potzer

Years ago, when I lived in Manhattan, I was noodling around Washington Square Park and saw a couple of chess hustlers nearly come to blows. Not over a game of chess exactly, but because–wait. Yes, there are actual chess hustlers in NYC. Anything that can be hustled is being hustled in NYC. A good chess hustler can make a couple hundred dollars a day, playing tourists and chess enthusiasts for, say, three to five bucks a match. Mostly you’ll find them hustling in the parks–Washington Square Park, Central Park, Union Park.

Okay, back to the almost-fight. It wasn’t over a chess match. It was almost a fight because one chess hustler had called another a potzer. A small crowd had gathered; I turned to the guy next to me–another chess hustler–and asked him, “What’s a potzer?” He gave me a look that basically said, “If you have to ask….” Another told me a potzer was “a wood-pusher,” which I interpreted as an incompetent chess player. A third guy said, in a growly Eastern European accent, “Is Yiddish. Or German. An insult.”

I love a good insult. Potzer, it turns out, is a great insult. It doesn’t mean somebody who’s merely incompetent. It doesn’t mean somebody who is simply an amateur. It means a bungler, somebody who’s not as good as they think they are, a wanna-be who’s really a never-can-be but doesn’t recognize it. A potzer may have a rudimentary understanding of a particular skill set, but is ill-informed, clumsy at the actual skills necessary, and confused about the point.

It’s an insult usually restricted to chess players, but I think it can be applied to almost anything. Like politics. Matt Gaetz is a potzer. Comrade Trump, a potzer. Gym Jordan, Josh Hawley, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Marjorie Taylor Greene–hell, the entire Republican Party in Congress, all potzers.

These people are NOT in Congress to legislate. They’re there to perform. They’re not there to work for the common good; they’re there to draw an audience and keep their attention. While they may have the rudimentary understanding of governance, they lack both the skills necessary to accomplish it and the desire to follow through. Mainly, they’re in Congress to seize the public’s attention by creating wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades. Gaetz actually described his political ‘agenda’ as elevating his profile. He said:

“The way that you’re able to elevate your profile in Washington is to drive conflict, because conflict is interesting. And I think that the really powerful people in this town are the ones that can go on television and make an argument, and that’s power that leadership can never take away from you.”

Matt Gaetz, potzer.

Go on television, get power. That’s why he’s in Congress. Gaetz and his ilk (ooh, a tangent…ilk is derived from the Proto-Germanic ilīkaz, meaning ‘a body’. And ilīkaz is also the root term for lich, which refers to a re-animated corpse, which somehow seems appropriate when speaking about the modern GOP) operate on the belief that somehow power and authority are a product of the number of people who are paying attention to you. That’s why they rarely address actual legislative issues (which tend to be rather dull and unexciting) and focus instead on flashy distractions. Like ‘radical libs attacking Dr. Suess’ or ‘male perverts dressing and identifying as women in order to watch young girls pee in the women’s toilet at Walmart’.

These people are poseurs. They think they’re playing chess because they can identify the pieces and recognize the board. They know the basic moves, but they’re not serious players. They don’t ‘get it’ at a fundamental level.

In one sense, it matters what happens to Matt Gaetz. It matters because he’s corrupt and a colossal asshole–and corrupt assholes should never be allowed to get away with it. But in another sense, it doesn’t matter at all, because Gaetz is, and always will be, a wood-pusher. A potzer. And like all potzers, he doesn’t even know it.

monkey’s paw impeachment moment

At the beginning of the 20th century W.W. Jacobs, a former post office clerk turned short story writer, published an anthology of his work — The Lady of the Barge. It was a collection of three types of stories: the misadventures of sailors ashore, celebrations of artful dodgers in slow-witted villages, and what were called ‘tales of the macabre’. Included in the collection was The Monkey’s Paw.

It’s the story of the White family — Mr. and Mrs. White and their son Herbert — who receive a visit from Sergeant-Major Morris, a villager who’d recently returned after 21 years spent in the British Army in India. Morris regales them with tales of “wild scenes and doughty deeds; of wars and plagues and strange peoples.” Mr. White had heard something about a mummified monkey’s paw.

“It had a spell put on it by an old fakir,” said the sergeant-major, “a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it.”

