The election was held. The votes were counted. Then recounted. Nothing changed. Then suit after infuriatingly meritless lawsuit was launched in each of the swing states – but the courts, bless them, uniformly told Trump’s gong show of mentally afflicted lawyers to gather up their wobbly kraken and go take a long walk off a short pier. One wretched plea for judicial intervention somehow made it all the way to SCOTUS, which took one look at the farcical application for injunctive relief – which, basically, implored the court to call a screaming halt to the whole national election process, based on nothing legal or indeed factual – and issued a one sentence rebuff, the juridical equivalent of hit the bricks, dim bulbs. Meanwhile, Donald made personal calls to election officials, governors, whoever would pick up, and cajoled them to overturn the democratic outcomes in their states, urging them, in fact, to break the law. Which is itself a crime, if anybody’s keeping track. Despite the pressure, nobody did Trump’s bidding. Instead, one by one, the States certified the results, setting the stage for the Electors to cast their votes in their antediluvian College to legally seal Biden’s victory. That will happen Monday.
So now this is over, right?
Right, except for the endgame of the whole doomed campaign to steal what the GOP couldn’t win fair and square, a Trumpian twist on the old If I can’t have it nobody can gambit favoured by despots, abusive husbands, and A-holes the world over. You know the drill. Break all the fine china and shatter the windows on the way out the door. In fact, screw it, torch the joint. Kill the livestock, burn the crops, scorch the earth, poison the well, and plough the land with salt, then exit, screaming all the way. Ha! No pipsqueak SOB Secretary of State in Michigan or Georgia can stop that. No pompous judge in any goddam court can get in the way. They can stop Donald from keeping the White House, but by Christ they can’t keep him from burning the place down.
The twist? Pure Trumpiness: make a bundle while you’re at it! After all, there remain so many MAGA rubes to fleece, and they aren’t just susceptible to the grift, they’re begging for it. Thus Donald, post-election, has raised over $200 million so far (!!), with more flowing in by the hour, filling the coffers of some nebulous PAC from which he can quite literally appropriate it for his own dirty little purposes. Sure, it might not be as simple as making a straight up withdrawal. I don’t really know. Maybe whichever weak-assed laws are relevant will require a few niceties, some sort of legal fiction. Maybe on paper, the PAC will need to spend the dough for make-believe Trumpco consulting services, or fictional use of Trump’s properties, some such scam like that, but make no mistake, it’s all Trump’s for the taking.
Think about that for a second: two hundred million dollars since November 4!
It makes all of those Trump-branded shithole towers, all those moribund casinos, the crappy airline, all the fraudulent products from the Trump Steaks to Trump University, the whole sweaty orgy of wheeling, dealing and stealing, seem so unnecessarily labour intensive, you know? It wears you out, all that carnival barking, but hooray, no need for that noise now! When you’re a cult leader, you don’t even have to devise elaborate schemes to gull the suckers. You don’t have to hawk bogus product, found phoney universities, rip off the banks, or launder filthy Russian Oligarch lucre through your money-losing golf courses and condos. You can just tell the dummies to stand and deliver. Send them an email, that’s all, and all it has to say, in so many words, is something along the lines of “I need you to give me your money, OK?”. And you know what? They will. They’ll fork it right over, bless their pointy little heads.
Which means that two hundred million bucks, as nice a sum as that is, needn’t be the end of it, not by a damn sight. There’s that much more again to rake in! To really milk it, though, you’ve got to drag things out for a while. You can’t just leave town in a snit. You’ve got to pretend to fight, and pretend there’s a chance, keep stoking the rage, and keep the fever dream alive. Claim you were robbed! Claim you actually won in a landslide! Then assure the true believers that despite all the cheating, all the conspiracies to thwart a just outcome, all is not lost! There’s still time to Stop the Steal! Keep stirring the pot, you see, while you keep sending out the oily fundraising emails claiming that Dear Leader can still win this thing and have a second glorious term, if only you, [insert name], would kindly kick in whatever you can spare, right this minute if you please. It’s that frigging easy. The most effortless scam Donald’s ever run, and what’s more, perfectly legal.
