What, really, is the point of democracy – of this experiment of ours in self-government? The business of governing a large, diverse, complex society is full time work. Being a politician was never meant to be full time work; our founders envisioned citizen-politicians who dedicated a few years to the commonweal then returned to their lives. We elect people to take care of these important details for us. The reason we hold elections is so that the people we elect represent a majority of us – and represent the majority’s desires, wants and needs. The legitimate winner of a free and fair election has gained our authority – via our votes – to take care of the details of government on our behalf. We grant them the authority – like a kind of “power of attorney” – to decide how we legislate our differences and spend the money we all put in to pay for our desires, wants and needs.
If you screw with elections – with who can vote and how – with whose votes get counted and whose don’t – you’re screwing with that authority-granting process. Already, that demands a giant “WHY?” Why would anyone do such a thing? It’s a trick question of course. Anyone who screws with the authority-granting process is doing it because they can’t win elections legitimately. It really is that simple.
Republicans gerrymander and vote-suppress Democratic voters (they end up suppressing ALL voters actually) because they can’t sell their ideas to enough American voters anymore to be relevant. Maybe that’s because all their ideas amount to keeping America tethered to its racist past. A rapidly diversifying America would prefer to live in the future. That fact, right there, is what motivated the Right Wing money – the Kochs & Mercers – to invest so heavily in taking down our democracy. The White Man’s Burden…
The Right Wing money loves the idea of originalism because originalism is such a white man’s way to screw with elections – with who gets to vote. Let’s not forget: as lovely as “All men are created equal” sounds, it was written with plenty of restrictions and caveats built in that the founders understood implicitly. By “All men”, they meant ONLY men. They also meant only men like themselves – white, Christian, land-owners. Great idea, terrible execution.
Good thing the founders had the sense to make their creation fluid and updateable. Right off the bat – after writing the original document, the founders realized they’d missed out on a few essentials that were required to make the whole construct work. That’s what the Bill of Rights is – all those essentials enumerated because they forgot to put them in the first draft.
To be kind, originalism is utter horse shit. James Madison (with his own conflicts regarding slavery and acceptance of same) to his credit understood that the true genius of what the founders were creating could be summed up in the words he insisted be on our Great Seal (our national motto): E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.
We The People. We grant the authority to govern us via free and fair elections. If that authority does not legitimately flow from us – for whatever reason – then that authority has NOT in fact been granted. Donald Trump may be ignorant, but he ain’t stupid. He’s always known that his relationship with Russia wasn’t just “dodgy”, it was flat out illegal and treasonous.
Take Russia out of the Trump equation and Trump NEVER becomes POTUS. The entire GOP leadership KNEW that Russia controlled Trump, making him a grave national security threat. They knew “Putin pays [Rohrbacher and] Trump – swear to God!”, as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it when he entered a meeting of GOP leaders on June 25, 2016 – a month before Trump called on Russia to look for the 30,000 emails – which he did the day before the Republican National Convention started. Keep that in focus: Republican leadership KNEW Trump was a grave national security threat BECAUSE PUTIN OWNED HIM on the day Trump brayed “Hey, Russia – if you’re listening…!”. The GOP leadership KNEW they were committing TREASON even as they watched Trump win the nomination and complete the takeover of their party. That’s RUSSIA’S takeover of their party.
Trump knows that Russia MADE him POTUS. He did not win election legitimately. Why do ya suppose he’s done everything possible to keep so many secrets? Once he became POTUS, Trump was, to a degree, bulletproof because of that silly DoJ rule where you “can’t indict a sitting president”. That rule prevented Robert Mueller from doing what he should have done – indict THAT sitting president and let the legal system have away at him! That’s why Trump was SO desperate to remain president. It’s all about being prosecuted now. It’s all about the truth – every last bit of it – coming out.