Morris tells how he’d obtained the paw from its original owner. “I don’t know what [his] first two [wishes] were, but the third was for death.” He refuses to discuss his own wishes, but suddenly throws the paw into the White’s fireplace. Mr. White retrieves it over the Sergeant-Major’s objections. Later, Herbert encourages his father to use the paw and make a wish. Mr. White wishes for 200 pounds, the amount needed to pay of their home.

The following day Herbert goes to work at the nearby factory. The wish of the night before is forgotten. That evening a man from the factory arrives with the unfortunate news: Herbert was caught in the machinery and killed. The factory “admit no liability at all, but in consideration of your son’s services, they wish to present you with a certain sum as compensation.” It’s 200 pounds, of course.

“He has been dead ten days, and besides he – I would not tell you else, but – I could only recognize him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?”

Ten days later, after the funeral, Mrs. White insists her husband use the monkey’s paw to “wish our boy alive again.” He’s reluctant, but eventually gives in. Later that night, there’s a knock at the door. Mrs. White wants to answer it; her husband resists. She breaks away from him, he finds the monkey’s paw and “frantically breathed his third and last wish.”

The knocking stops. Mrs. White opens the door.

A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.

Why am I telling you about this 120-year-old story? Because yesterday, the House impeachment managers had a monkey’s paw moment. They wished for the power to call witnesses, and that wish was granted. But the wish came with an enormous price for interfering with fate.

I don’t believe in fate or destiny (or any other unchangeable, predetermined course of events) but I’m not innocent. I knew — we all knew — Republicans would vote to acquit Comrade Trump, the most mendacious and corrupt being ever to inhabit the White House. Evidence didn’t matter. We knew that. And most of us knew that if the Democrats used the monkey’s paw, there’d be a price to pay.

I wanted them to do it anyway. Almost everybody I know wanted them to do it anyway. When they didn’t call witnesses, most of us immediately assumed the Republicans played tough and the Democrats caved — because that’s been our experience. But in fact, we were all Mrs. White, wanting to resurrect the mutilated body of her dead son. We could have had witnesses. Maybe witnesses for weeks. Witnesses testifying to Trump’s appalling behavior. It would be so satisfying. It would be…well, profoundly stupid. No competent lawyer wants to put a hostile witness on the stand, even under oath. The risks are too great.

And now we’ve learned the Republicans threatened to filibuster Biden’s appointments and the Covid relief bill (and probably everything on the Biden agenda) if the House managers called witnesses. To call witnesses would have born out the fakir’s warning: those who interfered with [fate] did so to their sorrow. Even though I don’t belief in fate, I believe Jamie Raskin did the wise thing; he threw the monkey’s paw back into the fire.

And so things happened pretty much as we all expected. Senate Republicans did what we knew they’d do. It wasn’t fate, but it’s close enough that it makes no difference. Raskin didn’t use the monkey’s paw again; we didn’t get the 200 pounds to pay off our mortgage. But at least we didn’t end up with a ten-day-old mutilated corpse on our doorstep. So there’s that. Plus, the fact that seven Republicans showed a degree of honor and decency by refusing to follow the GOP lie is actually a sort of victory.

But lawdy, that mummified monkey’s paw is still awfully tempting.

what needs to happen

First, invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump’s power and authority. Second, impeach him again, and this time do it right. Third, appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Trump specifically in regard to yesterday’s insurrection.

That first step, invoking the 25th, is critically important. I don’t think we can afford to wait two more weeks for Trump to be removed. I don’t think he’s emotionally stable enough to trust for…hell, for another day. So yeah, I think it’s necessary for Vice President Pence to get together with Trump’s cabinet and invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove Trump’s control of the nuclear arsenal, to take him out of the chain of military command, and to remove his power to issue pardons. I think we have to neuter his presidential authority, because yesterday he demonstrated more clearly than ever that he simply can’t be trusted to wield that power responsibly.

Then we need to impeach him again. The House needs to draft and pass articles of impeachment based only on his abuse of power yesterday. Keep it simple and specific. He incited a riot that resulted in an assault on a federal building, the destruction of federal property, and four deaths. The Senate needs to try him on that charge and Republicans need to find the balls to convict him and remove him from office.

At that point — before Biden assumes office — appoint a non-partisan Special Counsel with a very narrow mandate: investigate Trump to determine his level of responsibility in the January 6 riot and breach of the Capitol.

