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The Biggest Lie Trump–Biden 2024 Rematch Voters Are Telling Themselves

Most would-be tyrants run for office downplaying or watering down their intentions, trying to attract voters with easy charm. But once elected, authoritarian elements take power, either immediately or gradually: destroying free elections, undermining the press, co-opting the judiciary, transforming the army into tools of dictatorship, installing puppets in the bureaucracy and ensuring legislative power. It reinforces rather than challenges illegal or unconstitutional actions, uses violence and threats of violence to intimidate critics and opponents, rewards allies with government contracts, and guarantees the ability of the dictator and his family to spend billions on resources government and bribes. This was the game plan of Putin, Sissi, Orban and many others. It's unusual.

Donald Trump is somewhat different in one respect. He has not watered down his stated intentions to get elected. Even though Trump is a natural liar – as evidenced by his recent claim that it was he, not Joe Biden, who received $35 worth of insulin for diabetics – when it comes to how he would act if re-elected to the presidency, he was brutally honest: as were his closest advisors. And campaign allies. His presidency will include taking revenge on his enemies, weaponizing the Justice Department and politicizing it to arrest and detain them, whether the charges are valid or not. He pledged to pardon the violent insurrectionist rioters of January 6, who could form President Donald Trump's personal army, probably alongside the official army.

He explicitly declared that he would be a dictator from day one, reinstating the Muslim ban, purging the bureaucracy of career civil servants and replacing them with loyalists, and using the Insurrection Act to suppress protests and confront opponents while replacing military commanders who resist. the Coup d'Etat. The army was transformed into a presidential militia with obedient generals. He would immediately begin sending America's 12 million undocumented immigrants to concentration camps before deporting them all. Republican Conference political director Russell Vought developed many of these plans, as did his closest advisers, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, among others. Free elections will be a thing of the past as the most extreme partisan judges turn a blind eye to attempts to protect elections and voting rights. He openly flirts with the idea of ​​ignoring the 22nd Amendment and outliving his term.

The battle plan from his allies at the Heritage Foundation, who are working closely with his campaign through Project 2025, includes many of the goals listed above, and much more; He would also tighten the screws on abortion after Dobbs, oppose contraception and reimpose criminal penalties against same-sex relations, while revoking the right to same-sex marriage, among other things. His top foreign policy adviser, Richard Grenell, echoed what Trump has said about his extremely isolationist foreign policy, which includes abandoning NATO, abandoning support for Ukraine, giving Putin the green light to attack Poland and other NATO countries and to reorient American alliances. to create one by powerful dictators, including Kim Jong Un. Shockingly, House Speaker Mike Johnson violated sacred norms and endangered security by bypassing qualified lawmakers and appointing two members dangerous and clearly unqualified members of the House Intelligence Committee – one of whom is an insurrectionist sympathizer, Rep. Scott Perry, who took the Federalist to court. , and the other extremist. Rep. Ronnie Jackson was demoted by the military for drunkenness, selling pills and other crimes – simply because Donald Trump asked for it. They will have access to America's most important secrets and are likely to share them with Trump if his status as a convicted felon prevents him from accessing top-secret information during the campaign. This is part of a larger pattern in which Republican lawmakers do whatever Trump wants, no matter how extreme or reckless.

The mainstream media generally ignored these troubling public plans and actions, and most voters either did not focus on them or dismissed them as exaggerations or an impossibility. After all, our constitutional system has been in place for nearly 250 years and the network of checks and balances is strong. There is evidence to support this optimism. We have just witnessed a historic moment in the rule of law: a jury unanimously found Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying financial documents to influence the results of the 2016 election. been huge news for about three days, or maybe a thousandth. the news cycle as measured in Hunter Biden units. But for two days, defenders of democracy and the justice system took over the airwaves with a message that was equal parts milk, mayonnaise and vanilla: The criminal justice system works! Order a contract!

But despite this conviction, there are reasons for concern, and deep concerns. This felony conviction was not evidence of the American justice system. The system only "held up" to the extent that it succeeded in silencing the defendant's persistent threats against the presiding judge, his family, the jurors, the witnesses, and the team of prosecutors who prosecuted the case. The system has only endured to the extent that efforts to brutalize, intimidate, and bribe witnesses who helped Donald Trump commit crimes with impunity for decades have failed to silence all of those witnesses.

It is frustrating that the system only "holds up" to the extent that it does not collapse on appeal, for example if one day the Supreme Court, convened by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, decides , for no reason permitted or condoned by law, to step in and somehow screw up the entire impeachment proceeding while giving Trump the freedom to act with impunity. It's not fictitious. The current Supreme Court includes justices who are partisan appointees and would likely form a majority to give Trump too much leeway — and he might be able to fill more seats with loyalists like Justice Eileen Cannon, the justice who presided comically in his favor in his secrecy. cases of document theft, but a desire to bend the justice system to suit its purposes. Below the Supreme Court level, Trump will fill the justice system with more extremists like Justice Matthew Kaczmarek and loyalists like Cannon.

This conviction was certainly a great victory. My respects to Alvin Bragg and his team, to Judge Juan Merchan, and to the jurors and witnesses who almost made the conviction of a former president seem normal. But normal ? This is also the problem.

Americans have a penchant for normalcy. This leads them to believe anyone who tells them that everything is fine and that the system is “holding together” – even when that system is held together by dental floss. Lawyers have a terrifying bias in favor of normalcy. This leads them to assume that as long as they win good cases, that means the justice system is a way to win the larger political debate. And many journalists are so biased that they don't know how to cover an authoritarian takeover if it means a presidential candidate threatens political opponents with imprisonment — even if he continues to label those journalists of “enemies”. "It also means they tend to cover 'Trump's indictment on 34 criminal charges' in terms of 'How much will this story deviate from normal election coverage?'" t turns out we are normalizing the abnormal, covering the election as a horseshoe race between democracy and illiberalism Without mentioning liberalism or considering the risks and consequences, we repeatedly apply a false equivalence to Trump and Biden.

We worry about this basic assumption that everything is fine until someone tells us that everything is fine, and of course our system will hold up because it's always been that way. We feel anxious because we're exceptionally good at telling ourselves that shocking things won't happen, and when they do, we don't know what to do. We fear that every time we say “hold on,” we mean that “holding on” equates to “winning” rather than barely surviving. We are concerned that even though Trump has armies of surrogates claiming he is an agent of God Almighty, the rule of law has no alternative to discuss anything, because no one ever came to a rally to propose Article 11. The Biden administration has largely taken a position that a felony conviction is irrelevant because it proves that the statute what is not threatened. But the reality is that Republicans openly campaign against judges, juries and prosecutors. Meanwhile, public statements aimed at undermining our checks and balances and continuing the authoritarian agendas of Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orbán are treated with a shrug by mainstream journalists and commentators. Moreover, congressional Republicans have demonstrated their willingness to submit to all of Trump's demands. Signs are flashing red indicating that our platform is in danger.

“The system is standing” is not a plan for a known future. It was never like this.


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