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We’re in danger of losing our democracy. Most Americans are in denial.

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By Max Boot

It has been stirring to see so many Americans come together to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom. But it is dismaying to see that there is no similar consensus on defending democracy at home. Indeed, much of the country remains in denial about the threat.

A year after the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol, a CNN poll asked whether it’s likely “that, in the next few years, some elected officials will successfully overturn the results of an election.” Fifty-one percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats said it’s not at all likely. Only 46 percent of Democrats and independents said that U.S. democracy is under attack, which helps to explain why Democratic candidates aren’t campaigning on defending democracy.

This reminds me of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denying before Feb. 24 that a Russian invasion was imminent and telling people not to “panic” even as Russian armies were massing in plain sight. Panic is generally a bad idea, but sometimes it is warranted. Now is one of those times for anyone who cares about the fate of U.S. democracy.

Republicans have succeeded in restricting voting rights in 19 states. Democrats have failed to protect voting rights at the national level because they can’t break a Senate filibuster. Meanwhile at least 23 supporters of the "big lie" — which holds that the 2020 election was stolen from former president Donald Trump — are running for secretary of state posts to oversee elections in 19 states. Other election deniers are joining election boards.

Fealty to the "big lie" has become a litmus test for GOP candidates because it has become gospel for Republican voters. More than 70 percent of Republicans regard Biden’s victory as illegitimate. Despite all the damning details that have emerged about Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the former president remains the dominant figure within the GOP, which means that most Republicans have tacitly accepted that inciting an insurrection is no big deal.

Look at what just happened in Ohio’s U.S. Senate primary: J.D. Vance, who had been languishing in third place, won the nomination after Trump endorsed him. A fervent, born-again Trumpkin, Vance told a Vanity Fair reporter that Trump supporters “should seize the institutions of the left” and launch a “de-woke-ification program” modeled on de-Baathification in Iraq. (That worked so well, right?) He says that if Trump wins again in 2024, he should “fire … every civil servant” and “replace them with our people.” If the courts try to stand in the way, ignore them. As Vanity Fair noted, “This is a description, essentially, of a coup.”

If Trump wins again, he undoubtedly will be eager to implement such an authoritarian agenda. We continually learn more about his deranged desires, which were only thwarted by the kind of responsible officeholders who will never get appointed in another Trump term.

Mark T. Esper, Trump’s former defense secretary, writes that Trump wanted to shoot peaceful protesters and launch missiles at Mexico. “He is an unprincipled person who, given his self-interest, should not be in the position of public service,” Esper concludes. John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, says that having Trump back in the White House would threaten U.S. national security. Trump’s former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, tweets, “Anyone who worked for Trump knows he is a maniac.

Yet nearly 70 percent of Republicans want this “maniac” to run again in 2024. If he does run, he will win the nomination — and on the present trajectory (with inflation spiking and Biden’s approval rating plunging) he has a good chance to win the White House.

His “trump card,” so to speak, is the House, which is likely to be under GOP control after the midterms. CNBC founder Tom Rogers and former Democratic senator Timothy E. Wirth point out in Newsweek that controlling the House would allow Trump to steal the presidency if the election is close.

Republican state legislatures in swing states that Biden (or another Democrat) narrowly wins can claim the results are fraudulent and send in competing slates of electors pledged to Trump. The House and Senate would then vote on which electors to accept. Even if the Senate remains Democratic, a GOP-controlled House could prevent Biden from getting the 270 electoral votes needed to win. It would then fall to the House to decide the presidency.

A majority of House Republicans already voted in 2020 to throw out electoral college votes for Biden. Even more are likely to do so in 2024 after four years of Trumpist purges. With the support of the Jan. 6 Republicans, the orange emperor can waltz back into the White House and finish destroying U.S. democracy.

There is no plausible electoral college reform bill that could avert such a catastrophe. The only way to save democracy is to vote for Democrats in the fall. And I say that as an ex-Republican turned independent. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with Democrats on some issues. The overriding issue is the preservation of our democracy.

That might sound hyperbolic to some — but that’s precisely the problem. Like so many Ukrainians before Feb. 24, most Americans remain in denial about the threat to our country.


Edited by homersapien
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8 hours ago, jj3jordan said:

Well let’s hope so.

so you hope to see democracy fail? at least you admit the truth....................

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1 hour ago, aubiefifty said:

so you hope to see democracy fail? at least you admit the truth....................

No I hope to see democrats fail. To save the country. The constitutional republic. 

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Leaked emails from Trump’s lawyer show blueprint for a 2024 coup


The House committee examining the insurrection attempt has obtained new emails from the lawyer who helped concoct Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the 2020 election. They reveal a whole new level of scheming behind that effort, which was even more nefarious than previously thought.