That’s not everything that should be done, of course. It’s not everything I’d like to be done. I’d like to see Trump hauled out of the White House in handcuffs. I’d like to see him in an orange jumpsuit. Hell, I’d like to see Cruz and Hawley and the rest of the Sedition Caucus removed from office. I’d like to see them dipped in shit and rolled in the sand. But what the nation needs right now is stability and maturity.

Right now — and I mean right now, starting this day — we need to take a few strong but essentially simple steps to settle the nation. We can sort out the rest later. But the shit that took place yesterday simply cannot be allowed to stand.

I’m ashamed to say it, but I don’t think any of this will happen. I don’t think there are enough Republicans with integrity to do any of this, and it can’t be done without them.

I have a LOT more thoughts on what happened yesterday, but I’m still too angry and sad and ashamed and disgusted to put them in any sort of order.

give trump your money

Comrade President Donald Trump tweeted that he’s disappointed with the US Supreme Court. They can’t be trusted. However, the appellate courts…well, no, can’t trust them either. The lower courts? Sorry, can’t be trusted. Governors of states that voted for Uncle Joe Biden? No way they can be trusted, even if they’re Republicans. Same for Republican Secretaries of States. They’re just untrustworthy. Attorney General Bill Barr? Can’t be trusted. In fact, the entire Department of Justice can’t be trusted. The FBI? Nobody trusts those fuckers. The Intelligence Community? Nope, can’t be trusted. The Democrats? Hah. The corporation that made the Dominion voting machines? Can’t be trusted at all. The people who counted the votes? Can’t be trusted. The poll workers and non-partisan poll watchers? Nope, can’t be trusted. Actual voters? C’mon, some of them are black. Don’t even talk to me about the news media. They don’t even trust themselves. Women? You’re joking, right? What about Dr. Fauci? Nope, can’t be trusted. Scientists in general, you can’t trust them. In fact, science itself can’t be trusted.

So very disappointed that so very many people, agencies, nations just can’t be trusted.

So who can you trust? Jared Kushner? You can sorta kinda trust his wife. Maybe Rudy Guiliani, depending on where his hands are. Mitch McConnell? If you’ve got his tiny balls in a vice grip. Hard to think of anybody else, really. Well, Vladimir Putin. Got to trust Vlad. No choice in the matter. He’s got Trump’s tiny balls in a vice grip.

And Trump himself, of course. You know Trump. You know who he is, you know how he thinks, you know how he acts. You can trust Trump.

It’s true, Trump’s not particularly well-informed. But that’s not because he’s stupid; it’s just because he doesn’t care enough to get informed. I’m not saying he’s smart or anything. Just that he’s not stupid. Not really stupid. He just doesn’t know very much. Okay, he’s stupid as a motherfucker. But still, you can trust him.

And sure, I can’t deny that he’s been known to cheat on occasion. He didn’t actually cheat to get elected in 2016; he just encouraged Russia to cheat for him. And yeah, okay, he’s cheated on his taxes. Of course, he’s cheated on his wife. All of his wives. Hell, he even cheated on the women he cheated on his wives with. Seems he also cheated on his SATs. Everybody agrees he cheats at golf. Okay, the guy cheats like a motherfucker. But hey, you can trust him.

And sure, maybe he doesn’t always tell the entire truth. He’s given to exaggeration, it’s true. And yeah, there are times when his interpretation of the truth doesn’t match any commonly accepted version of the truth. Sometimes he adds a little personal spin to the truth. I suppose you could say he…well, he lies, Okay, there are moments when he straight up, flat out lies. Lots of moments. Actually, he lies a lot. All the time. Big lies. Gargantuan lies. He lies about almost anything. Small unimportant things like crowd sizes, big critically important things like pandemics. Or national security. The fact is, Trump lies like a motherfucker. But seriously, you can trust him.

Do I look like somebody who’d lie, steal, or cheat? No, really, do I? C’mon, seriously.

What? You want evidence? You want proof? Sure, no problem. Give him some money. That’s how you really learn whether or not a person can be trusted. Give Trump your money. A little bit of money, a lot of money, it doesn’t matter. Give him the money you were going to donate at church. Give him the money you’d saved to buy a new chainsaw. Give him the money you planned to invest in your children’s education. Give him the money you’d have spent on insulin. Give him your money, watch what he does with it.

There’s where you’ll find your proof. Show the libtards how much you trust Trump. Prove to the world that Trump can be trusted. Give him your money.

