I still have nightmares that Donald Trump will be re-elected. The polls don’t show that, but there’s three months to go and lots of time to scheme and act. Right now his campaign contains three potent dangers.
Perhaps the most threatening action that could re-elect Trump is voter suppression. The Southern wing of the GOP has lots of experience with this going back 150 years.
First, let’s confirm real facts. There is not a scintilla of evidence that voter fraud is a threat to the integrity of our elections. But Trump is pumping up fear of fraud and that is sending the GOP into high gear.
They have announced that they will spend $20 million to employ 50,000 “poll watchers” in 15 critical states. Some of the money will also fight Democratic lawsuits claiming that such actions represent voter suppression, as well as pay for ads warning about fraud, which, I remind you, will all be bunk.
The GOP has done this before. It had to agree to cease and desist all “ballot security” actions in New Jersey in 1982. Another suit in 1986 in Louisiana uncovered an internal memo that the purpose was to “keep the Black vote down.” And again in 1990 and 2004 other courts had to stop Republicans from threatening voters.
But in 2018 a conservative judge lifted all those restrictions, allowing the GOP to crow that now the courts are “allowing the RNC to play by the same rules as Democrats.” But Democrats had no such equivalent court actions.
Thirty-three states now have some sort of ID restrictions that will allow poll watchers to lurk over the shoulders of poll workers and whine the next day that the election was invalid in case the president is not re-elected.
Second, Russian help. Trump obviously worships Vladimir Putin and treasures every word coming from that thug. Maybe Trump sees in him a surrogate “very strong, powerful” father.
But whatever – it’s obvious. When asked in Helsinki if Putin had interfered in our election he said, “. . . I can’t imagine why he would.” Really? To get you elected, knucklehead!
Trump has called Putin seven times recently. Why? That’s the 64-dollar question. Why? He refuses to say and my mother would tell me that anyone who won’t talk has something to hide. Maybe Putin is telling him how to steal an election.
Even after having been told that our intelligence services believe that Putin has been paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops, Trump still hasn’t done a thing.
He’s removing 12,000 U.S. troops from Germany. He didn’t ask Department of Defense, the State Department or Congress. So where’d he get that idea? To cut the alliance between Europe and the U.S. has been a Russian objective for 70 years. Putin must be thrilled. You decide: the U.S. is weaker with allies (Trump), or stronger (Defense, State and both political parties.).
As the speaker of the House of Representatives has said, “All roads lead to Putin.”
It’s inescapable – our president is a Russian intelligence asset and they will work to keep him in office.
Third, the October Surprise. By now everybody knows that Attorney General William Barr acts not as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, but as Trump’s legal bodyguard. He’s got his October ducks in a clear row.
Months ago he selected federal attorneys John Durham from Connecticut and John Huber from Utah to “look into” the “spying” (as the not-very-impartial Barr described it) that the FBI did in 2016 on four members of the Trump campaign. Three of them went to jail. The FBI says that the “investigations” were properly “predicated” by intelligence that Russia was helping the Trump campaign.
I’m predicting that the attorneys will indict several individuals as part of an Obama “plot” to illegally surveil the Trump campaign. How impactful will this be? I don’t know. But it’s coming.
When will this plague of conservative craziness end? As Republican political consultant Stuart Stevens recently wrote, “This collapse of a major political party as a moral governing force is unlike anything we have seen in modern American politics.”
Jack Batson is a former member of the Fairfield City Council. Reach him by email at jbatson[email protected].