But the emails also raise forward-looking questions: What do these new revelations tell us about how the subsequent efforts to steal a presidential election might unfold? And could conditions be different next time in a way that might facilitate such a scheme?

The answers to these questions are unsettling. But they also point toward a way we can protect ourselves from the worst. Will Congress act?

The emails from lawyer John Eastman show him urging GOP state legislators in Pennsylvania to cast doubt on 2020 vote totals, to create cover to certify a slate of presidential electors for Trump. Politico reported on the emails, which the Jan. 6 select committee obtained from the University of Colorado, where Eastman worked at the time.

The key revelation: Eastman’s scheme had an additional layer to it. We already knew his plan centered on urging Trump’s vice president to abuse his role in the congressional count of electors to subvert the election’s conclusion.

Now, in these new emails, Eastman is seen devising a pretext for state legislatures to invalidate Joe Biden’s electors and certify sham Trump electors. He advises a Pennsylvania legislator to use a complex formula — based on treating mailed-in ballots as illegitimate — to extrapolate that enough Biden votes are invalid to show Trump won the popular vote.

Eastman writes:

Then, having done that math, you’d be left with a significant Trump lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote. That would help provide some cover.

Eastman advises the legislator to argue that Biden electors certified by the governor are thus “null and void.”

This is extraordinary stuff. Eastman advised that a state legislature should concoct a fig leaf justification for declaring the correct Biden electors certified by the governor invalid and certifying Trump electors instead.

First note that Trump himself also did something like this. When Trump pressured the Georgia secretary of state to “find” votes to make him the winner, this was designed to create a similar pretext for replacing Biden electors with Trump ones.

“Eastman wasn’t doing anything that Trump wasn’t doing himself,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Jan. 6 committee, told me. “They were both trying to get officials in the electoral process to substitute a counterfeit for the actual vote totals.”

“Eastman was seeking to implant a new mathematical calculation contrived to produce a Trump win in Pennsylvania,” Raskin said.

These Eastman emails show that manipulating vote totals to create “cover” for state legislatures to appoint sham Trump electors was more central to the scheme than we knew.

Whether this creates more exposure for Eastman and others remains to be seen. But this also has other important implications: It reveals with more clarity an avenue by which nefarious actors might seek to subvert a future election.

Note that Eastman says, almost as an aside, that state legislators have the “authority” to appoint new electors even if the popular vote totals don’t justify it.

“Eastman’s view is that the legislature has absolute power in terms of picking presidential electors,” elections expert Richard L. Hasen told me, even if that means “ignoring the will of the voters” or “the legislature’s prior rules on how to pick those electors.”

In the future, Hasen notes, bad actors might see this as “a path to steal an election.”

There’s more: Right now many Republicans in thrall to Trump’s 2020 lies are running for positions of control over election machinery at the state level, including secretary of state positions.

Crucially, such people would be in a position to create exactly the pretext that Eastman envisioned. How? By using official stature to cast doubt on popular vote outcomes, manufacturing “cover” for a state legislature and/or governor to certify fake electors for a losing candidate. A GOP-controlled House could then count those electors and flip a state or even an election.

Eastman has laid out the blueprint. “This shows the country one more strategic booby trap that was improvised by Trump’s team that can sit there for use by bad-faith actors in future elections,” Raskin told me.

Such a scenario might appear unlikely right now. Nonetheless, all this underscores the dire need to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to minimize the risks of such a thing being attempted.

Done properly, reform could help thwart a rerun of exactly the scheme Eastman developed. It could create a requirement that if a state-level attempt is made to certify sham electors, Congress must count only the slate that the courts deem the legitimate one.

“Congress absolutely must reform the ECA to clarify that no state officials — not governors, not state secretaries of state, and not state legislators — can manipulate which electoral votes it will count,” legal scholar Matthew Seligman, an expert on the ECA, told me.

“The only way to do that is to require that Congress follow courts' decisions about which electors are valid,” Seligman said.

If Congress doesn’t act, that would mean relying on the virtue of individual actors in the right places to thwart such a scheme. But given all we’ve seen since Jan. 6, institutional reforms seem like a far safer bet, wouldn’t you say?


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15 minutes ago, jj3jordan said:

No I hope to see democrats fail. To save the country. The constitutional republic. 

Exactly.  You hope to see "democrats fail". (Small "d").

You are a self-identified fascist and a fool.

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6 hours ago, homersapien said:

Exactly.  You hope to see "democrats fail". (Small "d").

You are a self-identified fascist and a fool.

The F word again. You still don’t know what it means. Either one.  

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