Deplorable reasoning: Prepare for the apocalypse!

by E. John Winner


Let’s begin with a prediction (likely, but not the only option so, given the unpredictably of the Reality TV President in the White House as I write): On January 20, 2021, two inaugurations for the Presidency will take place. One will happen in Washington, the legally determined official inauguration of Joseph Biden, presided over by Chief Justice Roberts of the US Supreme Court.  The other will occur at a rally in Florida, where newly appointed “Attorney General for the Second Trump Administration,” Rudy Giuliani, administers an oath for Donald Trump, still refusing to concede the election. Of course it’s all for show; Trump uses the performance to announce his candidacy for the 2024 election, his glorious return when he will make it all real for his fans. But the event will constitute something worse than an embarrassment for the country, it will help drive the wedge of division ever deeper into the social fabric of our politics.  And there will be many of his fans who will accept it as alternative fact; the proper resolution of the current struggle over the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

So, here’s the story so far: Some time before his death, or perhaps afterward (death only an abstract concept after all), Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez conspired with rich Jew George Soros, the Chinese Communist Party, the Clinton Foundation and the Democratic National Committee (oh, sorry, the “Democrat” National Committee), to rig electoral balloting machines in Germany (recently confiscated by the US Army) for use in the Greatest Election Fraud in American History. Later, Republican government personnel, including the Governor of Georgia, were recruited to facilitate distribution and counting of millions of ballots, especially those filled out by dead people and illegal immigrants, many of these “voting” multiple times. Indeed, there were so many involved in this fraud that the Justices of the United States Supreme Court were cowed into refusing to hear the case that votes for Joe Biden in four states caused injury to voters for Trump in Texas, by denying them victory in the election. Finally, even former Trump supporters, Senator Mitch McConnell and Attorney General William Barr, gave up the good fight and admitted the election appeared to have been legitimate enough to get Joe Biden into the White House, thus revealing themselves as weaselly RINO (Republican in Name Only) cowards!

How do we know about this terrible Conspiracy? Not from the thousands of professional journalists in the “mainstream media.” They’re all in on it. Not from US intelligence agencies (since they are less trustworthy than Vladimir Putin). Instead, we have the word of Donald Trump himself, who has never lied. We have the briefs of his lawyers with their thousands of pages of affidavits that they can’t show anybody because their witnesses are afraid for their lives. (Let’s remember that the Clintons and Trump-critic Joe Scarborough are all known murderers and that the CIA and other Deep State agencies are participants in the Conspiracy.) We have little wedge “news” sites and YouTube channels on the internet assuring us that “Joe Biden said he was stealing the election!” producing some quote or other to that effect out of thin air (who needs sources or investigations anymore?). And Trump’s lawyers have statisticians who assure us that it is statistically impossible for the voters of any state who voted for Trump in 2016 to vote for Biden in 2020. Besides, whatever the conspiratorial Mainstream Media “journalists” tell us, we can rest assured the reverse is true. They say Biden won by some 80 million votes? Obviously that means Donald Trump won by 80 million votes. (Even the once dependably Trumpian Fox News is in on the Conspiracy, apparently.)

More than four dozen court cases have been tossed out for lack of evidence (and sometimes for lacking coherent legal argument), and the duly elected Electors of the Electoral College (duly certified) voted for Joe Biden, according to established law. The next effort to overturn this “fraudulent” election, we are promised as of this writing, will be to have a U.S. Representative and a Senator sign an objection to the Congressional counting of the Electoral College ballots, presumably concerning those from the states most hotly contested: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. The House and the Senate will then debate the objections separately, and finally admit the Conspiracy and vote together to toss out those Elector ballots and either deny those states any status for electoral consideration or allow the Republican Party to submit votes from its own unelected Electors, and Trump will receive a second term as President. During which he will probably try to find some way to have the 22nd Amendment repealed and be declared President for life (at least “12 more years!” as chanted at his rallies).

Of course there is the distant possibility that the House, controlled by “Democrat” Party members, may not play along, in which case another attempt will be made to bring the case to the Supreme Court, where three Justices appointed by Donald Trump will save the day and appoint Trump president. As one Trumpist troll put it in a YouTube comment, “Amy Barrett is waiting in the wings to save us!”

