“And he replied: You should already see
across the filthy waves what has been summoned,
unless the marsh’s vapors hide it from you.”
(The Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto VIII)
The vapors have not hidden it. At this point in the Trump presidency filthy waves and catastrophic fires are devastating America. With only 50 days until the second reckoning on November 3, 2020 the swamp creatures have risen to the surface.
“Many in life esteem themselves great men
who then will wallow like pigs in mud,
leaving behind them their repulsive fame.”
The writing is on the wall; Trump is going to lose if there is a fair election.
But…will there be a fair election?
Not only did Mitch McConnell block the Senate from debating or voting on an election reform bill passed by the House, but the churning waters of the Deep Swamp are implementing a Two Pronged Plan that should scare the bejesus out of any American who holds the United States Constitution sacred.
Prong One, up to and including election day, involves disrupting and slowing processes at the US Postal Service through the removal of mailboxes and dismantling of high-speed sorting machines in parallel with discrediting mail-in balloting, reducing the number of polling places, suppressing voter registration, intimidating voters at the polls, and benefiting from a social media disinformation campaign fed by Russian, Chinese, and Iranian hackers.
Honest candidates who believe in fair elections engage in none of these practices, but Trump has shown us that he is not an honest candidate. He lies, cheats, vilifies, distorts and will do anything to gain a second term.
His supporters are pulling out all the stops and building a set of strategies based on the “Deep State” theory that “coastal elites” have corrupted the democratic process and installed a clandestine network inside the government bureaucracy, intelligence agencies, and other governmental entities to control state policy.
His campaign is fear-based, determined to scare the voters with deep state conspiracies, a black and brown takeover of the suburbs, a tanking economy, anarchy and chaos in the cities, and the return of a socialist/communist ideology.
Rational voters know it’s all bullshit, but today the campaign amped up the rhetoric when Michael Caputo, the deputy assistant for health and public affairs accused Center for Disease Control scientists of “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and claimed left-wing “hit squads” were preparing for “armed insurrection after the election.”
Caputo, a protégé of Roger Stone, is a minor figure with a big voice but today’s proclamation leads me to Prong Two of the playbook. For months, Trump has claimed the only way he can lose the election is if it’s “rigged.” He said the same thing in 2016, but eeked out an electoral college win while losing the popular vote. This time that is highly unlikely as he trails Joe Biden in almost every swing state. Nevertheless, he’s laying the groundwork for a post-election challenge.
Prong Two is not a George W. Bush/Al Gore hanging “chads” count the votes challenge. Prong Two threatens America with open rebellion. Caputo talks about “armed insurrection” and last week Roger Stone, the Trumpiest of Trump allies, suggested the president invoke the Insurrection Act, declare martial law, and arrest anyone who “can be proven to be involved in illegal activity” if he loses.
Caputo, Stone, Attorney General Barr, and the shrill voices of the Trump family (see the RNC convention tapes) are not rational actors, but David Brooks of the New York Times is and his column on September 3, 2020 should get your intention.
Entitled “What Will You Do if Trump Doesn’t Leave,” it begins with Trump declaring early victory on election night. He will capitalize on “day of” returns because they will probably favor him for an early lead. In truth, the election will likely be decided by mail-in ballots. For five years he has been laying the groundwork for a claim that election results based on mail-in balloting would be illegitimate. Get ready for the fight.
It’s not a pretty picture. Will it lead to armed conflict? Will it be decided by the courts? Will Brett Kavanaugh cast the deciding vote? Who will monitor the recount? What about states with no paper backups?
I already had my eyes fixed on his face,
and there he stood out tall, with his chest and brow
proclaiming his disdain for all this Hell.
My guide, with a gentle push, encouraged me
to move among the sepulchers toward him:
‘Be sure you choose your words with care,’ he said.
And when I reached the margin of his tomb
he looked at me, and half-contemptuously
he asked, ‘And who would your ancestors be?’
And I who wanted only to oblige him
held nothing back but told him everything.
At this he lifted up his brows a little,
then said, ‘Bitter enemies of mine they were
and of my ancestors and of my party;
I had to scatter them not once but twice.’
‘They were expelled, but only to return
from everywhere,’ I said, ‘not once but twice—
an art your men, however, never mastered! ‘