Updated 11:34 p.m., Nov. 9
By John Dougherty
We’re now moving into the most dangerous phase of the presidential election.
Never before has a president refused to accept the results of an election and not pledge to a peaceful transfer of power.
Not only is President Trump refusing to concede, he is encouraging his supporters to hold campaign-style rallies across the country while his lawyers file frivolous lawsuits in swing states hoping to stall certification of the votes for as long as possible. Late Monday, Attorney General William Barr amplified the potential disruption of litigation by authorizing federal prosecutors to investigate specific allegations of voter fraud.
As he has for four years, Trump is putting his self-interest ahead of country. At the same time, Trump’s supporters believe his refusal to accept the election results is in the best interest of the country.
The legal tactics, combined with top Republican leadership refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s victory, along with a barnstorming tour intended to whip up anger and incite violence, promises to further destabilize a country aching for stability.
Left unchecked, Trump and his enablers are creating the conditions for Charlottesville-style confrontations between the right and the left in cities across the country. Which is exactly what Trump wants in a desperate attempt to hold to power.
But that power doesn’t necessarily mean holding the White House.
Ever vindictive, Trump is already undermining the future Biden Administration by blocking access to transition funding. This is likely just the beginning of Trump’s attack on Biden in retaliation for what he perceives as Democratic sabotaging of his administration with charges of Russian meddling at the beginning and impeachment at the end. (The fact that this election was close raises questions of whether Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016 was more related to Trump’s political strength, rather than interference injected by Russian trolls.)
And there’s the greed factor. Trump is also seeking to raise millions of dollars to pay off campaign debts, so stirring the pot at campaign rallies will shake loose some cash.
Always a mega-narcissist, Trump will never accept defeat. Instead, he may attempt to create the illusion he was wrongfully deposed, an enticing mirage a vast number of his supporters who are emotionally invested in the president would readily embrace.
In this case, once again, it’s the image that counts, not reality, as Trump well knows. Carrying the cross from a political crucifixion inflicted by godless communists, Trump could remain the Republican kingmaker through a virtual government-in-exile. He could do this from anywhere.
In the end, Trumpism would continue to divide the country setting up a counter-attack in 2022 and 2024.
Trump is rapidly taking tangible steps to create the potential for violent street theater .
Trump on Monday fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who angered the president last June when he said he didn’t support deploying federal troops to quell widespread protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police.
Trump stated in a Twitter post that Christopher Miller, who serves as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will become acting defense secretary “effective immediately”.
It’s highly unlikely Trump selected Miller to serve as acting defense secretary unless Miller already agreed with Trump’s more expansive use of the military. If Miller is indeed more pliable to Trump’s demands for the deployment of federal troops to quell counter-protests against Trump-inspired protests seeking to delegitimize the election, the nation could be plunged into a Constitutional crisis the likes of which it hasn’t faced since the Civil War.
Trump already signaled to right-wing thugs and irregular troops to be ready to take action during the first presidential debate in late September when he refused to explicitly condemn white supremacy. Instead, Trump, telegraphed the Proud Boys, a far-right group of brown shirt street thugs, to “stand back and stand by.”
Trump’s nod came after militias and pro-gun activists last summer occupied capitols in Michigan and Kentucky. Last month, a Michigan militia plotted to kidnap the state’s governor. The same group also allegedly discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor.
Instead of condemning the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Trump basked in chants of “lock her up” during campaign rallies. Whitmer angrily responded to the incident saying Trump was inciting domestic terrorism.
The Boogaloo Bois, another far-right group seeking to incite a civil war, has already engaged in violence to further its goal. One of its members was arrested for setting fire to a Minneapolis police precinct last May during the George Floyd protests. Another member was charged with the shooting of two security guards patrolling a federal courthouse in Oakland. One of the guards was killed. Late last month, the Justice Department said the Boogaloo Bois plotted to attack police across the country.
The Trump administration has already sent a clear message to leftists that state-sponsored nonjudicial executions are not off the table. Trump rejoiced after U.S. Marshals gunned down an Antifa activist who appears to have shot and killed a Trump supporter during a Portland street protest.
Trump has the apparatus in place to pull the trigger, if he chooses to do so. Whether that results in widespread violence or ends up like the Four Seasons Total Landscaping fiasco would be the big question.
Biden is immediately projecting the image as president-elect by releasing policy plans and announcing a Covid task force. But his tangible actions are somewhat limited to making appeals to the public to remain calm, which is essential, and deploying lawyers to challenge a barrage of lawsuits brought by Trump’s campaign and now potentially the Justice Department.
While the media has “called” the election based on careful analysis of voting returns, Biden is not officially president-elect until the Electoral College meets in each state to cast its votes on Dec. 14, and its votes are certified by Congress on Jan. 6. There are plenty of opportunities for Trump to gum up the process between now and Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
In the meantime, the only branch of government that could take action against Trump is the House of Representatives.
If Trump continues to wave the red flag in front of his hardcore supporters itching for violence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could be forced into a terrible position of having to once again consider impeaching the president, this time for committing treasonous acts. But such a move is fraught with peril and would further enrage Trump’s supporters, increasing the chance of violence and ultimately the possible deployment of troops on American streets.
America is not out of danger yet.
© Copyright 2020 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA