How Would the Left Treat an Illegitimate Election?
The Democratic Party’s real dilemma exactly mirrors the Republican Party’s imagined one.
There's so much to write about these days, it becomes hard to choose where to focus. There is, for example, the absolute failure of the UN climate conference, and what may be its aftermath. Consider the following brief conversation:
Did they really not read The Ministry For the Future? Do the rich who rule us really not know where this could be headed? It's just this small set of people who are holding back billions of souls who want the opposite of what they are being given, who want a planet they can actually continue to live on. A very small number.
I am a man of peace, have been since birth, but I can't say that for revolutionary others.
Third Time's The Charm?
There's also this welcome news from Zephyr Teachout:
Zephyr Teachout running for New York AG
Law professor Zephyr Teachout launched a campaign for New York attorney general on Monday, looking to claim the post after losing a race for it to now-outgoing Attorney General Letitia James (D) in 2018. ... On her campaign website, Teachout said, “New Yorkers deserve an Attorney General who will stand up for climate justice, root out corruption and corporate abuse, stand with workers and defend civil rights.”
She'd be our corrupt billionaires' worst nightmare, an unbuyable New York AG, eager mistress of aggressive Wall Street oversight. She'd also be climate activists' best new friend. And she ran quite well in her last two bids for NY public office. This is a winnable race.
Which means this is one of those very high leverage races that national Democrats must get behind — even if corrupt national Democratic ex- and present office-holders (looking at you, Mr. Schumer) try with every donor in their pocket to take her down.
Bottom line: Whatever existential-threat-to-the-wealthy you thought you'd get from a President Bernie Sanders, you will be getting from NY Attorney General Zephyr Teachout. Hers is one sword that won't be laid down for "comity."
You want a revolution? Here's your chance. Push her over the line, then watch and learn how progressives can use their power.
'Will You Storm the Capitol If 2024 Is Stolen?'
But the star of today's thoughts is a recent question asked by Thom Hartmann in a fascinating piece on how the problem for Democrats, voters and office-holders alike, could exactly mirror, in 2024, the problem Trump supporters thought they faced in 2020: What do you do if you believe an election is illegitimate? It's a good read and I recommend it.
Unfortunately, the Democratic Party, both its voters and its office-holders, have been down this path before — remember the 2000 electoral coup? — and both wings of that constituency punted. Al Gore and his colleagues laughed away the issue in the Senate (watch the video below) and confirmed the SCOTUS-stolen Florida electors. The Democratic voting base punted in the streets, by not being there in utter and complete revolt.
Would these groups punt again if the same beast reappeared? (If you guessed my answer is yes, you guessed correctly.)
Hartmann asks bluntly, "Will You Storm the Capitol If the 2024 Election is Stolen?" and seems to explain why we should, before urging us to avoid the problem:
The best way to stop this nightmare before it happens is for both elected Democrats and the nation’s media to not only call out Trump’s lie, but also call out the media that keeps it alive. ... Otherwise, we may well be facing that terrible question that Trump true believers faced last year: what do we do?
I understand most people's desire to avoid real revolution. Even the Declaration of Independence makes note of that:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
But consider how plausible the following scenario is (emphasis mine):
It’s 2024 and President Biden and Donald Trump just faced off in the election. Biden wins the popular vote by over 10 million, but the Electoral College vote is up in the air because of a weird constitutional technicality.
Just like in the election of 1876, several swing states in the midst of political turmoil have submitted dueling slates of electors, one (based on the popular vote) for Biden and another (reflecting the will of the state legislature) for Trump. And, just like in 1876, when you exclude the “contested states” neither candidate hits the 50%-plus-one electoral votes needed (now 270) to win the White House.
Under the 12th Amendment, as John Eastman pointed out in his 2020 memo to Trump (and echoed by Jenna Ellis and Mark Meadows), that throws the election to the House of Representatives, where each state has one single vote, that vote being decided by each state’s legislature back home. Thirty states are Republican controlled and submit their 30 votes for Trump, with Biden receiving the remaining 20: the House declares the election goes to Trump.
Democrats immediately sue before the Supreme Court, but — for the second time in history — the Court awards the presidency to the Republican who lost the popular vote amid a contested Electoral College vote.
Trump, say the Republicans in Congress and on the Court, is to be sworn in as president a few weeks after the votes are certified on January 6th, 2024.
But President Biden calls a press conference to tell the nation that the states that submitted dual ballots were behaving with corrupt intent just to allow this very scenario to play out. ... All across the country, people begin pouring into the streets. Pitched battles break out between Trump and Biden supporters, as cities are set afire and hundreds die from gunshots.
What do you do?
He closes, “Winter is coming.” Indeed.
Are Americans Still a Revolutionary People?
Hartmann asks a critical question. In my view, Democrats — voters and office-holders alike — should have, in effect, “stormed the Capitol” in 2000. It was obvious at the time what was going on. It was obvious it would happen again if it wasn't stopped then. And as bad as Mr. DLC (Al Gore, if you've forgotten) may have been for the nation with his free market solutions to national problems, Cheney and his puppet were worse. The Middle East is in flames today, twenty years after that election, thanks to Dick Cheney, and millions have lost their lives because of his rule.
That administration oversaw the greatest single set of war crimes since World War II. It should have been stopped in its tracks, killed at birth or before, and wasn't.
What if we face the stolen-office beast again? Republican electoral theft is an annual constant, like daffodils. Can we expect “our” Democrats to act against type? And if “our” Democrats, along with their complaint media, don't lead the insurrection, who in the nation will follow?
In case you've forgotten, compliance is not an insurrection. This is not an insurrection:
It is, in fact, its opposite.
I'll have more to say on this topic. It's an interesting problem, complex on its surface, but entirely simple in fact. The Democratic Party’s real dilemma exactly mirrors the Republican Party’s manufactured one — what do you do when you believe (or in the Republican case, “believe”) your government to be illegitimate? Should Democrats act like Republicans, following their lead but with infinitely more justification?
Hartmann is right to want to avoid this problem. Because if we do get there, it will be revolutionary, no matter which stance Democrats and “their” party take. Either outcome, rule by right-wing radicals or war in the streets, will change this country forever.
You say you want a revolution? Watch the 2024 election. We may just get one.
Note for music fans: If you don't remember it, listen to the above recording all the way through. Stewart starts with a gentle version of the Rolling Stones classic, then ends midway with dead silence (3:13), immediately followed by the full-on rock hard driving Stones arrangement. A brilliant and thrilling transition. Enjoy.