What is so damned dreadful about this “fraudulent” election “steal” and the Conspiracy that has spawned it? Is it really the overturning of a democratic-republican form of government founded in a Constitution and assuring majority popular will, while protecting the rights of various minorities? Of course not! Occasionally rhetoric about “liberty” and “freedom” and “rights” is thrown around to sound righteous and appear noble and patriotic, but let’s not fool ourselves. As we pay close attention to those who press the “stolen election” claim and who either hint at or explicitly proclaim the Conspiracy, the real issue is this: Donald Trump is God’s anointed. He is here to put an end to a vast cabal of pedophilic sex-traffickers that have used the Deep State structure of American government to promulgate an especially satanic form of Communism, which, if triumphant, would steal our guns, close down our churches, indoctrinate children in homosexuality, steal all our private wealth through taxation while laying off millions into joblessness in order to support the booming economy of China. More generally – and more gloriously sacred still – he is here to initiate the Apocalypse, the final battle between the good Christians of this world and the lecherous vipers of the Left.

Even if he can’t realize the full potential of this prophecy, he can still cause considerable pain to liberals, left-wingers, Moslems, Mexicans, uppity females and those African Americans who don’t know their place, whom he can’t call “my Blacks.” And causing pain is one of Trump’s real talents that his supporters expect from him. They want others to cringe before them, to shudder with fear, to weep with disappointment. Although Trumpism is masochistic in its complaints of victimization, this is really only an excuse for its sadism.

Given the real nature of this struggle – the certain denominations of American Christians against “the Left” – procedural politics leading to legitimate control over a democratic-republican form of government is really not an issue. Or, more specifically, it is, but simply because it is undependable. Its temporal nature makes such control temporary. There is no place in such a scheme for a “final reckoning,” which clearly is what Trumpist Republicans were hoping for from a second election win for Trump. That reckoning now stands revealed as the real goal of all the “stolen election” posturing on the right. Trumpists want an end to politics. They want to eliminate the possibility of any influence on policy from the Left or from the liberal factions of the American polity. They want an end to elections, and that’s what their “stolen election” maneuvering really tells us. Representatives and executives are to be appointed by and from the Party that “knows” – that adheres to the values of the Christian right – which has long been the case in wide areas of the Deep South, some states of which have operated along single-party political lines since before the Civil War, realigning only slightly after Nixon got the Republican Party to adopt his “Southern Strategy.”

Before going forward, I must pause to consider some possible skepticism on the part of my readers. I am assuming that readers here are all highly educated and well-experienced. It would be understandable, then, for many of them to read the narrative above and worry that I am complaining about the pathological political paranoia and delusions of grandeur of a small fringe. How many Americans could actually believe in such nonsense?

Some 74 million Americans voted for Trump. Depending on the post-election polls one relies on, 60% to 87% of Trump voters believe or suspect that the election was fraudulent. This suspicion can only be validated by some form of the Grand Conspiracy theory, however mild or inarticulate, because literally thousands of conspirators have to be accounted for in order to explain fraud in a national election on such a massive scale. So we can easily guess that tens of millions of Trump voters, tens of millions of otherwise presumably reasonable adults, have “reasoned” themselves down the rabbit hole of the “stolen election” myth. Since the Republican Party abandoned possession of any Platform at its national convention this year, in favor of a brief statement of absolute faith in Donald Trump, and since the Party has abandoned any pretense of traditional conservatism in favor of servitude to Trump, it follows that the narrative I’ve presented is likely as close as we can get to the core ideology of the Republican Party. It is pathological. It is paranoiac. Embedded within it are delusions of grandeur and of religious fanaticism. And it is now as “mainstream” as wearing neckties to work at certain jobs.

What would America after the “final reckoning” achieved by President-for-Life Donald Trump look like? Many on the Left have long bemoaned their suspicion that conservative Republicans have wanted to regress America back to the 1950’s. But this is to think historically only in terms of the European-American majority of that era, which enjoyed wealth and social power in the wake of a rightfully earned American triumphalism after WWII. But if the real political model of the now far-Right Republican Party, Trump’s political Party, is the single-party political and social structures of the deep South, then we must look further back, to, say, the Mississippi of the 1920s; an affluent era with a structure still developing the beliefs of the old Confederacy, given renewed life at the end of Reconstruction in 1876, and before the Great Depression. That Mississippi saw a flowering of education initiatives and public works, all tightly controlled to maintain supremacy of agriculture economically, supremacy of Christianity culturally, and supremacy of whites socially. Donald Trump himself, of course, believes in nothing. But as an old showman, he gives his fans what they want. That’s why I think those fearing a shrewder, politically savvy demagogue post-Trump are really missing the point. Showmanship from a transactional gangster is exactly what American Fascism looks like. President-for-Life Trump would give the now mainstream far-Right what they want: Mississippi, circa 1920. Everyone would have something to do and be content with their lot in life. Blacks especially would learn to stay in their place and not complain. Women would be eased out of the work force. Abortion would be treated as murder, and contraceptives would be banned. Homosexuals would be scourged and imprisoned. The police would turn a blind eye to illicit drug use (as they did during Prohibition), but when notice of these became unavoidable, repercussions would be harsh. Radio stations and other entertainment platforms would be more tightly regulated for “moral” content. Certain “dangerous” books, like Darwin’s Origin of Species, could be banned again, and history books would be re-written, as the Texas Board of Education attempted a few years ago, to emphasize the Founders’ (supposed) adherence to the Christian faith. Overseas trade would be severely limited, and alliances with other nations would be few and lightly observed. For the Millenialists (not “millennials,” but those convinced Judgment Day is just around the corner), “wars and rumors of war,” especially among Moslems, Communists and secular states in Europe, would demand a rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem followed by the final “final reckoning,” a horrific World War dissolving into all the promises of the Book of Revelation.

