My older Filipino American friends who fought and escaped martial law in their native land know it when they see it–democracy in turmoil.
Now it’s America’s turn.
Can our country survive the final weeks of the Trump stress test?
While hundreds die every day of Covid, our nation is dying politically.
That taped call of Donald Trump’s Georgia shakedown says it all.
Dead people voting, claims that ballots are being shredded, voting machines have been removed, ballots counted three times, On and on, one profane conspiracy theory after another.
And it’s all coming from the mouth of the man who is president of the United States, at least for the next few weeks.
Can we just outlast him?
For more than an hour, Trump can be heard on that call asking the top election official in Georgia to find the 11,779 votes Trump believes would win him the state.
The call was made on Saturday and leaked to the press on Sunday. The president’s false claims were all debunked by Georgia officials on Monday.
I’ve listened to the Saturday call a number of times. All Americans should hear it, over and over, if they love their country.
It should be known as Donald Trump’s official swan song. His final self-disqualifying goodbye.
But it could be his seditious battle cry.
Here’s what I think are the best 17 seconds:
“So what are we going to do here folks,” Trump pleads. “I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I only need 11,000 votes, give me a break. We have that in spades already. Or we can keep it going. But it’s not fair to the voters of Georgia because they’re going to see what happened.”
Yes, they’re going to hear Trump trying to use his power to shame Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his group into overturning the election. Said Trump: “And you’re Republicans.”
Trump even threatens them with possible criminal charges for not doing his bidding.
To their credit, Raffensperger and the Georgia officials stand their ground and tell Trump that his information is wrong, and that the state’s election numbers are verified and correct.
How refreshing. Republicans with a spine. We haven’t seen that in four years from, say, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, Tom Cotton–name your favorite self-serving Trump enabler.
The Georgia officials’ simple truth strips Trump’s power and leaves the soon to be ex-president begging pathetically on the call for the votes to be overturned.
“Fellas, I only need 11,000 votes, give me a break.”
Maybe it’s Trump auditioning for a Martin Scorsese movie.
This is the president of the United States acting like a con begging a loan shark for extra time.
Or maybe pleading to a more formal shark, the lender that gave him the $400 million dollars that will be due soon when he’s merely private citizen Trump.
Or maybe it’s just the precursor to the Trump whine we’ll hear as he fights off all the court proceedings that he’s dodged as he goes from sitting president to sitting duck.
Still, it’s disgusting to hear the man who holds the highest and most revered job in the world, groveling in desperation.
He’s already lost the election—both the popular vote and the electoral college. And yet he continues to defame himself and the presidency and democracy by showing just how corrupt and venal he is.
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)– the part Filipino American member of Congress–said this over the weekend: “Trump tried to coerce and threaten election officials into overturning an election he lost. This behavior is a dangerous threat to democracy and warrants a criminal investigation.”
That investigation certainly would be more warranted than the call for yet another vote audit/investigation by the core group of gutless Republicans led by Ted Cruz.
They are the ones hanging on to Trump’s tarnished coattails. But at what cost?
It’s turmoil that easily could lead to unrest if people don’t come to their senses soon.
But all Trump knows is chaos.
THE GEORGIA SENATE VOTE AND WEDNESDAY’S SHOWDOWN
Trump’s insistence of election fraud has split the Republican party into those who believe rightly that he’s a delusional thug, and those who feel he’s a victim of a crooked system.
Let’s hope it’s enough of a split so that Raphael Warnock beats Kelly Loeffler, and Jon Ossoff beats David Perdue, in the Georgia Senate runoff elections.
Democrats ruling both the House and Senate won’t lead to what many Americans may instinctively fear—rule by an unruly left wing cabal. Far from it. The Democrats are far more moderate, and represent the path to recovery from a debilitating four years, if you want to get back to a rational democracy with civil norms.
You know, liberty and justice for all.
But if Tuesday’s runoff elections go badly for Republicans, they may deepen Trump’s desperation, as Congress looks to certify the presidential election on Wednesday.
A rally in Washington on Wednesday with the “Proud Boys,” essentially Trump’s “militia,” could become unruly. Already the PB leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested on Monday in DC for burning a Black Lives Matter banner.
Trump still has cards to play. His use of a self-pardon on the friends and family plan would be the last card, but he still has a military option—to force a new election by declaring martial law in America.
How real is the threat? It’s so real that all ten living former secretaries of defense, including Dick Cheney and two Trump appointees, James Mattis and Mark Esper, signed onto a statement declaring that the election is over and that the military should play no role at this point.
What will happen? How many of you thought Trump would go as far as he has to dispute his lost election? That tape of Trump begging Georgia officials for 11,000 votes is haunting.
At this point, who shall lead an intervention–a splinter group of The Proud Boys? Qanon? Ted Cruz’s father? Just as Trump has allowed racist white supremacists to breathe and thrive, so has he empowered right-wing anarchists and crazies on the verge of taking over the party.
They’re just waiting for a sign from “Fearless Leader” Trump, the autocrat, whom we heard on that audio tape.
Yes, play that tape again. It reveals a desperate man with nothing left to lose; one who appears ore willing to fully expose the precarious nature of a naked American democracy for all the world to see.