The Art of the Steal

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It is a measure of the mendacity of this administration that when Our Fearful Leader tweeted that he’d tested positive for COVID-19, people on both sides of the political chasm responded with skepticism.

The far-Right believed the twatwaddle’s tweet part of a pre-planned disappearing act essential to vanquishing the demonic Democrats’ cannibalistic pedophile ring.  (I know.  OMFG.)

Folks on the other side of the abyss — and many free-falling between the towering ranges that define our nation’s existential Great Divide — doubted the tweet’s veracity because the Tweeter is not only a serial liar, but a veritable fount of coronavirus falsehoods.  After analyzing 38 million English-language articles, Cornell University researchers concluded “the President of the United States was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation ‘infodemic’.”  (Read the FULL STUDY or a terrific SUMMARY)

Taking opinions on Pants-on-Fire’s 1am tweet (his most-liked ever), a talk-radio station reported callers were split between those sure he was setting the stage for a popularity-boosting October Surprise miracle cure and those convinced he was fabricating an excuse to skip out on the next debate.

Done and done.  Calling it “ridiculous” and citing concerns about moderators having the power to turn off his mic, the Interrupter-in-Chief bailed on the debate when the debate commission made it virtual.  And if you haven’t yet seen his medicine show sales pitch, check it out HERE.

(Btw, the “other things” he dismissively admits he was given along with a custom-made Regeneron antibody cocktail were zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin, aspirin, dexamethasone, and Remdesivir.)

Of course he checked both boxes.  He’s a con man.  Spinning and exploiting his bout with the plague is a knee-jerk reaction.

We already know he’s a cheat and a liar who thinks fair fights are for suckers.  We know he’ll stoop to anything to get what he wants, from colluding with Russia to tarnish his opponent’s reputation to paying hush-money to launder his own.  We know amoral Trumpists will pull every dirty trick in the book to sway voter opinion and curry favor with a Mango Mussolini who values “loyalty above everything else”.

That’s not what’s driving me crazy.  What’s got me blog-ranting today is that despite all we know about #45’s character, tactics, collaborators, and toadies, still we persist in viewing his words and actions within the context of an incumbent trying to win an election.

People, please.  Agent Orange is not trying to win an election.  He’s trying to steal an election.

Don’t get me wrong.  His felonious intent to commit political grand larceny does not in any way negate our responsibility to vote him out of office.  To the contrary.  The only possible future in which we foil the humbug-lar’s plans is the one where every eligible Anybody-But-Trump voter votes for Joe Biden.

Biden doesn’t need a few swing states, or 270 electoral votes, or a sizable margin of victory.  He needs all the states, needs to crush it in the Electoral College, needs an indisputable margin of victory.  Amtrak Joe needs to win this election in an unmitigated landslide.

Wish it weren’t so, but since we have a two-party system, there are only two viable candidates.  One is running a successful campaign.  The other is planting bombs all over the country, riddling the North Lawn with landmines, and barricading himself in the Oval Office — because win or lose he plans to keep the White House as a second home.  He’s made that perfectly clear.

Were a normal incumbent vying to win at the ballot box, normal reasons for abstaining or voting third party (too disgusted with politics to vote, voting my conscience, not a battleground state), would at least hold a modicum of merit.  This incumbent gave up on the ballot box the night he won the Electoral College, but lost the popular vote.  By nearly 3 million.

Even a doofus like Donnie knew he’d only managed the electoral win thanks to James Comey’s politically-motivated 11th hour letter to Congress announcing the re-opening the Clinton email probe, Putin’s troll farms dishing out political disinformation to millions of voters via social media, Putin’s hackers infiltrating the information systems of the DNC and several Democratic campaign committees, and Trump campaign officials jumping into bed with Russian contacts, accepting business opportunities for the Trump Organization in exchange for leaking damaging info on the Dems (that the Russians provided, naturally).

But he won, right?  So as far as Donald Jagoff Trump was concerned, he’d stumbled on the winning election strategy.  Add a few bells and whistles, and voilá! the winning re-election strategy!

  • get corrupt sycophants who covet cabinet jobs and tax breaks to spread lies and dirt on my opponent
  • give Vlad free rein to up his game from hacking and spreading false propaganda to recruiting domestic terrorists and fomenting Civil War
  • count on Zuckerberg and Q to aid and abet Russia’s efforts
  • appoint as many Right-Wing extremists to judicial posts as possible (rely on minions to tell me who, when, and where)
  • keep the mega-corporations happy
  • stay out of McConnell’s way as he holds America hostage to his personal agenda (because it dovetails with mine)

Instead of legit campaigning, Ding-Dong Don is following his atrocious Election Debacle 2016 with a crappy sequel.  Same script — same slogan, same speeches, same hate-mongering — but more arrogance, more volume, and a lot more violence.  In Election Debacle II, the star of the shit-show isn’t pitted against nasty Democrats with bad policies.  He’s up against satanic, child-molesting, pure-evil Democrats who are hatching a nefarious plot against our great nation.  Help us, Superspreader! Only you can save ‘Murica!