I’m not making any of this up. The bits and pieces can be found in street-corner pamphlets, internet websites, popular books (like the Left Behind series), Christian radio, and televangelist sermons. It is as much a part of American culture as used-car dealerships. Now, some may want to complain that I am something of a fear monger; that the situation can’t be that bad; that if only we could find some way to communicate with the Trump Right; that if we could just empathize with the existential concerns that push them toward conspiratorial thinking, concerns like raising their young with the proper values, and assuring them economic growth, jobs and an income; that if we could just show some respect for their beliefs and the dignity of their way of life.

Baloney. Reread the Grand Conspiracy narrative I’ve outlined, and the possible solutions; the “final reckoning” that the Trumpian Right urges upon us. What rational intelligence could empathize with such pathological delusions? These people would like to see me suffer, preferably until death. My sympathy for them amounts to this: Give them drugs! Give them a lot of drugs! Preferably opioids. The opioid crisis in the “Red” states? They don’t have enough Oxycodone. Ship them free bags of pills. Hand it out like candy on Halloween. Maybe it’ll calm them down.

Seriously though, I’ll be 66 in a couple weeks. I’m too old to be afraid of any of this nonsense. Instead, I write this under a cloud of sorrow. For one thing, I never thought the Republican Party could stoop so low. Thank heavens for the Lincoln Project to remind me that there still are decent conservatives in this country. And Democrats – especially supposed “progressives” – should take notice of them. If ever there was a time for the Democratic Party to be the “big tent” and permit reasonable disagreement while retaining shared values and goals, this is it. Because the “stolen election” meme and its Grand Conspiracy implications only signal the beginning of a political struggle that will go on for at least a generation.

But I’m also sad, because I don’t think we’re going to win. In the long run, I think America is doomed in the way all human inventions are. Doomed by our own evolution – by having too big a brain for our basic needs – we simply wander off in our thoughts into creation of worlds made of smoke, which we believe are substantial and permanent, when they are only fleeting and meaningless. Or perhaps my remarks here only amount to a reiteration of what Jack Nicholson’s character bemoans in Easy Rider: “This used to be a helluva good country; I can’t understand what’s going on with it.”


I must confess, to be fair, that I myself am part of the Grand Conspiracy, as is Dan Kaufman, who admits that he voted for Biden. Of course, Dan is also a Jewish intellectual, and so, according to Trump, his first loyalty is to Israel, site of the coming Apocalypse, and so he may be excused. I, on the other hand, am only loyal to my home planet in the Alpha Draconis star system, and to fellow lizard people like Barack Obama (whose birth certificate exists on that home world). And like one our first secret agents, W.C. Fields, “I like children, if properly cooked.” (And they thought he was kidding!)

I am here to corrupt you. Come over to the dark side (or as they say in the DCEU, come over to the Darkseid – Apokalypse now!).

I dedicate this to my fellow communist conspirators: Queen Elizabeth of England; the Pope; and Robert F. Kennedy, who faked his own death at the hands of a Moslem (who was in on the joke). We’ve fooled them all! Next election: Sam Kinison for President!


42 responses to “Deplorable reasoning: Prepare for the apocalypse!”

  1. Simultaneously hilarious and terrifying. Bravo!

  2. Dear Daniel,

    Indeed! I concur with you! Thank you for bringing those matters to my attention. I have also encapsulated some of the outstanding issues in my latest post entitled “Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity” published at

    Happy New Year to you!

