As November 3, 2020 approaches, I’m reminded of Edgar Allen Poe’s horror story The Cask of Amontillado in which one character exacts revenge on another by enticing him into a wine cellar chaining him to the wall and then bricking up the entrance. I feel like the guy chained to the wall with William Barr, Louis DeJoy, and Mitch McConnell wielding the trowels and mortar.
Morbidly, I think Poe is the perfect author for this election, and whether it’s The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum where the prison walls close in on the helpless victim, or The Masque of the Red Death in which a plague (the Red Death) visits Prince Prospero’s masquerade ball there are a series of doomsday scenarios. Think Rose Garden super spreader!
Poe is a master of horror and all three stories resonate; I feel the walls closing in, the door being mortared shut, and Red Death stalking the once healthy American landscape.
Today, Donald Trump is receiving the world’s best medical care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He’s there because his gross negligence and willful disregard of scientific evidence put his life and the lives of all Americans at risk for Covid-19. He failed to protect himself and the country by ignoring the mitigation strategies recommended by the world’s best epidemiologists and infectious disease scientists. Now we, the American taxpayers, are paying for an emergency helicopter ride and the Presidential Suite of a hospital committed to the care of the military. The same military he declined to serve when called and whose heroes he disparages as “suckers” and “losers.”
Meanwhile, the country is breathlessly awaiting word on his progress. His presidential campaign is on “pause.” Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, all of whom he vilifies, have wished him a speedy, successful recovery, and Joe Biden has pulled all his negative campaign ads. John McCain, Herman Cain, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are rolling in their graves.
Ironically I hope he survives; despite the fact that he is the primary reason 209,000 other Americans are dead from the “China virus.” I want him to see how we feel at the polls and understand that no one is above the law – not even the President of the United States.
Nevertheless, if he does recover, he’s already warned us he won’t accept the election results unless he wins. His Postmaster General is busy dismantling the US Postal Service and slowing the mail. He has spent two months attacking mail-in balloting though the FBI and Federal Election Commission have assured us that there is virtually no fraud associated with mail-in ballots. He has alerted his followers and militia groups that he wants them to act as poll watchers i.e. to intimidate voters of color.
The Trump playbook is available to all:
- Question the legitimacy of the election. “If I lose it’s because it’s rigged.”
- Voter intimidation
- Claim victory on election night before all the ballots are counted
- Challenge all mail-in ballots as invalid
- Challenge all ballots not received by election night as invalid
- Challenge all ballots not counted on election night as invalid
- Refuse to accept a Biden victory
- Refuse to leave the White House
- Sue all states that he does not win for a recount
- If there is no clear winner take the case to the Supreme Court
- If there is no Electoral College winner, it goes to the House of Representatives where each state has one vote (there are 26 Red states and 24 Blue states currently).
As the walls close in and the pendulum swings, it’s incumbent on us to learn how the system was designed to work. I strongly recommend Bill Petrocelli’s book, Electoral Bait and Switch: How the Electoral College Hurts American Voters. The system is out of date and flawed, but until we get true electoral reform it will determine the winner on November 3rd.
Edgar Allen Poe’s stories capture the drama of the current election. Let’s not let the Red Death or Covid-19 cheat us out of a legitimate election and an honorable president – Joe Biden.