nation has accept any of the material claims made by Trump’s legal teams. Or do you think every court that’s heard these cases are also part of this conspiracy?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was going to ask the same thing. I keep hearing about this “obvious voter fraud,” but don’t see any evidence of this obvious fraud anywhere. Where is it?


      • It has been a coup since 2016 with the media, Hollywood, and the democrats in office in cahoots to destroy a presidency. I’m sorry but you have 4 fucking years of the MSM lying through their teeth about Trump. A false russian document used to attack Trump for years. A document filled with lies and made up stories. Every single accomplishment of Trump was hidden from public view by the media and every possible negative story, no matter who false it was, was glorified for days and weeks on end. This is not just about votes, this has been about the disenfranchising of half of the voting electorate by the Democrats and their unpaid political machine in the MSM.

        The behavior of the democrats and the MSM have been downright treasonous in their attempts to misguide and lie to America and the world. Then you add in the pollsters for the last year lying through their blackened teeth about this massive blue wave in order to suppress the vote even more and to help create cover for the fraud that is taking place.

        this is why an INVESTIGATION is needed, to get to the truth. You know, like that 2 year Russia bullshit investigation that proved Trump did nothing wrong. The man and his voters are owed 2 years at least because of the lies of the democrats.

        So I hope this goes on for months and in the end ACB casts the deciding vote to toss out ballots that were illegally gotten and counted and Trump gets his 4 more years.


      • This is not just about votes, this has been about the disenfranchising of half of the voting electorate by the Democrats and their unpaid political machine in the MSM

        Okay. Then explain to me how ‘half of the voting electorate’ was disenfranchised when we had record voter turnout in 42 of the 50 states. And while you’re at it, explain to me how ‘pollsters’ suppressed the Republican vote when nearly 72 million people voted for Trump (and nearly 75 million voted for Biden).

        Billy, you make a lot of claims, but you don’t supply any evidence to support them.


      • Greg, it is the same way voters are somehow disenfranchised by requiring and ID to vote. You say having such a requirement disenfranchises voters of only black and brown skin color yet there is no evidence of that happening. But regardless, voter ID laws get shot down. So, using at least that logic, I am telling you that having the MSM and the pollsters lies to the voters for over 4 years (longer if you include Hillary) has diminished the number of votes for Trump.

        The media makes lies and accusations about Trump. They ignore all the good he has done. The polls lie in an attempt to give credibility to the lies by making everyone seem to think that the vast majority of people in the US believe the lies and thuis hate Trump. Then you create a machine by which Trump voters are suppressed by making continued claims that all Trump voters are evil, racist, bigots, homophobes, etc. etc.The MSM keeps up the narrative. The elected Democrats support the narrative and continue the lie. Violence against Trump supporters goes nearly unreported while a kid defending himself against being killed is front page news and he is now facing life in prison for doing so. A couple who defended their property from rioters who literally broke down gates to trespass on their property are being prosecuted as criminals while the criminals who broke the law are being ignored and lauded as heros.

        I know you do not care because all you care about is your side winning. You do not give a fuck about truth and fairness unless it is of course your truth or something that is fair to you. Biden was never vetted by the media, just like Obama never was. The MSM wrapped their blankets around the both of them in both elections and got them elected. You can ignore it and pretend it did not happen all you want but the rest of us who witnessed it know the truth. If the media had done it’s job and reported facts and truths and left opinions to the opinion people, Trump would have had Reagan-like ratings and would have been elected in a landslide.

        And all of this is on top of the fact that the mail in ballots pushed in mass were ripe with fraud potential. The ONLY reason you do not care is because you know the vast majority of mail in voters are dems. If the vast majority of mail in voters were republicans you would be screaming bloody murder and you know it.


      • it is the same way voters are somehow disenfranchised by requiring and ID to vote

        Public polling isn’t voter disenfranchisement, even if you dislike the result of the polling. Disenfranchisement is a structural or organizational barrier that prevents a person exercising the right to vote or makes it more difficult to vote. A poll that says your candidate is losing may be personally discouraging, but it doesn’t in any way prevent you from voting.

        Requiring an ID does prevent some people from voting.

        Trump voters are suppressed by making continued claims that all Trump voters are evil, racist, bigots, homophobes

        I worked as an election official this year. Unless a voter is wearing an item of clothing identifying a candidate preference, there is NO WAY to tell if a voter is a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, a Trump supporter, or a Biden supporter. As far as that goes, if you wore a shirt that said ‘God Hates Fags’ to the polls, you’d still be allowed to vote.

        You do not give a fuck about truth and fairness

        If you believe that, stop reading this blog. And if you ever accuse me of not caring about truth or fairness again, I’ll block you. I’m okay with folks disagreeing with me, but I’ve no patience for that sort of hateful insult.


      • So you will call Trump voters racist but get worked up when I call you out on not being about truth? Come on man (channeling my inner Joe). you have flat out ignored the fact that Biden is cognitively impaired. The WHite House Dr. that served under Biden and Obama even made this claim. If you have ever lived around someone who is losing their mental abilities you know the signs pretty damn quickly. But you flat out refuse to accept that you supported a man who does not or will not have the mental fitness to run this nation before his term in office is up. You can say what you want about Trump and his crudeness or crass talk, but the man is a mental giant and has the stamina of a 20 year old.

        You fail to admit that during the entire election Biden was never challenged by the press and in the very, very rare times a sei tough question was asked, Biden blew it off and called the reporter a name or walked away. You have a double standard, the russian dossier is ok to investigate even though the author does not stand behind it and it was funded by the DNC, but the Biden laptop is 100% Russian disinformation and should not even be looked into at all. Period. So spare me your uppity “don’t say I am not about the truth or else I will block you”. Go ahead and block me. It would be par for the course for most anyone on the leftist,, progressive side. Silence anyone who may go against what you think,, feel, believe. You must be one of those social media types who blocks friends once you realized they were conservatives. I know a lot of libs who I have know for over 20 years, who could not handle that I had a different view and blocked me. I, on the other hand, have never blocked anyone for having a differing opinion, thought, or god forbid, call me a name.

        But you be you Greg. get rid of anything that is not an echo of your master race of thought.


      • Dude, if you think the usps was not fucked up before Trump you have been living under a rock for 30 years.


    • “Dude, if you think the usps was not fucked up before Trump you have been living under a rock for 30 years.”

      But Trump did it to suppress the vote.


  6. You are not the only one and are correct to be worried. Look at the last four years. Mitch & Co. will bend and break every norm and rule in their lust to cling to power. I would like to think that they will realize that reversing the results of an election will open up a serious can of worms that nobody should be messing with…but at this point, they are so blinded by their arrogance and “we can get away with anything” attitude, that they probably won’t.

    My real celebration will come on Inauguration Day. I will continue to be nervous until then….

    Liked by 1 person

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