  3. nannus

    John, you have now opened my eyes: “electoral balloting machines in Germany (recently confiscated by the US Army)”. Now I understand! I thought we were using the old-fashioned ball-pen and paper method in elections because that is how it was always done here in Germany, but now I see that we actually HAD balloting machines in Germany here, which were taken away by the US Army. So, that I made my cross on paper in the recent elections here (for the mayor of of the city I am livin in here in Lower Saxony) instead of pressing some buttons proves that Trumps election was stolen! Wow, I see now. Now it also makes sense that Trump wanted to reduce the US Army presence here in Germany (since they were part of the conspiracy!). Now suddenly it all makes sense!…
    It seems to me that the brand of religion the evangelicals adhere to qualifies as a conspiracy theory as well. It seems to be the mother of all those conspiracy theories since in order to believe in it, you have to destroy the rationality of your own thinking and perception, preparing the mind for the implantation of all kinds of nonsense. And this initial self-brain-washing must already have taken place back in the days of slavery and of the big deportations of and wars against the previous inhabitants of the deep south, necessary in order to maintain self-respect despite these crimes.
    Happy new year! Hope you survived the X-mess-season so beloved by you well. Stay healthy, stay sane.

  4. davidlduffy

    I don’t think most R voters actually believe this stuff, but it is pleasurable to have a reason to be righteously angry, as well as be offensive as possible to the common sense of one’s opponents. This is not to say that there are not many millions of people who do literally believe it

  5. E. John Winner

    I know it is not your focus but, for me, the integrity of — and trust in — the voting system cannot be ignored. A weak system invites fraud and, inevitably, conspiratorial thinking.

    There is a documented history of cheating in American elections. Looked at from outside (from a Western country with a trusted and effective Electoral Commission and strict and uniformly applied procedures for voting and tallying votes) the fragmented American system does not inspire confidence.

    You rightly ridicule wacky conspiracy theories. But you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that there was cheating in the 2020 presidential election. And arguably the cheating was worse than in previous elections. The unprecedented extent of mail-in voting certainly increased the opportunities for fraud.

    How many illegitimate votes were counted? Who knows? This is probably not ascertainable.

    A Biden/Harris administration will have to deal not only with warring factions within the Democratic Party, but also with lingering doubts (justified or not) about legitimacy.

    It is *possible* that enlightened policies and a return to dignity at the White House and reasoned Congressional debate could at least begin to heal the wounds of recent years and restore trust. But reform of the electoral system needs to be a part of this process in my opinion.

  6. Mark, given how many courts have thrown out Trump’s fraud allegations, there is no credibility whatsoever to these claims.

    If Trump tries to resist leaving, he should be dragged out in handcuffs. The Senators that are complicit in his efforts at sedition should not be seated. The only threat to our system at this point is Trump and his enablers, who are trying to thwart the results of a legal, certified election. As for his knuckle dragging followers, at this point fuck them. And if they riot, arrest the lot.

    I am frankly rather stunned at your take on this.

  7. “And arguably the cheating was worse than in previous elections. The unprecedented extent of mail-in voting certainly increased the opportunities for fraud.”
    Nonsense. That’s not arguable, the evidence is in, it never happened.

    I said that such conspiracy theories needed to account for “thousands” of participant conspirators (including those among Republicans.

    Actually such ‘theories” need to account for HUNDREDS of thousands of supposed conspirators.

    Do you really want to go that far?

    “But you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that there was cheating in the 2020 presidential election.” Yeah, actually, you do. If you think there was cheating on such a scale, you have problems, and I suggest psychotherapy (and stop watching Sky News, you’ll only burn out brain cells).

    “But reform of the electoral system needs to be a part of this process in my opinion.” I agree with that, but probably not in the sense you intended; future Trumps must be stopped, and this whole conspiracy theorist politics has to be marginalized out of the mainstream somehow.

  8. Where’s the evidence?!

  9. “Do you really want to go that far?”

    I want to go precisely as far as I went in my comment, and no further.

    Your suggestion that on the basis of that comment I need psychotherapy is both absurd and offensive.

  10. s. wallerstein


    I’m concerned that you would publish this. All the evidence indicates that it was Bill Gates, not George Soros or Hugo Chavez, who fixed the 2020 election in order to vaccinate all humanity with a microchip which will allow him to control all our behavior, Trump being the only world leader MAN enough to stand up to Gates and his evil designs.

    I believe that EJ’s post above is fake news paid for by the Gates Foundation and Mossad.

  11. Nick McAdoo

    I won’t say that this brilliant exegesis should be compulsory reading for every citizen because that might seem to make me part of the conspiracy. However, thanks so much for the detail, clarity, irony and balance with which you set it out. In the end, I don’t know what’s worse – their lies, their cynicism or their seemingly complete lack of any sense of humour?!.

  12. I want people to back off, or I will close comments again. No one benefits from knife fights in the comments.

  13. J. Bogart

    A bit over 30% still insist that the Trump inauguration was larger than Obama’s, even after both reviewing photos of attendance and being offered money if they chose correctly. That is a strong commitment to a counterfactual. The conduct of the party member, and elected representatives, rather suggests that they do believe this stuff. But maybe there is some reason to suppose otherwise – is there evidence that they do not believe what they say?

