America’s First Dictator

The Brief and Evolving story of how Donald Trump tried to use Terrorism to Stay in Power.

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Mussolini was executed along with his lover Claretta Petacci and their bodies were hung upside-down alongside other fascists so that Italians could spit on them. I share this not as a threat, but as a reminder to how humans in general react to autocracy particularly that which is violently enforced. (Str, Associated Press)

This story will be one that I return to later as more comes out. But for now violence has broken out in Washington, DC and it was entirely manufactured.

The Trump campaign and administration — these two entities should be but are not actually separate as a matter of law — organized itself a little protest march for November 15th. Despite the standard lies about the size of the protest the operative word here is small. The protest was — compared to BLM or “AntiFa” protests — miniscule. Despite being organized under three different names those being the “Stop the Steal,” “March for Trump,” and — to my mind the most ironic — “Million MAGA March,” only a few thousand showed up. And that’s simply because fascism really doesn’t appeal to most people particularly when it does not include designer outfits.

It appears that the Trump campaign/administration was attempting to draw a corollary with the 2017 Women’s March held a day after and dwarfing Trump’s inauguration. The Women’s March in Washington alone was estimated to be some 470,000 strong and millions of other people participated across the US and in foreign countries to protest the actual and we now know factual interference in the 2016 election. As with the tea party rallies organized in 2009 to protest President Obama’s election, the Trumpist march was not notable in terms of number of participants.

Anyway, counter-protestors showed up possibly equal numbers and as always there were members of the media present to document all of it. This is First Amendment basics as long as you read the US Constitution and not the RNC Platform. So here’s a video of the Proud Boys violently attacking the protestors without provocation.

During one of these “clashes,” the Proud Boys stabbed a female journalist in the ear. Apparently, it was a glancing wound because she was able to find her phone and carry on, but two other people are in the hospital with stab wounds. NBC confirms at least one of them is in critical condition.

This is Itsa Talia, the journalist who was attacked talking about her experience. Note, she’s just been attacked so she’s handling it apparently well, but there’s a pretty decent chance she’s a little shocky in this video.

Anyway, the Proud Boys are apparently super happy with their work of running up on unarmed women random peaceful protestors and just zerging them because they’re posting videos all over twitter of themselves shouting unintelligibly and behaving in the dumbest most cowardly fashion I’ve seen since the time a rapist threatened to sue me for possibly reporting him.

This is incredibly stupid and just destructive and pointless. I hope those who were attacked recover quickly and I genuinely hope that the Proud Boys all get the plague … and then cancer. Because not only are they attacking random innocent people, they’re also undermining democracy.

As for Donald Trump, it is a crime to incite violence so I guess we just add this to the pile for things he’ll be charged with in disparate courts. And while there is a bit of a legal question of whether or not he can pardon himself the answer is mostly no. It is no. Basically, he cannot pardon himself and most violent crimes are handled at a state level so even if he could pardon himself he’d only get out of the federal level stuff.

Speaking of Trump, reluctantly, for no one wishes to think of him, this was one of his either mendacious or delusional tweets at the time:

It was mentioned somewhere that this behaviour from Trump is relatively normal for an autocrat about to be removed from power. He has now massive debts he cannot pay, he has outstanding civil and criminal charges, and rather than using his time in power to lead he used it to hurt people all of whom now either want or are entitled to justice. His reluctance to concede despite having been thoroughly defeated and in fact never having won the Presidency in the first place is largely a function of his fear that he simply is not capable of paying his karmic debt. Remember, this is an old man who despite having been bankrupt has never been poor. He will likely die penniless and incarcerated.

This story was originally published in early November. Nov. 15th to be exact. To be clear, Donald Trump lost his re-election bid on November 3rd. It did take a little while to count the ballots because of things that Trump and the GOP had put in place intentionally to disrupt the election and make both the process of voting and tallying of the votes more difficult. They did this so they could foment confusion and unrest.

Throughout the post-election process Trump and the GOP have staged various absurd protests to the democratically conducted and secure election including most recently a bid from the Texas AG to have the results in other states overturned. Beyond being an incredibly unconstitutional request that was pretty thoroughly rejected by the Supreme Court, it was also submitted after the “safe harbour” deadline. Under no circumstances would this have worked and it was a blatantly cynical attempt on the part of said AG to curry favour and escape his indictments.

However, what concerns me more are the recent fits of violence and fascist rioting committed by hate groups increasingly associated with the Republican Party. (Although, the GOP are trying to be coy.) To be clear these efforts on the part of hate groups and the GOP are incredibly undemocratic, authoritarian, and anti-American.

Today, December 14, 2020 the Electoral College will gather in their individual states at the location appointed by their respective legislatures and will by paper ballot cast their votes for President and Vice President of the United States. As all states aside from Main and Nebraska (which have a similar system but distributed by district) appoint their slate of electors based on the majority vote of their general population, the approximate count for Electoral Votes will be about 306 each for Biden and Harris and 232 for Trump and Pence. There is likely to be a small margin of error in this projection as electors do occasionally vote “faithlessly” for various reasons but it is historically unlikely that there will be a defection of electors significant enough for Biden not to win. As a total of 538 votes are allowed, once any candidate reaches 270 they have won. Trump cannot get there and Biden and Harris have a margin of 36 votes.

Stephen Miller — who has been denounced by his own rabbi — has claimed that an “alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote.” But electors must submit their Certificates of the Vote including their names, signatures, and tallies and submit them alongside the Certificates of Ascertainment which determine which electors may vote. Miller’s imaginary duplicate slates would not have access to Certificates of Ascertainment and if they did those would not match with whatever Certificate of the Vote said slate of electors could produce. Even if those were submitted to Congress alongside the original Congress would have to reject Miller’s fraudulent set of votes. Additionally, if Miller somehow managed to stop the actual electors from sending in the real Certificates of the Vote Mike Pence would then be required by actual law to have the real ones sent to him by registered mail and order the judge of that district to bring her copy in person.

We are likely to have to continue to hear these claims from Trump and his dying party and it is further likely that anti-patriotic and unAmerican domestic terrorists like the “Proud Boys” will continue in their cowardly violent tactics, but these efforts are laughably pathetic and illegal. Trump is an outgoing President. He was impeached. He did not win any general election. His party has bled support since he took office. And he is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Southern District of New York. It is concerning that such a large proportion of America was so easily convinced to turn their back on our democracy and Constitution by supporting a fascist, but as annoying as they are right now, they were never a majority and now those behaving in a violent and undemocratic manner are being shown as the absurdist fools that they are.

Doctor of Palaeopathology, rage-prone optimist, stealth berserker, opera enthusiast, and insatiable consumer of academic journals.

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