3 things about the texas lawsuit

To the horror and astonishment of many, Ken Paxton is the actual Attorney General of the State of Texas. Our boy Ken has filed a lawsuit asking the Supreme Court of the United States to basically shitcan the election results in the States of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. None of those states, you may have noticed, is Texas.

You already KNOW that Comrade Trump and his squad of Orc lawyers have had their asses handed to them in around forty courtrooms where they’ve had the audacity to present their arguments. They’ve been claiming they have gigantic mounds of real honest no-shit evidence of fraud and they’re going to produce it any minute now — but they never get around to showing it. So if you’re a semi-normal functioning adult, you’re probably wondering what’s different about Ken Paxton’s suit.

“Who farted?” Trump’s elite legal team.

Three things are different. First thing: Kenny is straight up admitting they don’t have any evidence of actual voter fraud. Because it’s invisible.

“[T[he media has consistently proclaimed that no widespread voter fraud has been proven. But this observation misses the point. The constitutional issue is not whether voters committed fraud but whether state officials violated the law by systematically loosening the measures for ballot integrity so that fraud becomes undetectable.”

Kenny is basically saying voter fraud is like a fart at a tea party — you can’t see it, but you know it happened. And it happened because Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin were just too fucking stupid to stop it. So he wants SCOTUS to light a match and burn a Republican-scented candle.

“Who farted?” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Second thing: Ken Paxton is pimping for a pardon. His own staff in the Texas Attorney General’s office snitched on him, accusing him of corruption, bribery and abuse of office. The FBI is investigating, and things look a wee bit grim for Kenny. But lo, what corrupt light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Comrade Trump is the sun. Trump has been offering pardons to his family, friends, and staff like a fishmonger trying to get rid of day-old tuna. Nobody is saying it very loudly, but our boy Kenny has his hand out.

Third thing: didn’t nobody in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, or Wisconsin ask Texas to come fart at their tea party. In fact, Pennsylvania filed a response with the Supreme Court calling Kenny’s suit a “seditious abuse of the judicial process.” (Sedition, by the say, refers to the act of inciting revolt or violence against a lawful authority with the goal of destroying or overthrowing it. It’s one step below treason; the difference between sedition and treason is treason requires an overt act — the difference between farting at a tea party and dropping a turd in the punch bowl.)

Is SCOTUS likely to take this seriously? Almost certainly not (and yeah, it should be ‘certainly not’ but Trump has winkled all the integrity out of the judiciary, so who the hell knows?). But at the heel of the hunt, the Texas lawsuit seems to be nothing more than a corrupt attorney general hoping to please a corrupt president enough to get a pardon.

MAGA, bitches. Smell the Republican roses.

here’s an idea

On Wednesday, Comrade President Donald Trump released his 45 minute WhingeFest video on Facebook. In it he repeated his delusional claims that he actually won the 2020 election. He contended he was denied the win because of some nebulous and nefarious national (and possibly international) conspiracy to cheat him. He stated he and his supporters had put together a mass of evidence to support his claims, despite the fact they’ve presented absolutely NO evidence to the courts.

The following day, the Washington Post asked every Republican member of Congress, all 249 Senators and Representatives, the following three questions. Who won the election? Do you support or oppose Trump’s efforts to claim victory? If Joe Biden wins the vote in the Electoral College, will you accept him as the legitimate POTUS?

Only 25 Republicans said Uncle Joe Biden won the election. Only 9 opposed Trump’s attempts to overturn the official results. And only 30 agreed to accept Biden as POTUS after the Electoral College vote. Most of the 249 Republicans simply refused to answer any of the questions.

At best, Congressional Republicans are gigantic fucking cowards.

The WaPo reporters said these results:

“demonstrate the fear that most Republicans have of the outgoing president and his grip on the party.”

Here’s an idea. Let’s stop giving those assholes the benefit of the doubt. Suggesting the Republicans in Congress won’t acknowledge Uncle Joe’s victory in the 2020 election because they’re afraid of Comrade Trump is the BEST possible explanation of their behavior. It assumes they really WANT to do the right thing. It presupposes they would LIKE to do the right thing. It accepts as given that they share a secret desire to honor the US Constitution. But, poor things, they’re just too afraid to actually say or do anything. Because if they do speak out, they believe Trump will…well, he’ll give them the very same treatment he gives to Democrats on an hourly basis.

In other words, the most benevolent explanation for the refusal of Congressional Republicans to openly acknowledge that Trump lost is that they’re gigantic fucking cowards. That’s the most generous explanation. The most charitable explanation. The most public-spirited, noble, kind, and magnanimous explanation.