  14. Ira Glazer

    How do we know ‘the story’ is true ? It includes George Soros. No self-respecting conspiracy theory excludes him..

  15. s. wallerstein

    It’s your blog and you can close comments when you please, but if EJ Winner is correct that almost half the voters want to go back to something like Mississippi in the 1920’s, then you would expect him to be angry and indignant with those who on some level defend the narrative of the Trump camp, even if they do it for their own idiosyncratic reasons.

    I haven’t been in the U.S for over 10 years now and I follow U.S. politics from a distance and with less attention than I do Chilean politics and so I’m not going to advance my own view of what Trump signifies. He may be, as many claim, just an incompetent rightwing populist and a conman, who got elected in 2016 due to the weird U.S. electoral college system, has had his 15 minutes or rather 4 years of fame and will fade out of the public mind just like other mediocre reality TV stars as the US returns to normal, business as usual, with Biden. Or EJ Winner may be right.

    In any case, the discussion about the dangers of Trump isn’t just a normal polite discussion about political theory.

  16. I expect it not to involve personal attacks. And I didn’t single out EJ. I spoke generally. It was inspired by some of the things said to me and about my daughter in a previous thread I had to close.

  17. s. wallerstein

    The comments about your daughter were ugly and in complete bad taste.

  18. Dan,
    I apologize for any comment I submitted that somehow crossed a line. You know my occasional mid-night temper-tantrums (and I am always humbled that you tolerate me despite these).

    I can only say that I have had it up to the eyeballs with Trumpism and with the Grand Conspiracy. The divisiveness on the street-level these post-election shenanigans have had is immense, corrosive, shredding to the American social fabric, which has already been suffering fragmentation for many years. And the propagators of this nonsense are clearly opportunists seeking funds and votes from Trump’s fan base. But I don’t see how any reasonable person can accept any of it as legitimate.

    A couple weeks ago at work, Trumpists started threatening about civil war; I finally told them that if they wanted to ‘kill a commie,’ they could start with me, since I voted for Biden. They haven’t spoken to me since. Fortunately the work I do is fairly independent. But I miss any camaraderie we once had. But I was tired of the Trumpist crap, and couldn’t listen to it without response anymore.

    There is no way to argue the Grand Conspiracy, not even a little bit of it. It is either nonsense or it is incitement to division; possibly even violence. That makes the matter appalling.

    But I won’t say anything more on the matter here. However, reason suggests, going forward, that the political conversation should now concern re-building the center while also de-legitimating and marginalizing the Republican Right again. We cannot end this republic in a political Judgment Day, the ‘final reckoning.’ Such has no place in the evolution of a representative democracy.

  19. They were, and Bunsen was banned as a result.

  20. s. wallerstein

    Banning him seems justified to me.

    That was one of the most vulgar comments I’ve seen in philosophy blogs, which I’ve been frequenting for at least 15 years now. I’m not in Twitter by the way.

  21. Sorry to hear about Bunsen; but I wholly agree with s. wallerstein on the matter.

  22. The figure that interests me is the 17% Democrats (oft quoted poll) that believe that the election was rigged. Are they ‘infiltraitors’ or members of the Illuminati?

  23. cynic

    “given how many courts have thrown out Trump’s fraud allegations,”
    Please, you must know better. The dismissals have been on procedural grounds, not on the merits, which is to say: not on the basis of an assiduous examination of the evidence. The fact that procedural obstacles pre-empted honest examination of the evidence does not, in any way, prove that, “there is no credibility whatsoever to these claims.”

  24. Hi EJ,

    This is not the best way to start 2021! What about a blog on Peace, Love and Goodwill to All?

    But seriously, political dyspepsia is to be expected, and I don’t think that it is all explained by blaming Trump and the Republicans. Depending on where one looks, accusations of corruption and malfeasance also abound against the Bidens, the Clintons and the Democrats, but also the deep state, corporate interests and other ‘malign actors’. I have seen approval numbers of Congress in the low teens! The average citizen is aware of what is happening generally, and thinks it stinks – this might explain why a sizable number of Democrats also think that there was electoral fraud. My personal opinion is that I don’t know since all sources of information and data have been accused of fraud and bias. The best I can do is to guess at which narratives are more plausible. There are many diagnoses out there of what’s wrong; the prescriptions for a cure are even more numerous.

    “Showmanship from a transactional gangster is exactly what American Fascism looks like.”