Ergo all the futile legal action, all the bellowing about stolen elections. I guess it’s possible that Donald still believes, somehow, that he can cling to power, even if it’s a long shot. Maybe he really is that deranged. Or maybe he thinks he needs all that money to run again in 2024 (and to stay out of prison in the meantime). Either way, best bet is to grab while the grabbing’s good, and cousin, it’s good right now.
That’s all to be expected. Trump is just being Trump. What’s more difficult to grasp is what the Machiavellian operators in the rest of the GOP think they still have to gain by playing along the way they are. Are they simply afraid of Donald? Or do they want Trumpism to survive, even if Donald has to go? Are they setting up an aggrieved “stabbed in the back” sort of narrative that will keep the party faithful all worked up into a lather, the better to win those two Senate run-offs in Georgia come January? Are they thinking beyond that, to taking back the House in the 2022 midterms? Or what?
Maybe we’ll never know, not for sure, but it’s clear that we can now abandon any hope for a return to sanity and some semblance of the bipartisanship of the Beforetime. If that wasn’t made plain by the silence of Congressional Republicans during this painful interregnum, all of them keeping mum and refusing to acknowledge Biden as President-elect while Donald undermines the transition, it surely became obvious with the filing, by the Attorney General of Texas, of a suit to overturn the election results in the swing states that didn’t go for Trump. No, you haven’t gone insane. You’ve got it right. The AG of Texas thinks he has standing to get SCOTUS not just to invalidate election outcomes, but to invalidate them in other States. That’s not even the worst part – the Attorneys General of seventeen other GOP-controlled States have joined the action! The highest law officers of eighteen States agree that SCOTUS should, in effect, pull off the coup that Donald has thus far failed to execute. It gets even better. The lawyer they’ve retained to spearhead this insane gambit is a guy named John Eastman, the same legal scholar who wrote the Newsweek birther op-ed arguing that Kamala Harris wasn’t eligible for office because, as a child of immigrants, she wasn’t a real American, even if she was born in Oakland. That guy. Oh, and just to put the cherry on top, Ted Cruz has agreed to argue the case. The guy who called his wife ugly and said his Daddy killed JFK asked him to, so what else was he going to do?
The sane among you must be asking why, for God’s sake? Why tilt at Donald’s windmill? They must know the effort is doomed, and more to the point, what if it isn’t? What if all those Republican appointees on SCOTUS are every inch the stooges that Trump hopes they’ll be? Do all these Republicans really want to set the precedent that New Hampshire, say, could successfully assert that the outcome in California should be nullified because, well, just because? Really? They want frickin’ anarchy? They don’t know what this would mean for the future of American democracy? This was the question posed yesterday by Dana Nessel, the eminently sensible AG of Michigan, one of the States that Texas thinks shouldn’t be allowed to run its own election process. Speaking to Chris Hayes last night on MSNBC, she had this to say, and this really is worth watching:
Stay in your lane, and stick to disenfranchising the voters in your own State. Amen, sister (and if you want substantiation for my repeated assertion that the world would be better if only it was run by women, there’s some right there).
They won’t, though. No, the malicious bastards would rather discredit the election and foster the belief among the terrifying mass of 74 million Trump voters that Biden stole the White House and isn’t a legitimate President, to which end even a claim as ludicrous and legally unsupported as the one now being pursued by Texas and its associated gang of GOP lemmings is fully effective, no matter the outcome. They really want to play that incredibly dangerous, utterly nihilistic game, apparently as much out of spite as anything else. Undermining a Democratic Presidency is worth that much to them. They’ll gleefully strike at the foundations of democracy itself. Like, fuck it. We didn’t win, so blow the whole thing up. For all time. End the American experiment, ‘cuz it ain’t going Whitey’s way.
Over three thousand people died of COVID on their watch yesterday, and this is where they want to spend all their time and energy.
Even if there was a Hell, it couldn’t possibly have any boiling sump hole deep enough, any hopeless pit of suffering and despair hellish enough, for this pile of pernicious pricks. It’s not just Trump. It’s the whole festering crew. God damn them. God damn them all.
Addendum: since writing, it hit the news that 106 GOP members of the House of Representatives have signed their names to an amicus brief in support of the Texas suit. One hundred and six. More than half the House Republican caucus.