More likely, they’re self-serving traitors.

Well, fuck that. I’d suggest a much more likely explanation for their refusal to honor the results of the election is this: they’re okay with the destruction of democracy. Sure, they may be gigantic fucking cowards too, but basically I think they’re gigantic fucking cowards who have no qualms about doing away with representative democracy if it means they get to stay in power.

They’re not just faint-hearted, spineless, wee timorous poltroons. They’re self-serving, amoral, unfeeling, covetous, power-hungry, dishonorable turncoats who are indifferent to the law and their constitutional duties. The best — and only the very best — of them are gigantic fucking cowards. The rest of them are trash.

So let’s stop giving them the courtesy of suggesting they’re merely afraid. Let’s be honest. They’re traitors.

coin in his pocket

Four days ago I thought there was a chance that Comrade Trump’s refusal to concede the election could be a deliberate attempt to break democracy. I was wrong.

I’m not saying Trump loves democracy; he doesn’t. I’m saying he doesn’t care enough about democracy to do the work necessary to break it. Trump isn’t stupid. Wait…strike that. He’s fairly ignorant, but…wait, strike that too. He’s massively ignorant, profoundly and deeply ignorant, extensively and exhaustively ignorant. But he’s got a sort of feral business-oriented shrewdness that alerts him when he’s about to lose or when he has something to gain.

We’ve actually witnessed this several times. He’s got a business that’s about to fail in a spectacular way, and boom he’s got bankruptcy lawyers thick as ticks in every possible court making sure other folks get hurt while he walks away with some coin in his pocket. He’s got a building about to finish construction, and boom he’s got a wolfpack of carnivorous lawyers finding ways to stiff his contractors and leave him with a bit more coin in his pocket. He’s about to lose a lawsuit, and boom he’s got a squadron of legal Uruk-hai negotiating a settlement that will allow him to escape responsibility and keep some coin in his pocket.

Comrade President Donald J. Trump is all about coin in the pocket.

“Help me fight voter fraud and, you know, keep America great and all that. Gimme money.”

I feel pretty confident that’s what Trump is doing now. He knows he lost the election, so he’s turned loose the lawyers — partly in a desperate but lazy attempt to find some sleazy way to stay in office, but mostly making sure Trump walks out of the White House with a bit of coin in his pocket.

Trump, his ethically challenged brood of kids, his Congressional lickspittles, and his army of lawyers have been inundating his much-aggrieved citizen-supporters with fundraising emails, begging for money to ‘stop the Left from ripping power away from the American People.’ They ask for contributions to the Official Election Defense Fund which, contributors are told, will “increase your impact by 1000%.” It’s an OFFICIAL fund and increases impact…impact…by a full one thousand percent. Who wouldn’t want to get in on that?

Ignore the fine print.

It’s just that this is Comrade Trump. Who just lost an election. This is Trump on his way out of DC. And what does Trump want? To put a wee bit of coin in his pocket.

Careful readers (and c’mon, how many Trump supporters are careful readers?) would note the fine print contained at the bottom of the linked page. The fine print the lawyers put together to keep Trump and themselves from committing crimes. The fine print that tells contributors that 60% of their contribution (up to US$5000) goes to a political action committee called ‘Save America’. That money can be used in just about any way Trump wants; he can contribute it to other politicians, he can pay his kids, he can use it to weigh down his pockets. But wait…there’s more. A full 40% of money over the $5000 legal limit (up to $35,500) goes to the Republican National Committee’s operating account. The other 60% will go to offset the costs of recounts OR other legal expenses.

In other words, if one of his supporters contributes $5001, only sixty cents would go toward stopping the Left from ripping power away from the American People; five thousand dollars will go toward filling Donald Trump’s very big pockets, forty cents will go to the RNC.

The longer Trump draws out this post-election drama — the longer he can keep his followers believing he’s really fighting for them — the more coin he can stuff in his pocket. This isn’t about breaking democracy; it’s about keeping the grift alive as long as possible. Hell, he can keep this grift going even after he’s left DC and established himself at Mar-a-Lago. He can tell his believers they’re funding his 2024 re-election campaign. A lot of them will fall for it.

Credit where it’s due: Comrade Trump’s priorities have never wavered. He is now, just as he was before, just as he always will be, about coin in the pocket.

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.