    A little hyperbolic, but fairly typical of impassioned political speech. Poor Donald, he was accused of racism and fascism from the day that he announced his candidacy. In fact, on “the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, black bloc groups were present among other protests in Washington, D.C. and other places. The groups engaged in vandalism, rioting, and violence. At least 217 were arrested and six police officers sustained minor injuries, and at least one other person was injured.” (Wikipedia) I remember being quite surprised by photos in the news of vandalized cars and shop windows the next day. On the same day Trump saw it fit to lie about the size of the crowd at the inauguration. Oy vey. Things rapidly got worse with a torrent of lies gushing from the White House and Congress, and rabid partisans lapping it all up.

    A key to all this may be found in your word “Fascism”. Mussolini formed the “Fasci Italiani di Combattimento” in 1919 – an Italian league or union of combat. There was nothing special about their political platform, except that they were deeply disgruntled about the state of the Italian nation, sort of like us and the state of our union today. Political platforms identifying as parties, movements, armies, brigades, clans or gangs are a dime a dozen, some sound good, some terrible. What distinguished Mussolini and Hitler was a revolutionary, anti-constitutional commitment to violence in order to obtain what they thought in their twisted minds was absolutely necessary.

    Society is thus made up of innumerable fascial groups; political, professional, social, etc. ‘Fascist’ thinking occurs in almost all these groups, with the possible exception of individualist, libertarian groups, but even then there is probably ‘groupthink’ going on.

    The key then is to realize that all thinking is an individual process, members of tight groups have to pretend that they are thinking alike and are in full agreement with each other. The idea that one can identify a common denominator of thought amongst the millions of Trump or Biden supporters is wishful, maybe even delusional

  25. There is audio recording of Donald Trump explicitly admitting that he is trying to rig the election. Mark, are you still of the view that his claims of fraud should be investigated?

  26. This actually made me belly laugh.

    What do you think of the audio recordings of Trump just released by the Washington Post?

  27. Dan

    I am not defending Donald Trump or his integrity or honesty or propriety.

    I really don’t know what point you are trying to make by linking to the Reuters piece. Have you listened to the audio? I listened to a bit of it. Trump being Trump. Believing what he wants to believe. Exaggerating, etc.. And — Reuters claims, but I didn’t get that far in the audio — not just cajoling but bullying. It wasn’t a one to one call: there were many people on the line (lawyers, officials) so any suggestion that Trump was urging fraud to combat fraud does not seem very plausible. And the offending quote (from Reuters) could be interpreted in different ways. I would have to listen to the full recording to come to a conclusion.

    But even if Trump was urging fraud, so what? It has nothing to do with what *I* am saying.

    Whether there was significant cheating on the part of the Democrats is an entirely separate question from Trump’s response.

  28. The audio recording is direct evidence of felonious activity. He attempts to extort the GA secretary of state into “finding votes.” I would suggest that to any reasonable person this, in addition to all the rest that’s happened in this sorry affair, would provide good reason to think Trump’s fraudulent election claims are … fraudulent.

    And I by no means think that you are defending Trump. I know you are not.

  29. EJ: If the Democrats keep doing stuff like this, we’re going to get Trump-Plus next time. They’re writing “gender neutral pronouns” into the House Rules.

  30. I’m not so sure that’s such a big deal. The house controls its own rules.

    If they try to force that on the population as a whole, I would be far more concerned.

  31. Dan.
    that’s not the terrible thing. It’s largely procedural, and “(x)-neutral” language tends to be bland. I was earning my doctorate when the academy was beginning to assume ‘gender-neutral’ language standards At first there was something of a kerfuffle over it; but eventually people realized they could still write out the same crank theories they always had/ Besides, who cares what the House rules are.

    No, the real danger is Democrats thinking they can now get back to ‘business as usual’ with Trump gone. (They seem to forget how obstructionist McConnell was while Obama was in the White House.) The problem with the Democrats has long been their weird faith that somehow we’ll all wake up back in the ’70s – no matter how radical the situation, they think it’s all part of the game and it’s just a matter of ‘staying the course’ until the electorate wakes up (in the 1970s). In fact, nothing is ‘normal’ in politics anymore, and the situation has become very radical – and very dangerous. Imagine going through this week, given what Republicans have said, but the Republicans controlled the House as well as the Senate ( ) – who do you think would end up in the White House?

    Yes, Democrats should set aside ‘identity’ politics for at least a few election cycles; and yes, they need to develop a rhetoric (and agenda) concerning economics and the working class. And yes, progressives need to realize that they should be working with the Lincoln Project and that the danger to them (and to America) comes not from traditional conservatives but from the far-right (which is now main-stream, that’s been a major point I’ve tried to draw attention to).