Wait, sorry, of course I meant Superman.  We almost got a glimpse of him, you know.  When leaving the hospital after being seriously ill from/not at all bothered by Corona (take your pick), he wanted to exit the building looking frail, then rip open his button-down dress shirt to reveal a Superman T-shirt beneath it.  Hmmm . . . 7.91 million cases and counting, at least 216K dead . . . can’t imagine why his advisors talked him out of that stunt. (It’s all HERE)

In 2016, Trump fans believed Hillary was a criminal, Democrats were socialists, and immigrants were invading the county.  In 2020, his fanatics believe Biden is a deathly ill, mentally-impaired pedophile-rapist, Democrats are in league with the Devil, and only The Donald can prevent their Antifa cabal from destroying America.

Fer reals.  That’s straight from the fingertips of the MAGA-folks I chat with when I’m GOTV text-banking.  Oh, and they believe that if their guy wins, the election was fair, but a Biden win proves the election was rigged.

Donnie One-Note has been chanting “voter fraud” for four years straight.  Doesn’t matter that there isn’t any, that his assertions have been repeatedly debunked, that his own fraud commission couldn’t come up with shred of evidence to support his claims.  He’s said it enough — and the media has broadcast him saying it enough — that, come November, he and his enablers can pretend it’s a valid reason to contest the results of the election.

Come hell or high water, Mr. Misinformation will create chaos and confusion on November 3rd by claiming victory. He’ll contest all Blue mail-in ballots counted after the polls close, and probably all Dem ballots period.  If he can contest long enough, the decision will go to the Supreme Court.  And you’ll never guess what Malicious Mitch and his GOP gobshites are doing right now to ensure that decision and every decision for the next 40+ years goes their way.  (They’re doing THIS)

So, podcasters, pundits, peeps — stop wondering why a candidate with an all-time low approval rating keeps ignoring golden opportunities to appeal to a broader public.  He doesn’t care about the broader public.  His plans hinge on igniting his ready-to-explode base.

Stop second-guessing the October Surprise.  It’s whatever bogus scandal he can get to stick.

And stop taking heart from the polls.  Take heart from the legions of young people stepping up to be poll workers.  From the phenomenal GOTV effort.  From the record-breaking number of ballots already cast.  Take heart from the glorious determination of true Americans to endure what they must and do whatever it takes to exercise their voting rights.

But the polls?  Surely we remember the polls of 2016?  So does Mr. All-About-Me.  In June, when he said, “Joe Biden is going to be your president, because some people don’t like me,” he wasn’t copping to his poll numbers.  He was setting up a November swindle.  “Some people don’t like me,” he’ll say, “so they rigged the election.  Those millions of votes for Biden are all fakes.”

In fact, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and especially the Electoral College’s inherent rural bias still give him a scary-good shot at winning a second term.  He’s just not interested in winning by the rules, because he can’t do the hard work required.  Create policies?  Construct a platform?  Comfort a nation in distress?  Strive to win the hearts and minds of the American people?  Are you kidding??

The very notion of work like that is so foreign to him, he doesn’t believe anyone does it.  Ever.  He thinks we’re all as corrupt as he is.  He just thinks we’re bad at it, and he’s good at it.  (Fair point.)

Instead of working, he’s having fun.  He loves bamboozling Trump Cult devotees with incendiary lies at Corona-catching rallies.  Loves misusing the power of his office to exacerbate the inequities of our society.  Loves galvanizing White Supremacist supporters into a private militia.  (His ace in the hole, to my mind.  Always an option to let the dogs off the leash, blame mythical Antifa subversives for the trouble that ensues, and declare martial law.)

What he hates is losing.  So he doesn’t mean to.  He means to pull off The Great Election Heist of 2020.

Will he succeed?  Time will tell.  One thing for sure; if he does, he’ll get off scot-free.  The only people who could hold him accountable for stealing an election, won’t.  A Tyrrana-Trump permanently installed in the White House suits the GOP Senate just fine. In their minds, it’s the perfect crime.

photo by Saul Loeb/Getty Images; SLATE, 28 Aug 2020

Risa Aratyr @ October 15, 2020