It’s Arrived: Trump’s attempt to steal the election

Will Trump’s crazed attempt to steal the election wake up his enablers. They will need a plan to dispose of him if, as now seems likely, he loses the election.

As soon as it became clear, on Tuesday night, that he could lose the election, Trump began the process of seeking to steal it.

He began by tweeting that the election had been a fraud and that the Democrats were proposing to steal the outcome. He pledged to stop this.

In other words, as he so often does, he projected on his opponents the action he was contemplating. A few hours later he took that action.

From a stage wreathed in the national flag, in the East Room at the White House, he declared that: he had won the election; that the election had been a fraud (it being unclear how these two contentions related); so, he would challenge it’s conduct/outcome in the Supreme Court. Specifically, he would ask the Court to stop any further counting of votes. Actually, he has no power to do that.

It was not difficult to decipher what Trump was saying and attempting to obscure. Clearly, he could see that he might, in fact, lose the election and, he was thus beginning his legal and extra- legal action to defeat that possibility.

It is important to record that while he used some voting figures in his statement, nothing he contended was true or based on any credible evidence.

Two months ago, in these pages, (September 4th: “Grand Theft Election”) I discussed the very real possibility that events, such as we are now witnessing, would unfold.

Although at the time of writing, it seems that Biden will obtain the required number of votes in the Electoral College, if all votes are counted the, the following six things seem clear

1 There is no evidence of any serious fraud or malpractice having been conducted during the elections

2-The final outcome of the normal process is not yet clear, but it does seem that Biden may very well win.

3-Trump seems to have reached the same conclusion and, is accordingly, planning actions to defeat that result; to render it illegitimate.

4-Any case on the proper conduct of the election must first be heard by the Court of the relevant State. The consideration of such a matter by the US Supreme Court would only occur if a State decision was appealed to it. Trump’s claim that he will ask the Supreme Court to intervene is not in his gift and, it is not clear that the Supreme Court will decide to hear any given case.

5-The most likely focus of Trump’s action will be on Pennsylvania in which there remains a substantial number of Postal votes, not yet counted and, of which it seems a significant majority will go to Biden.

Biden seems to have won Arizona, and Wisconsin and possibly Nevada. The addition of the last of these would give him the 270 votes he needs to prevail in the Electoral College. If the counting also adds Pennsylvania, he would win by a clear margin and its also possible that Georgia might, in the end, go to Biden.

6-If this outcome does emerge, then the final question becomes, what will Trump then do. How far will he go?

Will he stop if the state courts and then the Supreme Court will not award him the election and, if the electoral process produces the 270 Electoral College votes needed by Biden to win.

There is anxiety that Trump will not stop but will, instead, wage a full- scale attack upon the system, including by encouraging serious social unrest.

The Trump phenomenon has only been possible because it has been enabled and supported by senior Republicans. Their actions have been widely regarded as unprincipled and destructive of the system. Key examples have been their facilitation of the burying of the Mueller Report and every other appallingly biased action of Attorney General Barr; their refusal to allow the impeachment process to proceed on the basis of facts; and their confirmation of the deeply contentious appointments to the Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Given this history of Republican facilitation of Trump’s conduct of his office, it was very interesting that, shortly after Trump’s election night declaration that the election had been a fraud and that he would take it to the Supreme Court, senior Republicans and some conservative commentators warned that this was a dangerous action.

Chris Wallace of Fox News said that Trump’s declaration was akin to tossing a lighted match onto an “extremely flammable situation”: – a noteworthy observation from that source.

If Trump insists on attempting to destroy the electoral system, because it has given the presidency to Joe Biden and/or encourages physical attacks by extremist groups, on people or institutions identified as their enemies, it will be essential for sources of authority in the US, including the leadership of the Republican Party, to repudiate Trump and support the peaceful transfer of power.

They would do themselves and the people a big favour, if they were to reach agreement in Congress on another Covid 19 pandemic related recovery and economic stimulus bill.

Surely such decency has not completely fled Trump and McConnell’s America.

And, they will need a plan for the safe removal of Trump.

Richard Butler AC

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Richard Butler AC Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Executive Chairman of UN Special Commission to Disarm Iraq, Professor of International Affairs.

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