The lead story on the transition continues to be: there is no transition, because the President of the United States is a colicky baby who must be coddled in case he acts out and bites his tongue or orders the nuclear obliteration of a random city. Fun fact: he can do that on a whim and chances are extremely good that the missile will launch within 5 minutes, before anyone can impose sanity and cancel it. But yes, let’s consider his feelings here.
Aside from the “those of us who were alive in the Cold War are laughing maniacally until blood flows out of our eyes” prospect of nuclear winter as a result of a temper tantrum, there’s also the minor problem of a pandemic wreaking havoc through the country. Today it came out that not only was Biden’s team denied access, to security briefings (given Trump’s recent hires, Biden’s team almost certainly could give better ones anyway from open source intelligence) but also are being denied access to planning regarding distribution of COVID-19 vaccines — something that come spring of next year will hopefully be A Big Deal, and the distribution of which, to every person in the country without cost, will require a small, tiny bit of advanced planning.
The bitter irony here is that while Biden and his inner circle are denied security and national health briefings, Trump and his inner circle haven’t bothered with them. (Trump famously found the daily security briefing given Presidents too boring because it didn’t have his name featured prominently enough, had too many words and not enough pictures, and he knew more about all that stuff anyway. I am quite literally making not a word of this up.)
Instead of the boring slog of running the country, Trump and his cohorts are busy stirring the conspiracy plot on far-right social media, morosely calling his friends depressed because he isn’t sure he won the election, and plotting how to steal the damn thing anyway. Today’s revelation that the Trump cabal is planning on suborning members of the electoral college to vote for Trump despite what their voters pledged them to do (what’s called “faithless electors”) would be deeply frightening except for the following minor details: a) after 10 faithless electors filed protest votes for people like Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul, most states made the practice illegal, b) the Supreme Court ruled just this year those laws were constitutional, and c) the Trump team would have to flip 39 electors, or the entire delegations of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and most of Wisconsin. This is both utterly unthinkable, and were it to actually happen would probably provoke an insurrection since, you know, America would no longer be a democratic republic.
What’s frightening, really, isn’t the prospect of a multi-state revocation of the election so Donald Trump can avoid prosecution for another 4 years, but the fact that most of the Republican party is all things considered pretty OK with this sort of thing. This is because for the past 30 years the Republicans have been radicalizing themselves; Democrats are no longer an opposing party but literally the Devil, who must be defeated by any means necessary. You don’t vote out the Devil, you exorcise him. And the Republicans who had guest starring roles on the West Wing as genial antagonists no longer exist. Thus, for these far-right anti-paladins, which does not include Trump (who is mentally incapable of thinking about anything other than himself) but does include most of his staff, cancelling an election the people voted incorrectly in is quite reasonable.
In fact, for some, it’s a sacred duty. To quote from an infamous 2016 essay by Michael Anton, “The Flight 93 Election”:
“The election of 2016 is a test—in my view, the final test—of whether there is any virtù left in what used to be the core of the American nation. If they cannot rouse themselves simply to vote for the first candidate in a generation who pledges to advance their interests, and to vote against the one who openly boasts that she will do the opposite (a million more Syrians, anyone?), then they are doomed. They may not deserve the fate that will befall them, but they will suffer it regardless.”
Yes, his primary argument for a Trump presidency was that he hates immigrants unlike fire breathing Communist Hillary Clinton, who lusts for the death of America. Yes, the entire essay is wildly racist – I’ll link it downthread in case you haven’t read it. And yes, the author served as a high ranking member of the Trump administration.
It’s a small step from that to “the people don’t deserve to choose their rulers, because the liberal media and their godless allies in academia have brainwashed a generation and let millions of immigrants pollute our shores.” And make no mistake – that is what is being advocated for.
Thankfully for our republic, the current crop of fascists are too shambolic, incompetent and venal to make much headway at it. Trump is far too scatterbrained and dim to make a decent go at emulating Xi Jinping or even Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He can’t even rouse a decent riot like Aleksander Lukashenko of Belarus. He’s just yet another third world dictator stuffing the pockets of his well-tailored suit with the silverware before flying away to his resort away from all the responsibility and the peasants baying for his head.
But cheer up! There’s always 2024.