This will be bad for Trump. It will be bad for his whole family. I truly believe that Trump WILL end his days either IN federal prison or in the process of ending his days there. Once that first crack in Trump’s legal armor appears – where he actually does get indicted? Prepare for a tsunami of legal retribution. And civil retribution, too. It’ll be a financial version of the violence that followed the French Revolution.
Once everyone connected to Trump realizes their legal shield is absolutely gone? They’re going to be faced with a problem – legal bills that will bankrupt their families for a generation at least and maybe forever. That’s the stone cold fact that turned so many of the insurrection’s foot soldiers and mid-level planners (the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys). Their delusions of grandeur were all swell until the billable hours started mounting up. There are only so many GoFundMe dollars to go around and most of those are now spent.
That’s gonna shock the crap out of all those sitting Republican Representatives and Senators when THEY suddenly go looking for help paying their legal bills. Good thing they’ve all fattened themselves at the public’s expense. But all that ill-gotten wealth (looking at YOU, Mitch McConnell!) will only go so far when the legal bill has to cover treason. Sorry, Republicans, but a sovereign nation that refuses to call out, prosecute and punish the traitors in its midst to the fullest extent the laws allow won’t be a sovereign nation for much longer. And, I say this as a vehement opponent of capital punishment: that “death” is a possible punishment for treason is unfortunate. In this case however, it must be unfortunate for the traitor and not us. We’ll live with ourselves knowing we removed people who wanted to destroy us.
Oh, and, Republicans? The AUTHORITY to exercise capital punishment upon those who betray us FLOWS from us.
And, also? The fact that Trump NEVER had the authority to govern on our behalf can’t be shrugged off – especially when the theft of that authority had such grave consequences. That is what we’re talking about here: the outright THEFT of the authority to govern us.
If the majority of Americans vote one way – for one particular outcome – but get the diametric opposite then the authority to govern has not flowed the way it’s legally required to. Legally required by law, right? Think of “the right to govern” as an object instead of as a concept. Let’s think of it as a car!
The car’s “owner” is whoever’s name appears on the car’s title. If (let’s call him) “Donald” breaks into my car in my driveway and hotwires it to life – then drives away with it – he hasn’t suddenly become “its owner”. He’s a thief, stealing my car. Even if Donald were to park outside my house – at the curb – and honk the horn at me – waving from behind the wheel as I gawped in amazement at his brazenness – he STILL ain’t the car’s legal owner; I am. Even as I pursued every legal means to get MY car back from Donald, I’m still the name on the title regardless of how successful Donald is at keeping my car from me.
If, say, Donald went to sell the car to his pal Vladimir? He can’t – legally. It isn’t his. Even if money changes hands – if, say, Vladimir paid Donald for my car – it still doesn’t matter. The car isn’t Vladimir’s because the car was never Donald’s.
Same goes for America. We can’t be Putin’s period. And, fact is, we would never have been Trump’s if NOT for Putin.
Literally everything Trump did, every law he pushed, every federal judge he nominated happened WITHOUT the legal authority to do these things. You can’t really get “squatter’s rights” over the Constitution and the rule of law. If someone openly cheated in one of Trump’s dumbass beauty pageants the way Trump cheated in two elections? They’d be tossed on their asses and their winnings stripped – because they didn’t “win”.
Not a single judicial nominee Trump named should be allowed to stand. How can they stand? The authority to nominate that person never existed and the authority used to nominate them WAS STOLEN – deliberately for this very purpose – of altering America’s future!
If we allow what Trump and the Republican Party have done to stand, we would legitimize the theft of the authority to govern us. That would be the very death of our democratic experiment. We’d be saying – “the authority to govern us must flow from us except for that one time – when people bent on destroying this experiment had their way with the experiment”. The rule of law cannot make such compromises and “be”.
We already know from experience what happens when we fail to apply the rule of law evenly and fairly. The playing field we all rely on to achieve our dreams gets tilted away from us and toward the wealthy and powerful. Our experiment in self-government stalls and falters. It loses the lift it needs to fly into the future.