I. Trump 4neva!
There is one major reason why the American people need to vote massively against Donald Trump and for Joe Biden as the only alternative in the November 2020 elections: To avert the real possibility that Trump 4eva will be able to augment the powers of the imperial presidency long after he steps down from the presidency.
The Democrats should be given another chance.
II. Pessimistic election scenarios
It cannot be automatically assumed that the Trump’s presidential campaign will be negatively impacted by his exposure to Covid in early October just a month before the November elections.
In assumption that Trump continues his quest to be re-elected, only a massive popular vote for Biden can defeat him. Otherwise the election risks getting drawn out in the US Court system as was the case in the 2000 presidential election as to be discussed.
A second scenario could be a “contingent election” in which the individual states in the House of Representatives, dominated by Republicans, decides the outcome of the presidency. Though less likely, a variation of this scenario is a 1876-like presidential election that leads to the formation of an Election Commission.
A third scenario is that Trump 4eva will claim election fraud and refuse to step down in an election coup.
An increasing possible scenario is that Trump, whether he is truly ill or not, will be pressed to drop out of the election and step down from the presidency—particularly if he clearly loses the November election. Vice President Mike Pence could then take over in a caretaker government from November to January. Pence could then pardon Trump from ongoing criminal investigations.
This is not to exclude the possibility that the Covid pandemic or other factors—such as a war scare—will wreak havoc on both presidential candidates and on the US leadership—thereby calling the entire election process into question. Given the fact that Trump and his negligent administration might have infected many others—including many of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the proposed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Joe Biden during the September 29 presidential debate—this scenario cannot be ruled out.
III. Republicans expect a legal battle
As was the case in 2016, Trump and the Republicans do not expect to win the popular vote in 2020—but they do hope to win the Electoral College in key swing states. Even though Biden appears to be winning the popular vote, the vote in a number of swing states, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Georgia remains too close to call. Biden does appear to be in the lead in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the three states that permitted Trump to win the presidency in 2016 by less than 80,000 votes—even though Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote by roughly 3 million ballots.
Nevertheless, even if Trump is presently ill with Covid, one cannot assume that Biden will automatically win the presidency. Given Trump’s accusations that the Democrats will engage in voting fraud, the fact that not all ballots will be counted on time, Republican efforts to reduce the number of voting places in non-Republican districts, and threats by pro-Trump vigilantes to intimidate voters, there is still a possibility that Trump could win or even seize the presidency once again—in circumstances in which the number and type of ballots are questioned.
In essence, the large surge mail-in ballots will change how and when votes are counted in many American states. If the ballots are challenged by either Party in any state, thereby making it very difficult to determine who won the Electoral College, then the political Party with the most influence in the State Courts—and in the Supreme Court in particular—is the Party that is more likely to win the Presidency. Or, the Election could fall to the House of Representatives—where the Republican states will possess an advantage.
IV. Packing the Supreme Court
In raising questions about the validity and legitimacy of the American voting process, Trump has claimed that “the only way they (the Democrats) can take this election away from us (the Republicans) is if this is a rigged election.”
In claiming that the November elections will prove fraudulent due to mail-in ballots—despite the fact that voter fraud is rare—Trump has been looking for ways to invalidate the electoral process, so that he can attempt to claim victory—particularly as he has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.
In the likely case that the results of the elections will be challenged, Trump (with Republican Party support) has been attempting to pack both the Federal and State courts, as well as the Supreme Court, with pro-Republican judges. As these judges tend to be “originalists” or “textualists,” they will not stray too far from an antiquated 233-year old Constitution that is not always relevant to the political, socio-economic, technological, social, welfare, health and environmental issues that have arisen over the years within American society.
Most of Trump’s judges oppose liberal policies with regard to health care, voting rights legislation, the equal rights amendment, stricter background checks for gun purchases and other forms of gun control, Roe vs. Wade (a woman’s right to choose), financing of political campaigns, questions of taxation and wealth inequities, environmental protection, among many others.
In his first term of office, Trump has had the opportunity to appoint 2—and now, possibly 3—Supreme Court judges. By nominating the Catholic Conservative Amy Coney Barrett to replace the Jewish Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump has hoped he can attract the vote of Christian Conservatives and white suburban women.