    In the 1960s, Goldwater was as far-right as we could get in the main-stream; but despite Johnson’s demonization of him, we now know that Goldwater was committed to the Constitutional representative democracy and to the rule of law. Back then any further right was in the margins with the John Birch Society and those paranoiac about putting fluoride in drinking water. And to those margins the Trumpist right must now be condemned. How to box them in and isolate them is the real challenge, especially since practical policy issues have to be dealt with on a daily basis. But this is what Democrats should concern themselves with, going forward – at the local, state, and federal levels.

    Of course they won’t do that. The real problem with that new set of House Rules is precisely how bland it is. Democrats persist in thinking they can bring the comfy-pillows to a gun-fight. And unfortunately the right has factions who carry real guns. Sadly, leveraging these factions as a public threat is now becoming a strategic ploy by office-holding Republican politicians. It is clear now that such will do and say anything to attain and maintain power. That’s the danger – and the tragedy. The Founders never expected this, and the Civil War and Reconstruction never completely resolved the possibility.

    There are those on the far-left who admit to hating some conceptual ‘America’ they perceive as unjust because ‘racist,’ ‘misogynist,’ ‘capitalist,’ or just too given over to football. But on the right, there are many who proudly proclaim their American identity, but hate the social compact and evolution through compromise and diversification the Constitution makes possible. I don’t call them racist or regressive, and I don’t use the word Fascist lightly or as mere hyperbole. We are confronted with an ongoing effort by the Trump Republicans to achieve autocratic single-party government.

    Recognizing this is clearly difficult enough. Coming up with appropriate counter-measures is going to be far more difficult. Are the Democrats up to this? Hmm….

  32. Obviously what is needed is a living electoral will. I intend to vote D or R in perpetuity after my death. Then p.m. voting would balance out on the basis of asseverated affiliation. Could it be put in train say from before the next general election?

  33. W.J. Hyde

    I am withdrawing from all political activity for the next four years. I’ll willing to conceed the country to Joe Biden, for the short time, I’m sure, he will be president. At the end of that time, I will look around and see if the coutry is a better place and vote for a second term for whomever is President or to look at the smoldering ashes of four years of Progressive/Socialist rule and listen to their excuses that it is all really Donald Trump’s fault that it all fell apart. Have fun guys.

  34. Mark:
    I too was shocked, shocked to learn that Donald Trump had, in a private conversation with an ‘ally’, uttered what could be subjected to invidious interpretation. In any case to ‘find’ so many loose votes down the back of a settee at this stage is unlikely. To alter a saying: that game was played.

    You and I from our respective continents have the benefit, perhaps, of being able to look on these capers as though they were being performed in Uzbekistan or Kenya. ‘They are at it again’ might sum up our amusement. The annals of the Hunter Gatherer and the ‘Big Guy’s vig not being a news item; such is the free press of the leader of the free world.

    Now the lower house is going Canadian.

  35. January 6: The violence now seen in Washington DC perpetuated by right-wing terrorists at Donald Trump’s behest and Ted Cruz’s complicity is exactly what I have been predicting to friends since the election. As I wrote above: “Since the Republican Party abandoned possession of any Platform at its national convention this year, in favor of a brief statement of absolute faith in Donald Trump, and since the Party has abandoned any pretense of traditional conservatism in favor of servitude to Trump, it follows that the narrative I’ve presented is likely as close as we can get to the core ideology of the Republican Party. It is pathological. It is paranoiac. Embedded within it are delusions of grandeur and of religious fanaticism. ”

    On the right, violence is embedded in their ideologies, in the cults of power and domination. This is the beginning of an awful new type of politics in America.. At any rate, all those who perpetrate even a portion of what I have called the Grand Conspiracy theory of ‘election fraud’ in 2020, I consider culpable for any injury, death, or damage experienced today. They urged it on and then stand back and say, ‘we didn’t mean that!’ – well, yes you did. “He who brings trouble on his house will inherit the wind.”

  36. Marc Levesque

    “Where’s the evidence?!”

    Has there been more or less fraud than in previous elections, I don’t know and I’m not American, but according to what I’ve heard or read from state election officials, there hasn’t been anywhere even remotely near enough fraud to change the election’s outcome.

    But considering the large number of Americans you report in your essay who think otherwise, I think what Mark is suggesting, or some kind of honest bipartisan review, isn’t necessarily a bad idea, and could be beneficial if it’s well done.

  37. Seems to me to set a very bad precedent. Even where there is no evidence of fraud sufficient to change the outcome, we will do extraordinary investigations, whenever a rabble agitates enough, with enough violence.

    I would actually be very harsh at this point. If I was Biden, I would have Trump arrested the moment he was out of office. And I would arrest *everyone* involved in the attack on the Capitol and seek the harshest possible penalties.

