If We Don't Want Another Trump, We Have a Big Job Ahead of Us

Thom plus logo Fascists and oligarchs within the Republican Party are already beginning preparations to steal the 2024 presidential election. Trump, it turns out, was just a dry run for them.

Their allies in the media are coming together, too. This weekend a Fox & Friends host suggested that Trump shouldn't have to go through the courts to stay President; Republicans in swing state legislatures should simply award their state's electors to him.

Fascists often seem, in the beginning, like nice guys who just want to change the world for the better. They just think that things need to be more orderly and tidy, and that a small number of very smart, very wealthy people need to be in charge to ensure social and political stability. And it always ends the same way: in tragedy.

When Biden won, Republicans in the Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona legislatures refused to direct their electors to vote for Trump. They could have given him four more years; the Constitution is clear on this. But they chose to put America above the GOP. Country over party.

Many are now facing 2022 primary challenges from Trumpy Republicans who were willing to ignore the election results and keep Trump in the White House. Presumably, they will do the same for any Republican with similar fascist tendencies.

In 60 years, the GOP has gone from an electoral strategy of embracing white racists (Nixon), to a strategy of suppressing Democratic votes (Florida 2000), to now a strategy of simply ignoring the results of elections and using legislative power to appoint a president via the Electoral College.

And it's not as if we weren't warned. Back in March, a conservative friend in DC told me Republicans were discussing this option if Trump lost the popular vote in the election. I wrote an OpEd about it that was widely circulated, and I discussed it on my program with Tom Perez and elected Democratic legislators.

Now, even hosts on Fox are openly and enthusiastically embracing the idea of Republicans state legislators simply overruling the votes of their people. Again, this is totally legal and would almost certainly be upheld by the Supreme Court.

It's in the Constitution.

That Constitutional loophole could give the next authoritarian Republicans try to put in the White House the absolute power to ignore the will of the people and take this country down the road so well traveled in the past by Germany, Japan, Italy and Spain.

Today, authoritarian leaders of previously democratic nations have given the next Republican president a more modern blueprint for flipping America into oligarchy and neofascism. From Hungary to The Philippines, Poland, India, and Brazil, democracy is under attack and neofascists have seized power.

When the electoral college was put in the constitution, it could take a week for news to travel from one end of the country to the other. The idea was that electors would go to DC and meet the candidates, and have the discretion to weed out people of "low moral character."

In the Federalist papers, Alexander Hamilton justified the electoral college by writing: "The process of election [by the electoral college]," Hamilton wrote, "affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."

Indeed, while a knave or rogue or traitor may fool enough people to even ascend to the office of mayor of a city or governor of a state, Hamilton believed the Electoral College would ferret out such an incompetent or traitor.

Hamilton wrote, "Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence" of the men in the Electoral College who would put "the whole Union..." first.

It took 240 years, but Hamilton's optimism and hope for America has nearly been defeated. It took 50 years and the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars by a massive rightwing Billionaire donor and media network, but they are on the edge of success.

Every American who cares about our democratic republican form of government must push to end the Electoral College before 2024. Weather by constitutional amendment, by law, or by the National Popular Vote interstate compact, this is vital.

Similarly, Americans who care about the ideals of our nation must also fight the election of those pro-oligarchy Republicans who are today plotting to take over swing state legislatures, and pass federal election law updates to make it harder for rightwing billionaires to buy their seats for them.

-Thom

Comments

DrRichard 34 weeks 5 days ago
#1

I wish we could get rid of the Electoral College, but since it gives the small states more clout that isn't too likely. Perhaps the best we can do is what Nebraska and Maine have accomplished, and award delegates by Congressional district. It's a start, anyway.

What we really need in every state is something like Iowa's non-partisian drawing of House district lines. That would make races competitive again and probably bring Congress back towards the middle where things get done. And if combined with picking electors by district that would essentially make the Electorial College a rubber stamp for what the voters really want.

And we do seem to be in a swing of the pendulum towards the right. Besides the countries mentioned Israel, Venezuela and Turkey would definitely fit in. Egypt certainly moved away from its progressive hope in 2011, and probably there are others too as well as the usual suspects of permanently authoritarian states. (Bush's "Freedom is on the march" mantra was a bad joke to begin with and hasn't improved since.) Fortunately over time most trends do reverse themselves, though it can be pretty unpleasant both until and during the shift back.

Legend 34 weeks 5 days ago
#2

The Senate has the most power. It takes 22 of the smaller states to add up to California's population. Those 22 states get 44 Senators, California get 2. District of Columbia has a population higher than Vermont and Wyoming. It get no Senators and 1 non voting Congressman. Wyoming is 579000 population (before Covid) and gets 2 Senators and California 39512000 poulation (before Covid) gets 2 Senators. Wyoming gets 1 Congressmen and California gets 53, or 745509 constituents per Congressmen compared to Wyomings 579000. In the Electoral College you get 1 vote per Senator and 1 vote per Congressman. Wyoming gets 3 votes, California gets 55 votes. Wyoming gets 1 vote per 193000 and California gets 1 vote per 718400 population. Wyomings GDP is 34.71 billion $ (VT is smaller at 26 billion). California is 2562.92 billion $. Wyomings GDP per electoral vote is thus 11.57 Billion, California is 46.6 billion. A Wyoming Senator makes the same pay as a California Senator.

Maybe I should move to Wyoming.

MagnusReputo 34 weeks 4 days ago
#3

I'd like to try Trump for his crimes but how would they find impartial jurors?

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 34 weeks 4 days ago
#4

What about impartial judges?

The evil repugs are filling as many posts as they can with their nepotistic currupt nominees... true to the fascist playbook... BEWARE!

What beats me is how these post are for life (?!?!)

That idea needs changing WITH URGENCY

Legend 34 weeks 4 days ago
#5

Thom mentioned it today on his show. Nicole Wallace on MSNBC about went nuts and begged people to stop giving money to this grifter. Trump has collected more than $170 million in donations since the election for his fraud claims. There is no end to the madness of these Republicans.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/01/politics/president-donald-trump-raises-more-than-170-million-since-election-day/index.html

vetinla's picture
vetinla 34 weeks 4 days ago
#6

If Biden and company want to unify the country, and turn some DJT folks to the light, they'd better get off their duffs and vocalize a message on growing the middle class again by pushing a covid relief package, and increasing the minium wage, just for starters. AND, use social media to do it. Worked for DJT, it'll work for Biden.

rherman847's picture
rherman847 34 weeks 2 days ago
#7

Your worries about the Republican Party using state legislatures to subvert the will of the people through the Electoral College are certainly disturbing. However, your solution of abolishing the EC goes too far, because that system helps balance power among the states. It seems to me the best solution is just to prohibit legislatures from overriding the majority of voters within each state or district. Let's push for that!

spudranney@gmail.com's picture
spudranney@gmail.com 33 weeks 1 day ago
#8

I agree, herman847. There are plenty of other steps the Biden administration needs to push through swiftly, too. Like:

Regulations to prevent the kind of administrative transition we are currently experiencing,
Delineation of actions defined and penalized as seditious like attempts to over-ride certified election results, failure to submit to Congressional subpoenas,
And many more to plug the leaks the Trumpets have shown in our system of checks and balances.

The framers of our Constituion based their thinking on the assumption that even honorable people (to them, men) needed constraints, but they also seem to have only expected honorable men to take office. If in fact the Electoral College was instituted to remove dishonorable men from consideration for office, it has certainly failed that function.

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