This is something of a companion piece to the article Ursula posted earlier today.

I’m seeing a lot of people giving up. Losing hope. Making forlorn plans to escape to whatever country that might take them, because Trump is going to use the power of the presidency, and will cajole or bully his minions in various state governments, to override the results, throw the ballots into a landfill, and declare himself Maximum Leader.

I have no doubt he wants to do that. And I don’t doubt he will try. The other day he said:

Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it. And you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else

Adam Schiff told Rachel Maddow that Trump’s statement is part of:

an effort by the president to discredit the votes of millions, to stack the Supreme Court, to disenfranchise millions and perpetuate himself in office by enlisting foreign assistance.

Yes. Yes, it is. And recently, eminent journalist Barton Gellman scared the hell out of us all with his Atlantic article saying that Trump intends to “break America” by his anti-election machinations. Gellman told Don Lemon that he scared himself while researching it.

The Republicans have been researching this for far longer than Gellman has. What the hell else do you think those hundreds of conservative think tanks are paying its “fellows” to do besides find ways to subvert democracy and gain control?

But. All is not lost. Trump wants us to think so, in order to convince us to not bother voting. What’s the point if he’s just gonna steal it anyway, amirite? Imma sit in this corner, fire up Travelocity on my tablet, and eat worms until my flight to Outer Slobbovia is confirmed.

Well, fuck that. Instead, let’s look through a Twitter thread by author and lawyer Teri Kanefield, who posted in response to the Gellman article.

It’s a relatively brief thread, but I’ll sum it up for you.

“A legal advisor” to Trump told Gellman, in Gellman’s words:

The state legislatures will say, “All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power. We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state.” …Democrats, he added, have exposed themselves to this stratagem by creating the conditions for a lengthy overtime. “If you have this notion,” the adviser said, “that ballots can come in for I don’t know how many days—in some states a week, 10 days—then that onslaught of ballots just gets pushed back and pushed back and pushed back. So pick your poison. Is it worse to have electors named by legislators or to have votes received by Election Day?”

Kanefield finds the timing of this legal adviser’s talk with Gellman was designed to demoralize Democratic voters and to distract the media from Trump’s wailing and flailing. Trump is tanking in the polls.

Kanefield writes:

First, remember that each state has rules that govern the certifying of their elections. Yes, laws still matter. The Trump legal advisor wants you to think they don’t. Why? Because when enough people lose confidence in democracy, democracy will fail.

That’s the real point here. Trump is very good at gaslighting people. Remember the plot of the movie Gaslight? The husband uses psychological torture on his wife to convince her that she’s insane and he isn’t a reprehensible bastard. It’s just like that with Trump. And it’s having an effect on all of us.

Kanefield continues:

[A] goal of active measures is to get you to lose conidence in democratic processes. Trump is trying his best to get you to lose confidence in democratic processes. He is trying to make you think he can pull this off.

Trump is getting shellacked in the polls. So he wants us talking about how he’s just going to take the election, and polls don’t matter. If he were up by ten instead of down by ten, that’s what he would be talking about. And what he wants us talking about. Kanefield writes:

When enough people believe the con, this amplifies and gives credence to the lies, which then creates a reality based on the lie, which helps bring about the very outcome you don’t want.

She concludes:

Here’s the thing about democracy: If a majority of voters no longer want it, it will cease to exist. If a majority of voters don’t put in the work, it will cease to exist.

Well, I want it. So do you. So do most Americans — the Nazis and Confederates and QAnon assholes don’t count.

DanK, a blogger on the Daily Kos, writes that getting the legislatures in the battleground states is a task easier said than done.

So, what’s the upshot? Simple. If you feel you need to buy a gun or three to defend yourself and your family against the angry Trump brownshirts, do it. I won’t argue. But I hope you’ll rethink your plans to abandon the US to the Nazis and idiots.

This is my country. It’s your country. It’s not theirs. We aren’t going to fucking give it to them.


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  1. If anything, with all the above in mind, we’re on the verge of WINNING this fight…decisively. Trump pitching a fit about losing to the point of lying? Expected. Republicans doing nothing but enable his mad god delusions a little longer? Predictable. Barr suddenly deciding he needs to launch the upteenth investigation into the Clinton Foundation after striking out with the Durham report? Well, it’s the Clintons and he’s a Republican.

    Meanwhile, Trump continues to lose what few marbles he has, bankrupt the RNC to the point of making too many congressional races competitive and is helpless to put out the fires he started. Conclusion: he’s on the ropes, that glass jaw of his BEGGING for the knockout punch. So…get your vote in, make sure others do the same and let’s finish this.

    • emptywheel pointed out that getting into the Clinton Foundation again is likely to backfire: they’ll find out which FBI agents in NYC were leaking, and why they based an investigation on a book that was full of errors and lies.

  2. Jesus! No sh it! Thank you max. I am done with the doom and gloom. Yes yes, yes! Trump is a lying, con artist, cowardly bully. So sick of people giving up, saying I am ignoring the peril we are in, because I refuse to wail and cry, moan and whine about Trump, and how he is really going to win! Everything is f-d! Why bother! Woe is me! I am beyond sick and tired of reading stories about what a mastermind Trump is, all of the sudden, with 40 days to go until the election. Out of the blue, he is now a strategic whiz, able to overturn the whole of America because he lied again. Why anyone is believing it, is beyond me.