    A very strong message must be sent that the US will not tolerate sedition regardless of where it comes from and that no one is above the law.

  38. s. wallerstein

    If they believe that Mike Pence is a traitor and a sell-out, they are unlikely to believe any bipartisan review board, even if it’s headed by the reincarnation of George Washington.

    However, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to jail Trump because that will certainly make a martyr of him, a “political prisoner” held by the communist government of Biden. Rather hit him where it hurts: fine him so heavily he goes bankrupt again. Confiscate Trump Towers and turn it into a community college for low income students. Confiscate Mar a Lago and convert it into housing for the homeless.

  39. I don’t care. Given that there clearly is a substantial, organized insurrectionary movement, I would deal with all of it extremely harshly. I would set the FBI on these people, the way we do with the Mob. Jail trump and go after all of those of his followers involved in insurrectionary politics. Trump will rat them out in a heartbeat. Infiltrate their organizations; tap their phones; surveil their online activity. All of it.

    You know I have been very inclined, politically speaking, to take seriously the concerns of Trump voters and to chastise progressives for simply yelling “Racist! Sexist!” at them every time they open their mouths. But we are no longer in a political arena. Trump’s is a criminal organization and his hardcore followers are co-conspirators in sedition and other federal crimes.

  40. Marc,
    the problem with your suggestion is that it validates the suspicion that the American justice systems – law enforcement agencies at the state and federal levels, state and federal courts – have all been utterly remiss and in dereliction of duty, apparently despite party-allegiances. That’s why I remarked to Mark that even the mild suspicion he gives voice to has to account for hundreds of thousands of possible co-conspirators. That is really on a level with the suspicion on the part of fundamentalist evangelicals that the theory of evolution is promulgated by a conspiracy of atheistic scientists and their secularist political co-conspirators. And what that tells us is that no amount of evidence, no logically sound reasoning, can possibly change minds here. While no established, or even marginal, religions need be brought into the matter (although certain religions frequently are), belief in the Grand Conspiracy clearly has the color of religious faith, and though they use the rhetoric of “news” and “commentary,” it is this that right propagandists – Fox at its worse, Breitbart, Newsmax, Sky News, etc. – play upon. It is sometimes presented with a sneering irony – since many of these propagandists know better, or simply don’t care – but the ideological structure of the ideas they present is fundamentally that of a sermon.

    And just a quick reminder: US elections are conducted entirely by the states. I myself have suggested elsewhere this is something of a flaw in our particular system of federalism. But to the immediate point, this legal fact and its extended legal implications are actually not widely or well understood, and the right-wing propaganda machine has used this lack of understanding to confuse and incite its fan-base. The US Congress has no say in the electoral process except in an advisory capacity, and by exercise of laws that are not inconsistent with the Constitution and its amendments governing such matters. That is why the behavior this week of Ted Cruz and Hawley, and other right-wing GOP drones (& Trump himself) was so deplorable – they lied to their constituents that the counting of the Electoral College votes could lead to further investigations and invalidation, and that was not, is not, and legally cannot be, the case. Utterly disgusting – and participatory in motivating the insurrection on the 6th.

  41. Marc Levesque


    Correcting misinformation about election irregularities or potential fraud isn’t necessarily giving in to any of the crazy conspiracy theories going around. I’m seeing corrections coming for all kinds of sources but I think it’s hard for the average person to keep up and cut through all the noise. When you say that 60% to 87% of Trump voters believe or suspect that the election was fraudulent, I think a lot of them simply have questions, misinterpreted ‘facts’, or are dubious about aspects of the electoral process, without being draw towards the conspiracy theories. That’s the level of misinformation I’m talking about counteracting. Fox news had one person sometimes doing that, Martha MacCallum, but she was just moved form 7 pm to 3 pm, so that’s not encouraging.

    I take your point that it’s states that are in charge of elections. It’s also hard for politicians to address these kinds of things impartially, especially the depth of the kind of things Trump and Cruz are insinuating, and maybe especially now isn’t a good time for that. But it’s also affecting other countries, Canada too, and it all needs some serious attention.

  42. Marc,
    no, sadly, it’s not about misinformation or questions about the process. Certainly if more people kept themselves better informed about the process, we might not be here. But the Grand Conspiracy is not a locus of retreat out of confusion. It is their first choice of response, indicating that for many Trumpists the premises of motivation are themselves unquestionable – basically, articles of faith. There’s nothing to do but simply insist that the election is over, they should suck it up, if they get violent they will be arrested or face violent response. That’s how far it’s gotten. Sad., but the history went unstopped as it unraveled. Don’t know the way back.