by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ September 5, 2020
What will happen when Trump loses the election?
This question is the leitmotif of all US conversations that are even moderately political, and it is impossible not to be political in the middle of a pandemic and economic disaster. It is gnawing at us as national anxiety and outrage build.
Most people are sick of Trump and sick of the political dysfunction that has crippled the nation and failed to solve any of our problems. Everyone wants this to go away, but it won’t. We are experiencing the anguish, stress, and hopelessness of someone facing the pending death of someone close. We desperately need it to be over but not the way it is going to end. We cannot escape it, and we cannot change it. Only the details are pending, and we don’t want to know.
I think there is enough known to make a strong projection of the likely actions after Trump’s loss. We have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about many things in the last four years and a deluge of information over the previous six months. Why not lay it out and then decide what actions we need, individually and communally, to take?
We know the nature of Trump’s incompetence and his performance level political skills. We also know far more than we would like about narcissistic psychopaths and the details filled in by people involved, from family to professionals. Trump follows the patterns very closely. That is what he is.
We also know that the Republican Party has collapsed entirely into a pseudo fascist and racist personality cult modeled on Putin and his Russian mafioso supporters. The connection is a fact, but that is not my point here. These issues are only relevant to potential actions based on the direct influences that we will face.
The opposition to the Trump Party is also well known. What has been allowed is a very weak Democratic candidate who poses no threat to the system that, incidentally, created Trump. Biden is a decent person, unlike Trump. Still, he has spent his life as a politician fully integrated into making the Democratic Party the centrist faction of a one-party militarist and neoliberal state. He has no other influences.
The offering from the Democratic Party is the promise of a return to the Obama era of competence with the absence of embarrassing disasters national and international. The assumption was that this is the minimum that would be enough. Months of constant, predominantly peaceful, and powerful BLM demonstrations with broad popular support showed that belief to be a mistake. Biden’s struggle with selecting a running mate became crucial to plastering on a working façade of democratic socialist principles with a representative of the nation’s future to avoid losing many of the majority population.
The inclusion of Kamala Harris is a nod to the inadequacy of the Democratic offer for those who are educated or younger than forty years old. Harris is nonwhite, female, professional, with a good record, but never the less a politician painted with acceptance of the police state and the abuses of predatory capitalism.
The vice presidency is almost powerless but works as the guard dog for the president, allowing the president to stay clear of the ongoing political fray. In this situation, the hope is that a young professional from a nonwhite family will counter both Biden’s lack of energy and suggest a route to a different presidency if Biden begins to fail.
This candidate is unique as an option for the more progressive transformation that the majority knows is essential but is now presented as a kind of alternate president if the elected president opts out or collapses. The absolute failure of the Trump regime with the removal of all pretense that the Trump Party is anything but an aging, misogynistic, white supremacist and fascist throwback means that a loss by Biden-Harris, as weak as Biden is, will be a coup.
So what will happen?
Because of mail-in voting in response to the pandemic and the complete failure to control it nationally, we know that the vote tally will take days, at least. There are already warnings that with the dominance of older, less educated white voters favoring in-person voting, Trump will receive more of his minority of votes on election day. This distortion may hold although the confusing and ridiculous messages from Trump and his stooges that mail-in voting is somehow new and dangerous but only in predominantly Democratic areas could reduce in-person voting as the pandemic continues to worsen in the fall.
As we know, Trump’s core voters are the most likely to become critically ill and die in the combined autumn flu season that may frighten away all but the most programmed. This demographic difference could skew election night totals toward Trump. We also now have a significant act of Trump self destruction in his attack on the dead, injured, and POW veterans. While his followers, despite their religion having lost even the pretense of morality, veterans are the symbols of America’s greatness to these people. The combination of a significantly worsening pandemic threat and disgust with attacks on disabled veterans by a draft dodger could reduce their presence at polling places on election day.
Whether this happens or not, Trump will, early on election night, try to declare victory while simultaneously loudly claiming that the whole election is invalid. A critical question will be what response comes from Republicans in Congress at this action. I expect they will follow their current pattern, having no problem with a coup in their favor but remain quiet as this is dangerous, and no one knows what the public reaction will be. The usual fringe Republican congress people will shout support, but the media will downplay this while waiting for results to complete.
I suspect that, even if the election evening results show a lead for Trump, that will disappear as the early mail-in ballots are tallied. But the vote tally will not matter to Trump, who will increase the noise, lies, conspiracies, outrage, and calls for violent action by his followers.
A significant variable is the level of violence that will occur at voting stations in urban areas. Trump is organizing both illegal militias, corrupt police, and his unmarked federal thugs to intimidate minority voters. The laws preventing this were removed, but it is not clear what will happen or how extensive a BLM or general public counter to this will be. I expect it to be significant.
I would project that the mainstream media will cover this but downplay it by looking for representatives of the Antifa movement or at other minority groups attempting to protect the right to vote. It will be both sides are doing this, so no condemnation. But severe violence could significantly reduce the support for Trump’s calls for violence during the final tally, but that is minor. Trump and Barr’s strategy is not to win this in the street but to move the election to their loaded courts and kill it there.
The largest variable is how Biden-Harris respond to Trump’s performance. If Trump’s early lead does not appear and the numbers are close to conclusive for Biden, they must declare their win early and not delay. Waiting for certainty is a way to die. I expect that this may fall to Kalama if the situation is sliding out of control during the night and morning after election day. The best action is for Biden to declare victory and ask for official and public support to prevent violence by Trump’s followers, but I’m not sure Biden is up to the challenge.
If Biden waffles or is unwilling to declare, the election will slide into chaos, and Trump will complete his coup. Once the thing goes to the courts, both state and federal, no decision will stand. Threats of violence in urban areas and coordinated foreign manipulation will increase exponentially, and endless debate of increasingly outrageous legal justifications for ignoring the election. This story will become old news as people try to gain some relief at Thanksgiving and the holidays during a worsening pandemic. The mainstream media will only allow a single week to a major disaster, and the blinders go back on to boost holiday sales.
The alternative with Biden-Harris quickly declaring victory must include immediate action to shutdown propaganda to prevent Trump’s use of federal forces of any type to create armed violence across the country. He has made an outrageous claim about a Biden win to start a self-fulfilling prophecy in the time until the inauguration. There are no formal mechanisms to allow an election winner to prevent devastation by the incumbent loser who is attempting a coup. This situation will require strong leadership and willingness to demand loyalty from legitimate police forces, National Guard forces in alliance with governors, and widespread action to stop illegal acts.
I don’t see a way to avoid this type of constitutional crisis and salvage the nation without direct and extralegal action by Biden and Harris immediately following election day.
But if that does not happen, the alternative will be the breakup of the union. Some urban areas of the country will descend into violence in defense, and the prosperous coastal metropolitan regions will begin to wall themselves off and secede.
Trump and his regressive forces will lose the election. The only question will be the cost of that loss, and that cost may be the nation itself.
It is important to understand that this great American tragedy, while the center of our sick fixation and mesmerizing for the world, is not the end everything. Trump is only a symptom of deep internal cultural problems but the world has moved on and the US is rapidly shrinking to a large and troublesome side story.
The planet has new management and far bigger problems than the flashback to pseudo fascism among an aging and racist population in North America. China is taking control and things are going to be different. The focus now needs to be on how to control what that management will mean for good or ill.