Monday, December 19, 2016

Electors Need To Revolt, Not Rubberstamp 4 Years Of Trump Tyranny

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"You better all act like the pussies I expect you to be and rubber stamp me, or pay the price!"

"The only thing necessary  for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"- Edmund Burke

"Good Lord! We are about to inaugurate as president a man whose election - according to the CIA - was aided by a Russian intelligence operation. Try as we might, we cannot pretend this didn't happen." - Eugene Robinson, columnist for The Washington Post

" You want to believe Trump will be just another president – more conservative and pompous than most, but one who will make rational decisions once in office.  You are under a grave delusion. Trump has a serious personality disorder and will pose a clear and present danger to America and the world." Robert Reich,   'The 4 Syndromes of Passivity In the Face Of Impending Tyranny'. - on

Sadly, it appears that most of the nation's 538 electors simply lack the pluck or commitment to constitutional principle to prevent the Trump Tyranny from gaining a foothold. Yes, yes, I have heard the malarkey that we still have "divided government" and "articles of impeachment" to use if he gets out of hand. But if you seriously believe that then you are as drunk or deluded as the Trump voters recently interviewed in Kenosha, Wisc. who said they "never really believed what Trump said" (on the campaign trail)  because "no one would take that literally".  Well, don't be so sure when you're dealing with a guy that has explosive personality disorder as well as psychotic narcissism overlaid with feelings of omnipotence.

Better yet, if you suffer from such delusions you need to see the documentary 'The Nazis- A Warning From History', which I watched again Friday night.  By November 30, 1933 the only bastion standing between continued German (Weimar Republic) democracy and a fascist dictatorship was Paul von Hindenburg - not exactly an "electoral college" to stop a maniac from ascending to power. But Hindenburg was under relentless pressure, e. g. from Franz von Papen and others, to allow Hitler to be Chancellor to halt the endless political infighting. Predictably, Hindenburg caved under pressure  convinced by other German politicians (mainly Social Democrats) that "we will be able to control Hitler". One of the Social Democrats interviewed some 45 years later admitted in retrospect, "What fools we were! We didn't realize he and the Nazi Party would change the laws!"   And change them he did, specifically using the Enabling Act, e.g.

Is Donald Trump every bit as bad as Hitler?  We don't know, only that they share many of the same personality defects and disorders, namely for narcissism and authoritarianism. One of the most alarming comparisons is that both have exhibited  thin skins and a vengeful mindset. A person would be a fool not to think these attributes would not emerge in a President Trump as they did in a Chancellor Hitler as he altered laws, after demolishing the Reichstag, to speed his path to one man rule.

A NY Times editorial ('Is Donald Trump A Threat To Democracy?') in its Sunday Review noted:

"Drawing on a close study of democracy’s demise in 1930s Europe, the eminent political scientist Juan J. Linz designed a “litmus test” to identify anti-democratic politicians. His indicators include a failure to reject violence unambiguously, a readiness to curtail rivals’ civil liberties, and the denial of the legitimacy of elected governments.

Mr. Trump tests positive. In the campaign, he encouraged violence among supporters; pledged to prosecute Hillary Clinton; threatened legal action against unfriendly media; and suggested that he might not accept the election results.This anti-democratic behavior has continued since the election. With the false claim that he lost the popular vote because of “millions of people who voted illegally,” Mr. Trump openly challenged the legitimacy of the electoral process. At the same time, he has been remarkably dismissive of United States intelligence agencies’ reports of Russian hacking to tilt the election in his favor"

The Times piece goes on to emphasize constitutional protections and so-called safeguards are not enough if these aren't also reinforced by strong informal norms or expectation, say of how state or federal government should act. Thus, if I find that what's going on in the state of NC now to be outrageous (the previous gov wiping out all powers for the incoming Dem gov) and a Trumpster sees nothing to get worked up over....we have a problem,  a serious one. As I told Janice Friday night while we viewed the Nazi documentary, this is the exact template Hitler used to become the Fuhrer: alter the powers of checks and balances to avoid constraints.

Alas, recounting history for Trump's blind groupies is probably a fool's errand, since they are too submerged in fake news and may not see the peril in his taking office.  But one must expect more from the state  electors  meeting at noon today, who hold the future of this nation now in their hands. And while it is true Hitler - like all demagogues - was finally removed from power, it wasn't until Germany was basically reduced to rubble after a World War.  (My sister-in-law, Krimhilde, still speaks of Russian soldiers going door to door raping German women as "revenge" for Hitler's invasion of Russia.)