    • I’ve a theory on that last, Cmae, not a nice one. There’s a scene in Hitchcock’s middling film Saboteur, scripted by Dorothy Parker (the only section of this film to be written by her). The film’s fugitive hero is hiding in a blind man’s house, doing his best to keep his host from finding the manacles on his wrists. At one point, the blind man’s niece comes over and talks up how “dangerous” our fugitive. The blind man says to the effect of “Well, of course they’re going to say he’s dangerous. It’d hardly make them look good to chase any run-of-the-mill criminal.”

      THAT’S what folks are doing with Trump now, building him up to be more than what he is. Facing the actuality of what he really is, i.e. everything you just said, is far too much for them to bear. So they lie to themselves and Trump feeds on it and time passes and the illusion falls apart yet again.

  3. I’m thinking that once they ram through their Supreme Court Justice, McConnell will tell them all, including governors and anyone else who could mess with ballots to let Trump flap in the wind. They’ve stacked the Federal courts and that’s what they’ve been after all along. They won’t need that windbag any longer and they think they can wipe his stain off themselves. They’re wrong, of course but they will have set the justice system back a half century.

  4. Due to my scrawl of a signature I know any mail in ballot from me would be challenged so I’ll be early voting in person. I’ve even worked out improvised PPE (of sorts) as well as decontamination protocols both before getting back in my car (and the car when I get home) and upon entering my apartment before heading to the shower. I won’t do any curbside voting which I’m eligible to do – I am going to feed my completed ballot into the scanner myself and make damn sure it’s been accepted. As for any MAGAts or geared up Erik Prince deployed assholes trying to intimidate me, I’ll deal with them if I have to. I just will tune them out, and move around if I have to to access the polling place. If they block me I’ll record their actions and call LE and the local ACLU. If they get physical with me? Well, I’m old and overweight and slow getting around so I might seem like an easy mark. I don’t own any weapons anymore, and wouldn’t carry one into such a situation even if I did. However, I have what I learned all those years ago as a Marine grunt (who also was attached to an MP unit) in my brain housing group and know how to use my cane for self-defense in some ways that would surprise the hell out of the goobers and goons. If I wind up headed to the hospital, or to hell for that matter I will go in a crowd!

    I WILL CAST MY VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To those who might seem discouraged I say vote. Don’t give up and/or give the thing away to them. Make them take it by cheating, because I too believe that while they will try they will fail if WE get out there and cast our votes. I urge anyone with a mail in ballot to if at all possible to skip the mail entirely – deliver it to a drop box if your state has them or take them to the county clerk’s office. Hopefully every County Democratic Party in the country is set up to help people who might need a ride to do so.

    Don’t give up, or even get discouraged. Use the same spirit the women of America showed the day after the inauguration which has animated us since. We were down after the 2016 election but an anger at the injustice of it all welled up and we need to keep tapping it. I think it’s best described in a novel, The Franchise by Peter Gent who is better known for North Dallas Forty. There’s a part where the main character finds a note a deceased (murdered) teammate left regarding how their union president sold them out to the owners. “Bobby” writes
    “They can kill us and they can eat us but that doesn’t mean we have to tasted good. We can still stick in their craw and make em sick as fucking dogs!”

    THAT is the attitude we need to carry forward. And not just through election day but election after election afterwards given the mess that’s been made of the federal judicial system. They counted on us giving up and going away after the million mom march. They counted on it again after Kavanaugh. Surely they thought after that, after we took back the House we’d settle down. From all indications Trump is in deep shit, and even McConnell’s position as Majority Leader is in serious trouble. They realize they can’t count on us to settle down, much less give up and go away so they are as you say trying to discourage us.

    Well, there are and long has been more of US than of THEM! Stick in their craws now and for years to come and make THEM sick as fucking dogs. Make THEM get discouraged, and build up the kind of messaging machine the GOP used so effectively for decades so that every time they try their “are you satisfied” or “things could be even better if we were back in charge” pound into voter’s heads what conservatives have done EVERY TIME THEY HAVE HELD POWER!

    For decades after WWII the GOP couldn’t get the trifecta of the WH and both chambers of Congress. The elder President Bush liked to complain along the lines of “Things aren’t what they should be and it’s Democrats fault. It’s been ages so let’s try a Republican President, House and Senate and see how that works.” Well, because of “blue dogs” or what I like to still refer to as “boll weevil” Democrats Reagan actually had that early on and the tax and budget stuff he implemented was a freaking disaster. The GOP got it again with his son for a while and we had another blowup in the budget and national debt AND a disastrous war of choice that made things worse instead of better in the middle east. And we had it the first couple of years of Trump. Once again a disaster.

    Now THERE is a 60 second campaign ad I’d love to see blanketing the airwaves. Bush 41 saying his Let’s have us in charge of it all and see what happens” with those three historical examples! Because when WE are in control of the whole shebang good stuff often happens.

  5. Trump owns our minds. He couldn’t pull this off this massive, complex, illegal and unconstitutional idea — but what he can pull off is manipulating US to go into a frenzy of panic and despair. It’s gotta stop, guys. Go do some phone banking or text banking.

  6. No, Trump is losing this fight badly. He will be voted out of office decisively on November 3, and no state legislature is going to over-rule that. If they even attempt it they will be literally run out of office by angry voters. Trump was put into office with ballots. He will be ejected the same way.

    • The only thing we collectively have to do is vote. Seems the least we can do to save our democracy, healthcare, etc. I believe Churchill said to “never give in”. Great advice.


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