Wednesday, January 6, 2021

We Were Warned

Eleven months ago, the man who had been Donald Trump’s personal lawyer testified before Congress that Trump would not turn over power peacefully to his successor.

He was roundly dismissed for this as being alarmist.

Today the United States is in the middle of a right-wing coup led by its outgoing president and supported by a disturbingly large portion of the Republican Party and much of his base. The Constitution, the law, and the survival of the United States as a republic hang in the balance.

Trump has repeatedly sought to overthrow the election in the courts, but when the courts demanded evidence of his delusional accusations and received only further delusions they threw out his challenges in some of the most scornful decisions I have ever read, many of which were written by judges Trump appointed. Trump then turned to hysterically tweeting conspiracy theories, fleecing his supporters for donations, shaking down state officials like some third-rate mafioso, openly calling for violence from his right-wing extremist base, and demanding that his vice president simply appoint him to a new term in office.

His minions in Congress have sued to allow the vice president to do this, only to have the courts throw that out as the stupid and seditious nonsense that it is.

And now 12 Republican Senators and over a hundred Republican representatives are going to try to have Congress overturn the freely expressed will of the American people at an event where they have don’t even have the authority to ask questions, let alone take action.

Today Congress and the vice president have exactly three tasks laid out for them by the Constitution.

The Vice President opens the envelopes containing the certified electoral votes sent in by the states and attests that these are the votes sent by the states. It is the states, after all, who control this process under the Constitution.

Congress then verifies that those are indeed the votes certified by the states.
The votes are then counted and the winner reported.
So long as one candidate has a majority (clearly true in this case), that is ALL they are empowered to do.

In the absence of any controversy within the states (and there is no such controversy in existence since every state has certified one slate of electoral votes in accordance with their state laws at the time of the election) Congress has no right whatsoever to question those votes or to disenfranchise the majority of American citizens who voted. The vice-president, contrary to Trump’s delusional assertions, does not have the authority to decide whether to count the votes or not. The people have voted. The states have certified. The electors have voted. There are no legitimate controversies. There is nothing actionable for Congress to base any demand or motion on. For Congress to do anything other than accept these results and report them out is a clear violation of the law and the Constitution and a treasonous assault on the legitimately elected government of the United States of America.

18 US Code Sections 2384 and 2385 prescribe penalties of fines and up to twenty years imprisonment for such crimes. Just pointing that out for future reference.
This didn’t start with Trump. It goes back a long way and is just the culmination of a trend decades in the making.

The right-wing fringe of the Republican Party has been very clear for nearly half a century that it has little use for democracy that the only legitimate votes are Republican votes, the only legitimate candidates are Republican candidates, and the only legitimate victories are Republican victories and in recent years that fringe has become the mainstream of the party. We saw that with decades of systematic voter suppression by Republican legislatures and officials. We saw that when the GOP legislatures of Wisconsin and North Carolina threw toddler-level tantrums at incoming Democratic governors in the last few years. We’re now watching the GOP legislature of Pennsylvania refuse to seat a Democratic state senator despite the fact that his victory has been certified by both Republican state officials and the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, the only bodies who have any say in that matter.

There are Republican officials who have realized that this has gone too far. Who are belatedly fighting back against the Trump Coup. There are Republican voters who understand that their candidate lost and that's just what happens in a democracy. But they are fighting against their own party and their own leaders, and how that will end is an open question. It is late in the game and the outcome for the United States is not certain.

This is an attempted coup against the United States of America by Trump and his supporters.

It must be opposed by all patriotic Americans, across the board. It must be put down, firmly and utterly. And there must be consequences for those who brought rebellion to this nation.


Janiece said...

What really makes me weep about this fiasco is that even though tRump and the retRumplicans (as opposed to, you know, ACTUAL Republicans) have committed seditious acts over and and over and over, there will be NO actual consequences for any of them. None. Zip. Zilch. Holding politicians or anyone with sufficient wealth/power accountable for their illegal misdeeds isn't something we do in this country. We didn't hold Nixon accountable, and we won't hold tRump and the rest of those treasonous knobs accountable either. Consequences are for the peasants, not the Lords of the Manor.

Incidentally, this also makes me apoplectic with rage.

David said...

Well, rage is the appropriate response to sedition, after all.

We need to impose consequences for this. There is a direct line of increasing lawlessness from Watergate to Iran/Contra to Trump and it needs to stop before it escalates further.

The Founders understood that republics were fragile things and this one would eventually die. They just didn't know when it would happen. We may, now.