Josh Hawley? Ted Cruz? Or someone who's actually smarter and even more Machiavellian than our former President Donald J. Trump had been? Looking back at the stunningly obvious coup attempt that went full bore after Arizona's vote call for now President Joe Biden by Fox News, I can only imagine what might have happened had our self-proclaimed "stable genius" been smart enough to pay attention to the details.
Trump had really launched his coup d'etat well before the actual votes … way back just before the Iowa caucuses when he began bad-mouthing mail-in voting. He was actually a bit miffed that Republicans had not done a better job of passing laws restricting voting access. (This is something many Republicans are going all out on right now. They're passing Trumplican laws … as in, any vote not for Trump isn't a vote at all. Just think of the possible mottos: Vote Trump or Go to Jail! All in the name of Trump's sort of "new" political party, the aforementioned Trumplicans.)
But what Trump has really done, along with Republican Senators more concerned about themselves than American democracy, has produced a detailed outline (with some embellishments added that he misunderstood) for how a really smart, evil President with an autocratic heart and mind to follow could take it all in the U.S.A.
So, hey Americans … we've got a few details to address!
I doubt Trump understood the details of just how America's Presidential voting methodology actually works. All I have to say about that is, "Thank God!"
Trump focused on higher state office levels and his inept sycophantic vice president to swing the vote. But imagine what could have happened if he'd focused more on a number of his true believers toiling in the background while the votes were certified in certain key states.
Let's consider, as he did later, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona. Imagine a few low-level workers changing the numbers as the votes were counted. Not in the state house or other hallways of officialdom but down in the basements of churches, schools and the like where the actual numbers are noted and then passed on. Now that could be very hard to detect. But Trump didn't do that early enough and effectively enough (tripping over his own ego, a perennial problem for narcissists).
The other method open to him might have been a Mike Pence replacement. Get Mike to pack up his marbles and go home to mother; replace him with, let's say, a Ted Cruz; pull a few Trumplican strings, and voila! America in Donald Trump's pocket.
Of course, now he's on self-exile at Mar-a-lago … plotting a return.
And the remaining Republican Congressional office holders? So far, the vast majority of them are too scared, too greedy or even too entitled to put the country and democracy first.
But, we and Congress can fix vulnerable laws. And it is up to all of us lowly voters to push as hard as we can in that direction.
What to do about the pandemic of misinformation? This curse is just as bad for America as COVID-19 and its mutations.
We have a 1st Amendment for good reason … statewide total control of information is simply un-American … and it only works for a time (though China is showing that it can last big longer than I sure hoped).
On the other hand, we have political programming built to simply make money by pandering to a limited point of political view … the so-called right-wing echo chambers of talk radio pioneered by Rush Limbaugh combined with the cable channels pioneered by Roger Ailes.
The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof asked on February 10, "Can We Put Fox News on Trial with Trump?" Calling Fox a co-conspirator, Kristof wondered if it couldn't be put on trial … maybe even along with One America News Network and Newsmax, too … but, of course not. What to do about their disinformation and outright lies with consequence? Pressuring advertisers and distribution system operators were his only answers. That's okay, I suppose, but it's touchy. That's sort of in the category of how to pressure the tech giants. Should free speech really be free? My feeling is absolutely … but I sometimes wonder at the reality of delusional disinformation and the Trumplican Party adherents. Not to mention vaccine deniers.
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