I have now finished reading the latest two books in which liberal politicians and journalists continue to push the idea that thanks to Trump and the Big Lie, we are just steps away from the collapse of democracy and its replacement by an autocrat backed up by his MAGA hordes. The liberal politician is Jamie Raskin, Unthinkable – Trauma, Truth and the Trials of American Democracy, and the liberal journalists are Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, This Will Not Pass – Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.
Raskin is a member of the Democratic House caucus who helped manage the second Trump impeachment trial and serves on the House Select Committee; Martin and Burns are both reporters for The Failing New York Times.
How close did we come to losing the basic underpinnings of American democracy on January 6th? Damn close – according to both books.
And we are hardly out of the woods, because if the POS/GOP controls the Congress after this November’s vote, or even if they don’t, Trump and his minions are loading up to force another showdown between autocracy and democracy in 2024.
To quote Martin and Burns: “Far from a singularly durable democratic power, the United States looked in some ways more like other countries around the world that had battled strongman-style populism – nations like Italy and Brazil and many others.” [p. 436]
To quote Raskin: “What Trump’s actions revealed is that our presidential election system is riddled with potential vulnerabilities and booby traps. In 2020, he trampled over all of them, and they held – just barely, by the slimmest of margins.” [p. 414]
So, let’s take these guys at their most fearful and pretend that what they think might have happened in 2020 actually did take place. Let’s pretend that the MAGA shitheads got into the Senate chamber while the Senators were still there, let’s assume that Hawley and Cruz and a couple of other POS/GOP dip-shits raised their fists in salute, let’s assume that Mike Pence announced that the vote would be ‘postponed’ until some later date, let’s assume that Orange Shithead made a video in which he promised to stay in the White House for as long as it would take to undo the ‘fraud.’
So, effectively the government would be shut down and for all we know, maybe it would take the Supreme Court to review and rule on what would certainly be a mountain of lawsuits and litigation on both sides. And let’s think the unthinkable and pretend that another big SCOTUS mob attacked the Supreme Court building and by a 6-3 margin, the Court decided that the election results had to be thrown out and the Congress had to come up with a new system for electing a President by 2024.
Isn’t this basically what liberals like Raskin, Burns and Martin are saying might have happened in 2020 and could actually take place in 2024?
Yep. That’s exactly what they and the rest of the Fake News are saying virtually every day. If I had a nickel for every time a Fake News media outlet has called Orange Shithead an ‘autocrat’ who continues planning to end the democratic system as it has been functioning since 1789….
Except there’s only one little problem with this apocalyptic approach to the future of America’s reliance on the concept of one man or one woman equals one vote. And the problem is that even though Jamie Raskin went to Harvard College and then Harvard Law, maybe he needs to go back to college and retake Political Science 101.
Let’s pretend that the entire federal government, all 14 agencies which make up the Executive branch, are shut down by Trump and he announces that he will run the government by decree. It just so happens that there are 50 other democratically elected governments that would still be functioning and whose activities have a lot more to do with the daily lives of the average citizen than anything which happens in D.C.
So, if Trump were running the federal government out of the seat of his pants, does that mean that all or even one state governor would quit and go home? If the Congress of the United States was no longer meeting and debating or whatever they do, does this mean that 50 state legislatures would also cease to exist?
When the first Continental Congress met in 1774, which was 25 years before the United States began operating as an independent country, there were 5 representatives at the 1774 meeting from Massachusetts. Those guys were sent down to the meeting by their own colonial congress, which had been meeting since 1629. The first meeting of the Virginia colonial assembly was in 1619.
In other words, the roots and practices of government based on a representative body of elected officials coming together was more than a century old even before the Unite States government ever appeared. And by the way, when the federal government did start to operate, these state governments that were all democratically elected, continued to do their work from then right up to the present day.
If an autocrat like Trump were to shut down the government in D.C. it would be a bonanza for the states because right now the 50 states send a lot more money to Washington than they get in return. If Virginia stopped sending taxes it collects across the Potomac River and distributed those funds to the state population today, every resident of that state would receive a check for about eleven grand.
And by the way, don’t think for one second that we’re only talking dollars when we think about the power and authority of the individual states versus the Big Guy in D.C. The Governor of each state is also the individual who can call out the National Guard, okay?
How long do you think a lazy schmuck like Donald Trump would actually be able to show up every day to run a government that could only enforce laws which must be obeyed by the 700,000 residents of D.C?
A week? Two weeks at most?
So much for the ‘threat’ of autocracy in the United States.