This is true even if there is nothing Christian about Trump’s own beliefs and actions and even if Trump appears to be losing the votes of sub-urban women in part due to his own sexist behavior and the fact that he has refused to back strong gun control measures under the pressure from the National Rifle Association.
V. The 2000 presidential elections
Trump has hoped that the present Supreme Court will back Republicans just like the Supreme Court did in 2000.
In the 2000 elections, the Supreme Court handed the Republican George W. Bush the presidency over the Democrat Al Gore by reversing the opinion of the Florida Supreme Court that had ordered a selective manual recount of disputed ballots. And it was essentially Justice Sandra Day O’Connor—appointed by the Republican Ronald Reagan—who swung the 5- to 4- Supreme Court vote in favor of Bush against Gore—even though Gore had won the national popular vote.
Interestingly, both Brett Kavanaugh (nominated by Trump) and John Roberts (nominated by George W. Bush)—who are both presently judges on the Supreme Court—had worked on legal teams to help Bush win the contested Florida vote—as did Trump’s proposed Supreme Court judge, Amy Coney Barrett.
And they have been rewarded for doing their job successfully: Had the 2000 election been decided on the basis of the ballots that arrived by the 26 November deadline, Al Gore would have won the state of Florida by 202 votes and the presidency.
In general, Trump fears the impact of late arrival ballots as ex-pat voters could have swung votes in favor of the Democrats in the swing state of Florida in the 2000 presidential election—if the Courts had permitted those votes to be counted.
VI. Trump’s “Law and Order” strategy
Trump and the Republicans anticipate that a much more conservative Supreme Court will support historical American “Law and Order” policies and thereby back Trump’s efforts to crack down severely on protestors who oppose police brutality and Trump’s policies. This is true even if as many as 95% of the demonstrations against police brutality have been peaceful.
The majority of Americans support Black Lives Matter and believe that Trump’s policies have been antagonizing race relations. And most of the violence has been provoked by agents provocateurs and by generally pro-Trump gun toting rightwing groups. Among these groups, FBI Director Christopher Wray has testified in Congress that “white supremacists” represent a “persistent, pervasive threat” to the US. A number of these groups have threatened to physically intimidate voters in predominantly Democratic districts.
Trump’s game is to play upon the split inside the Democratic Party. On the one hand, Trump has hoped that those Americans who do not support either Trump or Biden will either not vote, or else vote for third party candidates, such as rapper billionaire Kanye West.
On the other hand, by acting “tough” in prosecuting protestors, and by demanding that the amorphous leftwing group, Antifa, as well as the white supremacist group, the KKK, be designated as “terrorist organizations”, Trump hopes to divide the Democrats—even at the general risk for civil liberties if he does so. In effect, Trump has hoped to draw Biden into making law and order-type statements that favor stronger measures against groups that appear to engage in violence. By doing this, Trump is attempting to turn the leftwing of the Democratic Party who generally support Bernie Sanders and Independent critics against Biden.
Trump has accordingly hoped to convince moderate and undecided African American, Hispanic, and White voters that “bad” people have taken advantage of protests to engage in violence and destruction of property—in an effort to attract these voters away from the Democrats.
In reference to the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, Trump has boasted that he has “done much more for our Black population than Joe Biden has done in 43 years. Actually, he set them back big time with his Crime Bill.” Yet Trump’s attack is pure hypocrisy: At the time he argued for policies that were far more draconian than those of Biden. Had he been in power, his policies would have been much worse for African Americans and other minorities, than would Biden’s.
In addition, Trump has not acknowledged the fact that the now expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban—that was then part of the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act—had been opposed by the National Rifle Association of which Trump has become “one of its most reliable advocates”—after boasting that he wasn’t “afraid” of the NRA. As president, Trump has taken no steps to support legislation dealing with Assault weapons and other gun control measures—even after the waves of mass killings that took place in the USA.
For his part, Biden has recognized that his support as Senator for the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act—that represented a major factor in increasing the number of minorities incarcerated while only playing a limited role in bringing down crime—was a big mistake. Nevertheless, Biden still touts the 1994 Act’s apparent strengths in that the Act included the original Violence Against Women Act, $6 billion in funding for crime prevention programs, plus the now expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban, as discussed above, which Trump refuses to support.
