For more than a year now, Bill Maher has been warning the various guest panels on his HBO show Real Time that losing an election won’t be enough to get Trump out of office. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool autocrat, insists Maher, and he’ll go when he wants to go, not before, and screw your stinking election. If he loses, he’ll do what he threatened to do in 2016, and claim the vote was rigged; and he’ll trot out the so-stupid-the-yokels-believe-it lie that anyway, his opponent only won on the strength of millions upon millions of fraudulent votes cast by illegal immigrants. He’ll muddy waters, sow discord, declare another emergency, and maintain a white-knuckle grip on the Resolute Desk, and God knows who’ll pick which side at that point.
Just about all of the various pundits and media luminaries have looked askance at Bill, like he’s just trying to goose the crowd and be shocking for effect. No way will Donald refuse to adhere to the result of an election! No way! Not possible! There are rules! This is a democracy dammit!
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, Michael Cohen said this during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee:
I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power. And this is why I agreed to appear before you today.
Here, watch for yourself. It’s scarier when you hear it rather than read it.
Why would Cohen say such a thing? Is he nuts? Off his gourd? Half a bubble off plumb? Has he taken leave of his senses?
No, you poor naive slobs, he isn’t and he hasn’t. No, not hardly at all.
So here’s what The Donald said to everybody’s favourite, somewhat more legitimate alternative to the Daily Stormer, speaking to Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle:
So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening. You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this invest[igations]—that’s all they want to do is –you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.
Now, not to put too fine a point on it, but let’s go ahead and put a very fine point on it: this fucker just threatened an armed military and paramilitary response to further investigative shenanigans in Congress. Leave me alone, stop prying into my affairs, or I will have you all killed. Capish? I’ve got all the loyal thugs I need to do it, I’ve got ten Capos in every borough, so don’t even fuckin’ dream that I won’t.
Just yesterday I was writing about how Nancy Pelosi was playing the intelligent long game, professing that the impeachment of Der Trump was not in anyone’s immediate plans, and that undertaking such a divisively ruinous process could only be spurred by compelling evidence of a kind we haven’t seen yet. Great, and I agreed, but that was yesterday.
You want compelling evidence, Nancy? Well there it sits, posted for all to see on Breitbart Fucking News. I don’t even know how to put this. It seems silly and superfluous to lay out some sort of reasoned argument about the rule of law, the Constitutional role of Congressional oversight, the terrifying heresy of injecting threats of physical violence into the democratic political process etc. etc., yakkity yakkity yakkity. There’s neither need nor time for that any more. We’re no longer in debate mode. There’s no case left that needs making. This Mafioso wannabe pig of a man, this Trump, just said that if Congress doesn’t stop bugging him, if the left-libs don’t fuck off, he’s not vouching for anybody’s safety, OK? He’s got friends, right, and those friends have guns. Stuff happens. Things do break. People find themselves at the business end of assault rifles wielded by the loyal infantry, or maybe a certain cadre of bikers, OK? Just sayin’.
Are we supposed to laugh this off? Shrug like always and say That’s our Donnie! Take comfort in the idea that cops and soldiers are led by career professionals who won’t take unlawful orders? Guffaw at the notion that this crew of superannuated hog riders poses some sort of threat to the Republic?
Well, I’m not laughing. The Bikers for Trump aren’t the only organized group of white-ass yohos out there who might answer The Donald’s call to arms, and as for the obedience of police forces and the military to the law of the land, yeah, sure, that’s my sober assessment too, but wasn’t that a bunch of guys sworn to uphold the law who were wrenching kids away from their moms and putting them in cages? Wasn’t that the Regular Army down there on the border? I’m on the record that neither soldiers nor their commanders would obey illegal directives from the White House, and when it comes to, say, firing upon unarmed migrants with kids in tow, surely that’s right. But what if society’s Dobermans are thrust into a more complex situation, one in which their duly appointed superiors are telling them that their task now is to obey the Commander in Chief, that they’re the last line of defence against what Trump assures them are the enemies of democracy? You think that shit can’t happen in Murrica? Really? You’re honestly that much of a dumbass? You have such utter confidence in institutions and norms at this point?
Look, for fuck’s sake, this just went far beyond “high crimes and misdemeanours”. Trump is now way past such quaint ideas. Impeach him? Screw that. It’s time for Federal Marshalls to be sent, while there’s still time, to clap him in irons for open and notorious violation of the Sedition Act, for starters. This dangerous, brainless bastard is the world’s largest pathogen, a cancer cell that’s soon going to kill its host. We don’t have the breathing room to go through glacial committee investigations, votes on procedures to impeach, trials in the Senate, or any such shit, not now. We should do all that, sure, but we should do it while Trump sits safely behind bars for all the crimes he’s already committed, and for the traitorous, seditious bilge that issues daily from his weird little pie hole. I don’t want to hear any more about that stinking Justice Department memo on the inability to indict a sitting President. I’m tired, tired, tired of that rank bullshit. That shit ain’t the law. That’s just somebody’s decades-old goddam opinion, and one that wasn’t informed by the notion that a President could actually start talking about going to the mattresses if he doesn’t get his way.
PEOPLE! TRUMP JUST CASUALLY FLOATED THE IDEA OF A MILITARY BACKLASH AGAINST THE PEOPLES’ ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES – THE SORT OF THING THAT COULD LEAD TO CIVIL WAR. Leave aside whether you differ with me as to how serious this threat really is, or the extent to which Donald could actually mobilize the forces to do it. I’m with you – I’d love to believe that if push comes to shove, Donald would be shouting orders to nobody while the military, the police, and even the crazy bastards in the many civilian “militias” that dot the landscape, refused to turn on fellow Americans. On a good day, I’m positive that’s the case – you can read me saying so in prior blogs. Yes. On a good day. But this is frightening, and anyway, it doesn’t matter if Trump is off in La-La Land when he muses such things. Really, that’s not what matters, is it? The plain truth is that he does muse such things, he up and says them out loud and unabashedly, like it’s nothing wrong, and that’s enough. Just for someone in his position to give voice to the terrifying scenario is enough. Much, much more than enough.
It’s time to accept the unpleasant truth: we are already perilously close to going through the looking glass. Faith in the incorruptibility and good sense of those who carry the cudgel for civil society simply has to have its limits. It bears remembering that the organs of coercive state control are, by definition, authoritarian. Orders are orders – history has shown us this is so, over and over ad nauseum. What should be worrying you right now is whether the Secret Service will side with the President they’re sworn to protect, should law enforcement arrive to do what’s necessary. You should be worried about the civil war breaking out right there on the White House lawn. We’re there, kids. Wake up.
Or maybe Mr. “the Press is the enemy of the people” here doesn’t look to you like a Generalissimo-in-waiting: