Tuesday, August 18, 2020

From Riggee To Rigger

 They said it could never happen in America …

 In 2016, Donald trump claimed that the republican primary campaign was “rigged” against him by the Party establishment.  (The first in a long line of claims unsubstantiated by any proof.) Yet he won that Party’s nomination. The charge of rigging suddenly disappeared. It “just went away, like a miracle.”

 In the general election of 2016, Trump was expected to guaranteed lose to Hillary Clinton. So once again Trump pulled out the “rigged election” card to provide a face-saving way to buffer himself from that loss. Except that he once again won. And with that, the charge of rigging suddenly disappeared once again.

 It would be later that the FBI, the Mueller investigation, and the Senate Intelligence Committee would each conclude that Trump had more than a little help from the Russians to achieve his victory (“Russia, if you are listening …”). The cry of “rigged” then moved to the never-ending mantra of “hoax,” with four continual years of Trump attempting to justify the legitimacy of his election in spite of losing the popular vote of the country.

 Now we come to Election 2020, with the full power of the presidency to support a “no holds barred/no tools unutilized” campaign for reelection. This effort is happening on two fronts: 1) foreign interference once again, and 2) domestic voting. Trump revealed his openness to foreign assistance in his well-documented attempt to solicit Ukraine’s negative involvement in Joe Biden’s campaign, along with his public call in a White House lawn press briefing encouraging China to do the same, plus his interview with George Stephanopoulos which he declared he would welcome negative campaign information from foreign powers (despite the illegality of such an action). And by using Russian operators from his buddy Vladimir Putin to once again spread misinformation through U.S. social media outlets.

Meanwhile, domestically Trump is pushing the election levers to try to prevent voters from voting – specifically targeting likely Democratic voters. At the moment, this is predominately focused on blocking increased turnout through the expanded use of mail-in voting during this critical pandemic period, turnout which is expected to work against Trump and Republican candidates in general.

First, Trump mounted a propaganda campaign that expanded voting by mail would expand the likelihood of voter fraud – once again without offering any proof whatsoever and disputed by bi-partisan state Secretaries of State who conduct these elections. In fact, sates have been using voting-by-mail for years – for military personnel, U.S. citizens living abroad, and ill and disabled voters – without significant (non-existent) fraud issues. Even Trump, and several of his White House team, have voted by mail, and Trump has already requested a mail-in ballot for his Florida residency. Nevertheless, his “fraud” campaign continues on unrelentingly.

All of this propaganda campaign is on the front end of the mail-in voting battlefield. On the back end is an insidious effort to disrupt the mailing process itself, and thereby raise doubt about the reliability of the United States Postal Service to potentially deliver the ballots. Toward this end, Trump installed yet another unqualified loyalist minion and mega-donor named Louis DeJoy to be the new Postmaster General. Among DeJoy’s first executive acts – under the guide of cost-cutting needs – was to cut the USPS budget, overtime scheduling, and staffing levels, which immediately began to slow down delivery service. This was followed by the “Friday night dismissal” of nearly two dozen senior USPS executives and department heads, with no replacements made, thereby leaving himself in one-man charge. Next has come the unannounced removal of public mail drops, the dismantling and removal (and destruction) of million-dollar mail sorting machines, and new scheduling procedures which has mail trucks departing while unsorted mail is left behind. Then the announcement that all political mail, including ballot mailings, would henceforth be reclassified from automatic “1st class mail” (a priority) to “bulk mail” (low priority). Ultimately, in his usual arrogance that he can get away with anything he does, Trump declared publicly that this scenario is in fact intended to block expanded mail-in voting.

The Constitutionally-mandated USPS is a critical component of our economic, communications, product delivery, financial transaction infrastructure and way of life which Trump is willing to ignore in his self-focused drive to be reelected. The specter of a diminished USPS, during this Election 2020 is blatantly visible. And who is standing up to defend us against these near-criminal acts? Lawsuits from coalitions of state Attorneys General and/or Secretaries of State? Do we need to request that the Carter Center, which specializes in monitoring elections in 3rd-world countries, gear up to do the same here?  Certainly not our ineffectual Congress, who just left town on recess.

We have open, full-scale visible attempts by Donald Trump to rig the election. Incapable of articulating a persuasive political argument; a disastrous absence of leadership in defending America against a pandemic; an approval poll rating falling each week – the man who claimed to have been “rigged” has now become “the rigger.” We must therefore be prepared for more Trump maneuvers to come. When they do, we must be prepared to resist such challenges, be flexible in our personal responses, and find our own creative ways to ensure that our ballots are received and our votes counted. Regardless of our political party affiliation, our passion for any particular candidate or policy, this action by Trump is a substantive threat to the ideas and principles of democracy itself who should be resisted by all Americans.

They said it could never happen in America … But it is happening. Here. Now. In America.

11 weeks to Election Day, November 3rd.

©   2020   Randy Bell             https://ThoughtsFromTheMountain.blogspot.com