So that from the historical perspective alone, the time to rid the nation of this Trump pestilence is now - not hoping for a miracle stop it after the fact. True, the recounts didn't work, but this was because one state (PA) never allowed them to begin, and in the two others (WI, MI) the recounts of provisional and other ballots in mainly African -American areas (e.g. of Detroit and Milwaukee) were never allowed.

See e.g.

So the only barricade now against Trump and his utter destruction of the nation we love is the Electoral College. It is in them, at least 37 of them, that we've placed our trust to grow a pair and stand tall as opposed to rolling over to perform the perfunctory. (And admittedly, it hasn't been easy for them, with threats issuing from state attorneys general not to "revolt" as well one lower court hysterical judge here in Colorado who insisted faithless electors would be guilty of a "criminal offense". No, they emphatically would not , since breaking a rubberstamp oath is not the same as perjury or 'treason')

But according to an AP release ('Don't Look For The Electors To Upend Trump Victory', Denver Post. p. 15A, Dec. 16):

"Whether they like Trump or not, and some plainly don't, scores of the Republicans chosen to cast votes in the state capitol meetings told the AP they feel bound by history, party loyalty or the law to rubberstamp their states' results and make him president"

Which is astounding, given that the Electoral College - as I noted in a previous post- was the one institution specifically designed to stop a demagogue like Trump from sullying the office.

Writing in The Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton for his own part was blunt and to the point and his words bear directly on Trump's entanglements with his many foreign businesses and their diplomats:

"Nothing is more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to a cabal, intrigue or corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.

How could they better gratify this than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?

Hamilton then lists the measures to ensure safeguards from overt foreign influence in our councils,  including, e.g.   no senators, representatives or others holding a position of trust shall be named as state electors, i.e. to the Electoral College.

However, later he leaves open the possibility that the same electors can ensure the integrity of the office through their own discretion which may, at some extreme points, diverge from what the people themselves voted for (particularly if motivated by passion as opposed to reason).

Thus we read:

"The process of election (by state electors) affords a moral certainty that the office of President shall never fall to the lot of any man who is not to an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications...It will not be too strong to say that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue."

One is left to ask if all those hesitant Republican electors have read Hamilton's essay. If not, why not? Also, how can you possibly place blind party loyalty above the welfare of the whole nation? Can we not agree that if the nation's welfare is threatened, its security compromised, then political parties mean little or nothing? After all, they cannot exist in a vacuum,  apart from a vibrant and secure nation, especially one whose electoral system is beyond reproach.

As for "history", sorry, the only relevant history entails Alexander Hamilton's spot on essay in The Federalist #68 to stop a man "who is not to an eminent degree with the requisite qualifications"

As for the appeal to "duty" - there is only one duty in the end and that is to the citizens of the nation and to the constitution. And since the Trumpists have already shown to have been catapulted to near the seat of power by "mischief of faction" (in Madison's words in Federalist #10) the only duty of electors is in ensuring Trump is not our President next month. Pick Mitt Romney (who clearly has an axe to grind after Trump jettisoned him from Secretary of State consideration), or even Joe Biden - if you can't find a moderate Repub with the gumption to buck the Trumpistas.

Washington elector Bret Chiafolo, quoted in the Post piece, agrees that knocking out Trump is a :losing bet" but he also says:

"It's one the Republic's founders would want us to make. I believe Donald Trump is a unique danger to our country and the Founding Fathers put the Electoral College in place  to among other things, stop that from happening."

If the electors fail to stop this abomination from happening, for whatever reason, then they will have a long time to process Edmund Burke's famous words at the top.

Footnote: FBI Director James Comey now agrees with the CIA Director John  Brennan, and the National Intelligence Director, James Clapper, that "Russia hacked into DNC accounts to influence U.S. elections to help Donald Trump.".  Over the weekend 80 electors requested the intelligence community for more evidence, but were denied- obviously to await the release of the full report. But also because disclosure of cyber-hacking detection methods undermines their efficacy.  it doesn't matter in any case. There is more than ample material on record to raise the issue of reasonable doubt that a Trump presidency would be in the interests of the nation. In such a case, the electors need to revolt.

See also:

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