Who in America would stand up to a mad king and his followers?
Worry #1. That some gunnies will take Trump at his word and start shooting elected officials.
Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos Staff reports on the Threat on Adam Schiff’s life, weeks after Trump incited violence in tweet.
It’s been less than two weeks since Donald Trump issued a thinly veiled threat against Rep. Adam Schiff, saying that the lead impeachment manager “has not paid the price, yet” for daring to hold Trump to account, and already Schiff has faced a threat on his life.
An Arizona man has been charged with making interstate threats and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition after leaving Schiff a voicemail saying, “I’m gonna fucking blow your brains out you fucking piece of shit,” the website The Informant reports.
According to a court filing cited by The Informant, Jan Peter Meister told authorities “that he watches Fox News and likely was upset at something that he saw on the news. He stated that he strongly dislikes the Democrats, and feels they are to blame for the country’s political issues.”
[From The Informant report:] “Court records show that Jan Peter Meister, a 52-year-old registered sex offender, told investigators he drunkenly left the threatening voicemail at Schiff’s Washington, D.C. office after watching Fox News and googling the congressman’s phone number.”
Federal authorities found an AR–15-style rifle, two pistols, and more than 700 rounds of ammunition at Meister’s home.
Meister has pleaded not guilty.
What is he [not] guilty of? Being a felon? Check. Possession of firearms? Check. Threatening murder one? Check.
This guy is small fry - leaving a drunken threat on voicemail? But what about those gunnies who are not so incompetent and who take Trump’s “not paid the price” seriously?
Worry #2. Is 2016 the last peaceful transition of power in America’s history?
Trump has shredded our democracy and waged war on our institutions to achieve his own corrupt ends. Moreover, and to the point of my worry, Trump has boasted that he will stay in office long after this election.
At Slate.com Richard Hasen tallies Trump’s Jokes About Defying Election Results Could Create Chaos. There’s a real possibility he could declare victory before all the ballots are counted. And then remain in office. Who would stand against a such a real coup.
Trump’s certainty that he simply cannot lose could have a real impact on this year’s election. Since assuming office in January 2017, Trump has made at least 27 references to staying in office beyond the constitutional limit of two terms. He often follows up with a remark indicating he is “joking,” “kidding,” or saying it to drive the “fake” news media “crazy.” Even if Trump thinks that he’s only “joking,” the comments fit a broader pattern that raises the prospect that Trump may not leave office quietly in the event he’s on the losing end of a very close election. And unfortunately this possibility is only one of a number of potential election meltdowns we may face in November.
Hasen includes several more examples.
Trump returns again and again to these remarks, often at campaign rallies or among sympathetic supporters. It feeds his tremendous ego by giving his followers a chance to show adoration for their dear leader; the message is that he is so indispensable he should stay in office maybe “16 more years.” He appears to love chants like “12 more years!”
Whether or not they are meant as jokes, the comments reflect Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. In March 2018 Trump expressed envy that China’s President Xi Jinping gets to be president for life. “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” he remarked in a closed-door speech to Republican donors at Mar-a-Lago.
But one of the most realistic scenarios, given Trump’s past remarks, is that the president and his supporters dig in if he’s ahead on election night, even if the race is not called and the later-counted ballots erase his victory. Trump’s 27 comments about staying in office beyond his constitutionally prescribed term offer little comfort that he would respect the rule of law in the event of a protracted election dispute. Those comments go more directly to whether he would leave office in 2024, but my immediate concern is what might happen in 2020. No joke.
Of course that usurpation of power would be blatantly unconstitutional. But again I ask, who would stand up to that? Certainly not the Republican Senators who already have united behind Trump and, today, are expected to give him aquital on his impeachment. So if not congress, who? Some bunch of generals? But saving American democracy with a military rebellion seems unlikely.
For the even bigger picture of how Trump will attack his “enemies”, I recommend the AZ Blue Meanie’s post from this morning’s email, With a Senate Republican acquittal, Trump plots his revenge against America.