Trump, Michigan, and What the GOP is Actually After.
Regardless of whether he succeeds, Trump’s efforts to overturn this election will bring this nation to the brink.
Since before he even took power in January of 2017, many have felt compelled to address the fact that all signs indicated Donald Trump would not concede the loss of an election. Perhaps the long-held knowledge that Donald Trump would behave exactly as he is, is why so many people seem to be hesitant to take it seriously. Donald Trump’s frivolous lawsuits and his last ditch efforts to force legislators in key states to overturn the popular votes in their states in order to give him their electoral votes probably won’t succeed, but it seems as though each and every day there’s a new reason to be alarmed at how far he is actually willing to take this. After the news broke that the President had invited Michigan GOP legislators to the White House, it feels more important than ever to address the fact that when it comes to Donald Trump, there is no such thing as hyperbole.
Reporting on the meeting with Michigan GOP leaders, Ed White, David Eggert, and Zeke Miller with The Associated Press write:
Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Trump invited Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield. They agreed to go, according to a state official aware of the leaders’ plans. The two officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing private conversations.
…Trump’s campaign is openly floating the notion of trying to get friendly state legislatures to appoint electors who would overturn the will of the voters. The Michigan Legislature would be called to select electors if Trump succeeds in convincing the state’s board of canvassers not to certify Biden’s victory in the state.
Both Shirkey and Chatfield have indicated they will not try to overturn Biden’s win.
“Michigan law does not include a provision for the Legislature to directly select electors or to award electors to anyone other than the person who received the most votes,” Shirkey’s spokeswoman said last week.
Asked at a Lansing news conference about the plan for legislative leaders to visit Trump, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, “I hope they wear masks, and I hope they stay safe.”
“All the meetings in the world, though, can’t take away from the fact that Joe Biden won Michigan by over 150,000 votes,” Whitmer added. “That’s 14 times the margin that Donald Trump won by in 2016. … So we will be sending a slate of electors that reflects the will of the people of Michigan at the end of this process.”
At the same time we acknowledge that these efforts still remain unlikely to succeed, we must also understand that regardless, we have entered dangerous territory that gets more and more difficult to recover from with each passing move that he makes. For me personally, Donald Trump himself is the least interesting aspect of watching these events unfold. What concerns me even more, is the precedent it lays out for the future and what it says about the Republican Party overall.
In actively trying to subvert the results of the election, the GOP has shown unapologetically that aside from power, what they want above all else is the ability to tax the American people without actually having to represent them. As obvious as it might feel, it’s still necessary to point out that a dangerous percentage of the Republican party is unwilling to accept the results of an election unless they themselves were the winners. They want our tax dollars to fund the subsidies for their donors from the Military Industrial Complex and the Oil industry, but they don’t want us to be able to exercise our rights to chose who governs us. Republicans want us to throw children too young to understand what’s being asked of them to the wolves, sending them to schools in the middle of an ever-worsening pandemic just so their parents can give their labor to the precious economy, but they refuse to accept our right to vote them out of power.
Republicans want us to sacrifice ourselves for the good of the economy, but they don’t want to even acknowledge our ballots.
With states like Georgia and Arizona now becoming battleground states, can we be surprised that it’s come down to this? With Republicans knowing their ability to hold control at the national level is slipping away, can we be surprised that a political party that’s chosen to move even further to the right in response is currently flirting with overtly turning over the will of the people in an effort to maintain power?
In a nation that has effectively become an oligarchy years ago, the last thing the American people had when considering a government that objectively does not represent them, was at least the illusion that their vote mattered. The last thing they had was the idea that the ballot counted for something in deciding the fate of the country. But what happens when that’s taken away from them? What happens when if those two Michigan legislators meet with Donald Trump, and suddenly find themselves open to the idea of overturning the votes of the 150,000 more people who voted for Joe Biden, in order to give the electoral votes of the state to someone they did not chose? Can Republicans really be sure that the masses will take this lying down, when they take away the only bit of control in the process that we had? What happens even if Donald Trump is unsuccessful in these efforts, but the state legislators who stood in his way have all been replaced by people more than willing to hand the election over to the next autocratic fascist that comes along behind him in the near future?
This has been, and always will be, much bigger than Donald Trump. The right is treating it as such, and the left needs to as well. While it still remains unlikely that he will succeed, it is a slap in the face to every single person who voted against him that Joe Biden refuses to take these efforts seriously considering everything it means for the future. But in a nation where the overwhelming majority of politicians — at the national level in particular — are concerned with nothing more than their own power, can we really be surprised that it’s unfolding this way?