Saturday, October 31, 2020

Politics Is Prologue

The Afternoon Of The Days Before

                                                    Denn wie man sich bettet, so liegt man
Es deckt einen da keiner zu
Und wenn einer tritt, dann bin ich es
Und wird einer getreten, dann bist’s du.

--  Kurt Weill / Bertold Brecht; "Meine Herren, Meine Mutter Prägte",
(aka, 'Denn Wie Man Sich Bettet') from Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahoganny (1931)

In November 2016, I assumed Clinton would win. I was wrong. Everyone knows how well the aftermath has worked out.

Now, it's the end of October, 2020. I've already voted; so have millions of others. I live in a solid-Blue state and city, where my mail-in ballot will be delivered, processed, counted; this isn't the case elsewhere in the country. 

I wasn't comfortable casting a vote that is more about saying "No" to fascism than 'Yes' to progressive initiatives and perspectives. But this election truly is about voting for nazis, or for not-nazis. Yes, it is not that simplistic; but at base it's not an exaggeration. 

Based on public statements by all living former Presidents, from ex-government appointees from multiple administrations, ex-Congressional representatives and Senators from both parties, and retired senior military officers, they reject Trump and support not-Trump. 

That so many Republicans, and the ex-presidents in particular, have done so is remarkable. Even if what they're supporting is a semblance of democracy to protect continued rule for benefit of hereditary and corporate wealth, they understand Trump's reelection means the 244-year experiment known as the United States of America is over.  We will be ... something else.

On election eve in 2016, Nate Silver's predicted Clinton victorious.
Throughout the election, our forecast models have consistently come to two conclusions. First, that Hillary Clinton was more likely than not to become the next president. ... That remains our outlook today in our final forecast of the year. Clinton is a 71 percent favorite to win the election according to our polls-only model and a 72 percent favorite according to our polls-plus model. ... Her chances have increased from about 65 percent.
But, many pundits say current polling compensates for the kinds of errors which made Clinton seem like a sure thing in 2016. They say the Biden lead is so significant that he seems a sure thing, too -- and 538's current  forecast (October 31st) continues to say Biden is "favored to win":
We’re now less than five days away from Election Day, and Joe Biden leads in both national and state polls. At this point, President Trump needs a big polling error in his favor if he's going to win. Although the error doesn’t need to be as big as you might think ... 
Take Pennsylvania, the state our forecast currently thinks is most likely to decide the election. Biden doesn’t have much extra cushion ... so a 2016-magnitude polling error could deliver the state to Trump. Remember, Trump has a meaningful chance of winning the election, per our forecast -- roughly the same as the chance that it’s raining in downtown Los Angeles (... about a 1-in-10 shot ...).
I hope there is a massive popular electoral uprising, a rejection of everything Trump and his toadies represent. Not because it will guarantee Trump's defeat -- only that the popular will of the People will be clear. But that will not save us.

I want to be wrong, but believe we're on the brink of actual conflict in America. How exactly it happens, how our culture buckles and tears, will not be the same as we've seen in video news footage from countries in the Middle East. It hasn't happened in a 'first world' country since the coups and conflicts of Russia in the early 1990's, or Yugoslavia dissolving into political, cultural and religious civil war.

Why? It's this simple: Leaders of the Republican party saw Trump as the one who could give them things they have dreamed of for generations. They have never been so close to reaching these dreams as they are now -- and a crude, corrupt oaf is the one whom fate has chosen to hand it to them. 

They've tied their fortunes, collectively and individually, to the person of Donald J. Trump. They've pledged their lives and fortunes, to honor a second-rate Grifter. They have too much at stake. They're all in. They have too much to lose -- and, if they did, it's not a stretch to imagine things being revealed, things they've done for Trump. Ensuring of a Trump victory can cover up a multitude of sins.

Will the political right in America allow a bunch of Proles, these sheep, to snatch away the chance to realize their dreams -- with a few votes? No professional politician, a connoisseur of power and its use, would let this moment go by. And Trump knows what Republicans want. 

After the passing of a legal and social giant like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, replacing her with a second-string, tinpot Stepford Wife like Barrett was Trump's opportunity to offer Leonard Leo and Mitch McConnell the equivalent of pharmaceutical-grade dope -- they're hooked. And Trump knows it. If he remains in office, Trump promises to give them more.

If you believe that, "somehow", 'adults' will save us -- that some institutional constraints, some belief that a majority of Elites running The System won't permit Trump to continue -- but did they stop him when they could, when Impeachment would have put an end to his time in office? Come to that, he could have been stopped in 2016. What makes you think they will now?

And simply 'More Trump' isn't even the worst-case scenario. If, after a stolen election, against a background of massive civil disobedience, a group of white, male 'christian' leaders steps in to take control of a godless nation (don't laugh; these people have formidable resources, and an absolute belief that god is directing them), then we have hit rock-bottom. It will be too late, for all of us.

Yesterday, Robert Kagan published another opinion column in the Washington Post ("It’s up to the people to foil Trump’s plot against democracy"). It's worth reading (there is a paywall, so Digby helpfully reprinted most of it here).
Trump and his supporters have told us exactly how they plan to hold onto power regardless of the election outcome. The president began declaring the election “rigged” even before early voting began ... Republicans in hotly contested states are already planning to bring lawsuits alleging fraud, miscounts, tainted ballots and other irregularities.

...[Eventually the election may] come before the Supreme Court, which, with a solid 6-to-3 conservative majority, will put its stamp of legitimacy on the stolen election.

... Let’s be clear about what that America will look like. An administration that steals an election by abusing power must continue abusing that power to keep it. And Trump will have no shortage of excuses to wield power. A stolen election will bring tens of millions into the streets, possibly for weeks and months. The nation will have descended into an extra-constitutional civil conflict, with each side using the tools available to try to prevail.

For Trump, those tools are those of the executive, which the founders entrusted with immense power, from the administration of justice to the defense of the nation by the armed forces. The administration’s opponents, lacking institutional power, will be able to count only on its millions in the streets, and on the democratic consciences of individual judges and justices and federal employees, armed and unarmed, across the country. 

... Meanwhile, Trump and his minions will purge the federal government of all those deemed disloyal. Barr will open and expand investigations into anyone suspected of conspiring against the president ... for as long as Trump remains in power. Owners of mainstream media outlets will become targets of investigations by government agencies. 

Smears against Democratic lawmakers will mount. Trump’s supporters at massive rallies will shout “Lock them up!” And who will come to the rescue of the persecuted? Who in a position of power will have an incentive to reverse the events that kept them in power?

... We kept counting on others to save us — our institutions, our political leaders, our courts — but help never arrived. And as we waited for someone, anyone, to do the right thing, we moved closer to the end.

I really do hope I'm wrong -- that our political Right will refuse to sacrifice the country, just to ensure the rule of White christian Men, and keep their personal gravy trains running. But my trust in human nature is low, and America has too many chickens coming home to roost to allow for a lucky roll of the dice.


MEHR, MIT BIGGLY BIGGLY:  Oh, even if Trump loses -- really loses? -- the era of Trump, the all-consuming ego and needy id, is not over.  It won't be over until much later.  Think about that.

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