VII. Trump and the threat of war
Trump likewise hopes to use the threat of war and his pretended skills in brinksmanship to strengthen his popular following. Trump has wanted to make it appear that only he, and not Biden, is capable of as acting as Commander-in-Chief in a potential US confrontation with Russia, China, North Korea and Iran—states that appear to be forging a Eurasian Axis against the US and its Allies largely in response to Trump’s “Peace through Strength” doctrine.
Yet despite his nationalist “America First” stance, Trump ironically appears to be losing US military votes. Trump has not entirely kept his promises to put an end to endless wars and he has reportedly made disparaging comments against those who risked their lives in America’s wars. In addition, his repeated hypocritical tirades against the military-industrial complex—which he claims “want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy”—may have turned even more Neo-Conservatives and Christian Conservatives against him. This appears true despite the fact he has been engaging in the greatest arms build-up in world history—over $700 billion per year —while refusing to engage in arms control and multilateral diplomacy.
VIII. American legitimacy crisis
Voter alienation is the deeper problem facing American governance. There has been a general disillusionment with the American system of governance and the historic lies told by American leadership—both Democrats and Republicans—that has nothing to do with Russian or Chinese propaganda and interference in the election process. Voter turn-out has been less than 60% since 1972 Vietnam War era—before the days of Facebook and efforts by states, political groups and social “bots” to target social media.
What makes Trump’s excessive lying different than those of previous presidents is that he is using those lies to undermine American liberalism at home and multilateralism abroad for the personal profit of the Trump family and friends—first pushing chloroquine, for example, and now an experimental antibody treatment, other self-serving business dealings. Trump has become a victim of one of his many lies—his downplaying of the dangers of Covid. Just when Trump was trying to deflect public attention away from his outrageous mishandling of the Covid crisis, his hospitalization brought the “Chinese virus” back with a furor.
It is now clear that Trump knew the dangers of Covid as early as late January. Yet he actively opposed wearing face masks, physical distancing, and other necessary sanitation measures as a tool to criticize Biden and the Democrats. Tougher sanitation policies could have saved between 70% and 99% of those who died. The US now has the 9th largest death toll in the world per one million people—or roughly 20% of all one million Covid deaths so far. An estimated 300,000 Americans could die by the end of the year. One protest poster put it: “He knew. He lied. 214,000 Died.”
Assuming he is not seriously ill, and continues his presidential campaign, Trump will most likely try to use his bout with Covid to gain public sympathy—much as English Prime Minister Boris Johnson was able to do after he became ill with Covid. Trump is attempting to play Captain America in a personal battle against the “Chinese virus”—for votes! On the other hand, if Trump is too ill (or dies), or reluctantly opts to step down, particularly if he clearly loses the elections, Mike Pence could take his place in accord with the fifth negative scenario previously outlined. And just as Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, Pence could then pardon Trump from ongoing criminal investigations into Trump, Inc.
A number of scenarios are still possible. There is a possibility that Covid or other factors—such as the illness of Biden or a war scare—could impact the election in unexpected ways. And the Election could fall into the House of Representatives or be decided in the Supreme Court—if no candidate obtains a clear Electoral College victory.
Speculation aside, if Trump does continue to run for president, it appears dubious that Trump’s hospitalization will lead him to re-consider his self-serving kleptocratic and nepotistic authoritarian course.
IX. Why vote for Biden?
Assuming the election process goes as planned, it is time to give Biden and the Democrats a chance. As opposed to Trump 4eva’s authoritarian path, it is possible that a Biden “transition” could open the door to significant reforms in the highly dysfunctional American system of democratic, economic, and environmental governance—that could benefit all Americans. And as an alternative to Trump’s unilateralist “Peace through Strength” doctrine, the Biden administration could engage in concerted diplomacy to construct regional peace and development communities in conflict zones throughout the planet—as I argued in World War Trump.
The task will not be easy because the coming “greater depression” will most likely hit the US and the world sometime during the next two presidential mandates—making it more and more difficult to implement sound domestic reforms and peace-oriented international policies regardless of who is President… I intend to discuss democratic reforms in a future WSI philippic… For now, it is crucial to vote massively for Biden—rather than vote for Trump or for a third party—or not to vote at all.