Now that Trump has openly obstructed justice and Republicans winked and looked the other way, there's really no going back. There can be no last minute "Come to Jesus" moment where the entire Republican Party will realize what an awful mistake they've made. While Republican voters will always find an excuse to ignore what Republicans do, independents are shocked while liberals are more energized than ever to destroy the cancer attacking our democracy. After being wiped out by a blue wave, Trump and Republicans will face immediate and nonstop investigations. Backed by an incensed public, the Democrats will expose every last bit of corruption in the Trump administration and they will go down hard, taking not a small amount of the GOP with them.
For a party that has jettisoned every last shred of his moral, ethical and ideological fiber in a mad scramble to hold onto power, such an outcome is unacceptable. And for a party that's abandoned any pretense of democracy, that means that democracy itself is a threat to be dealt harshly with. There will always be the urge to hold only Trump responsible but resist it. Trump is not acting alone in a vacuum. The Republican Party is 100% complicit with his assault on our democratic norms.
Once we accept that, it's time to face another reality: Donald Trump is going to ban the 2018 midterm elections. He'll use a terrorist attack or an international incident or some other pretext to declare a state of emergency. Sorry, no election "until we figure out what the hell is going on." Republicans will shrug and say it's out of their hands while they pass another trillion in tax cuts for the rich.
Or, if his advisers explain that too many institutions remain uncorrupted for him to outright ban an election, Trump will work with the GOP to make voting almost impossible unless you're the right kind of demographic; the kind that votes solidly Republican. They'll use Trump's impending "investigation" into "voter fraud" as an excuse to strip millions of their right to vote on top of the millions they've already stolen the franchise from. Perhaps they'll close 90% of polling places in minority neighborhoods (a trend already well underway). Perhaps they'll make it so only a new national ID can be used to vote and, whoops, they couldn't get enough of them out to blue counties in time. Or perhaps they'll just pass a new poll tax and rely on the newly radicalized Supreme Court to uphold it as constitutional.
You can bet money that Trump's white nationalist followers will swarm minority precincts armed to the teeth. You know, to "protect the integrity of the vote." That they'll be chasing away people with brown skin at the same time will just be a coincidence. They desperately wanted to do this in the 2016 election but with a black man in the White House, there was too much of a risk of going to jail. Now? Well, one of their own is in charge and hey, every dictator needs his Brown Shirts. Hell, Jeff Sessions may even deputize the lot of them. White conservatives with assault rifles only, please. This here posse is fixin' to only accept right thinking folks.
It almost doesn't matter what form the suppression takes because there is a vanishingly small (and getting smaller every day) chance of Trump and the Republicans allowing a free and fair election. They can't afford it.
So what do we do?
Do we keep hammering them on late night TV and hope that enough people get out and vote anyway to save our way of life?
Do we just let it happen and hope that the Republican Party finally pulls back from the edge?
Do we start talking about "Second Amendment solutions" and "Watering the tree of liberty?" Or does that give Trump and the Republicans the ammunition (forgive the phrase) to crack down on dissent like they so desperately want?
I don't know the answer but I will tell you this: We've taken a great many steps in an astonishingly small amount of time towards fascism and the suspension of democracy. All it will take is another crisis with even a fraction of the impact of 9/11 and Trump will have his Reichstag Fire coupled with a fully compliant Republican-controlled Congress. After that, there won't be any democratic solutions left becasue they'll have taken them all away.
Our only chance is to beat Republicans into submission before the midterms so they won't dare tamper with the election.
There are 540 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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