Since the congressional Republicans decided to acquit Trump, instead of removing him (aside: There’s little doubt that Hamilton and Madison would have removed him), the voting Trump out was the next best chance to protect and preserve our republic. But Trump has been working hard to undermine the legitimacy of the election; he’s attempted to sabotage the U.S. Postal Service to hamper mail-in ballots, and he and congressional Republicans have been willing to use Russian assistance to win the election. He’s suggested sending federal forces to polling stations. Basically, he’ll cheat, subvert the elections to win. The question is not what he will do, but what he won’t do. (Prediction: From here on out, Trump will either follow through on his rhetoric and/or do more shocking things to win.)Because of this, I feel the election may not be the best chance to protect our republic–or to be more precise, in order to protect the elections, actions must be taken now. I’ll briefly go over each step in this post.
Let me say right off the bat that I’m not optimistic about any of this–primarily because all of this depends on congressional Republicans, conservative media, and other prominent conservatives/Republicans. However, the critical point is that they have a window of opportunity that is closing fast. I’ll go over the scenarios that I think could play out if they don’t take this opportunity now. OK, on to the first step.
Option 1: Congressional Republicans will give Trump an ultimatum to stop attacking the election
Congressional Republicans could warn Trump that if he keeps attacking the elections–by making false claims about mail-in ballots, thwarting the USPS, also suggesting he won’t accept the results, etc.–they will consider impeaching and removing him. Now, I know this is unlikely, and this option seems less viable the closer we get to the Election Day. But I want to say that this ultimatum would be totally appropriate and justified. Some congressional Republicans argued against impeachment, saying voters should decide. Well, in order for them to decide, Trump should ensure fair and secure process. By they way, if congressional Republicans did this, I think Trump would stop and the elections could be protected, or he’d be removed. In this scenario, Trump could still win the elections. But it would be a much better process for removing Trump versus letting him attack the electoral process
Option 2: Congressional Republicans strongly speak out against Trump’s interferenceThis may seem like an ineffective approach, but Republicans pushing back on Trump’s false claims can do a to ensure trust in the process. They can also countermand Trump’s attempts to incite violence, which is also critical. Even a small group pushing back hard on Trump in theses matters can make a big difference in my view. It can not only prevent chaos, but it can help dispel confusion of the inattentive voter, something I think is a big deal. Conservative media, like Fox News, pushing back would have a huge impact, too, in my opinion.
If these options are not taken, then the fate of the republic will rest on a huge, hard-to-dispute electoral victory by Biden. The thing is, I would be shocked if Trump and his minions don’t attempt to do and say whatever they can to contest this. In that case, our country will again depend on congressional Republicans from speaking up and taking action–pushing back against these efforts.
If the race is closer, the problem will be a lot worse, more complicated–including for congressional Republicans. A clear way out of this mess is not something I can envision. It’s for this reason that I point to the moment before the election. What one can reasonable see now is a huge mess during and after the election. The best solution is to actually take steps now to avoid or mitigate that mess. For congressional Republicans to largely remain silent or only provide tepid push back is to forgo the best chance they have at protecting an and saving democracy in the U.S.