Was Trump too incompetent to create a crisis?

Donald Trump (Getty Images)

I worried a lot about the possibility of a Constitutional crisis following this year’s national elections.  I feared Donald Trump would somehow sabotage the election process.  I worried about possible violence.

None of my fears of come true. We Americans can look forward to a peaceful transition of power, with nothing worse than hard feelings by the losers.

Maybe my fears were overblown.  But maybe we Americans dodged a bullet.

Rod Dreher, an editor of The American Conservative, noted that President Trump had threatened a massive legal challenge to the election results—like the Florida recount, but spread across many states.

But he never did anything to bring this about.  Dreher quoted the Wall Street Journal—

Some advisers have privately said they see little path forward, politically or legally, that would prevent Mr. Trump from becoming the first president to lose reelection since 1992.

Among the president’s advisers, finger-pointing over the campaign’s legal strategy has intensified in recent days, White House and campaign aides said. 

Aides have expressed acute frustration over what many see as a slapdash legal effort, complaining that—even though Mr. Trump spent months telegraphing his intent to fight the election outcome in the courts—there wasn’t enough planning ahead of Election Day and has been little follow-through on decisions made this week. 

For days after the election, advisers said they didn’t know who was in charge of the strategy.

Dreher himself added—

You got that?  Trump has known for months that this thing might conclude with a hellacious legal fight, but hasn’t bothered to put together a legal team to fight it.  The WSJ also reported that Trump has named longtime conservative political operative David Bossie to head his legal team.  Bossie isn’t a lawyer.  This is not a serious effort.  MAGA is done.

I can’t see the up side of fighting for Trump at this point, not only because this Biden win seems decisive, but also because Trump hasn’t taken the fight to defend his presidency seriously.  The Journal story is pretty incredible … but about what you would expect from a president whose mouth writes checks the rest of him can’t cash. 

Seriously, how is it that you spend months telling your supporters that you are going to fight this in court if you have to, but then half-ass the legal prep? 

When the GOP went down to Florida in 2000 to wage legal war in the Bush-Gore contest, they sent the lawyer equivalent of Seal Team Six.  Now?  The fact that Trump doesn’t take this seriously telegraphs to conservatives how seriously we should take him from now on.

Yesterday the WSJ editorialized that Republicans are correct to put an eagle eye on voting, especially in Philadelphia, but said that Trump is going to have to prove his allegations in court. 

So far, it doesn’t seem that Trump’s claims are very strong.  My sense is that most Americans are going to want this thing settled, and don’t have the stomach for a long, drawn-out argument.  Civil society is pretty fragile right now.

Source: Rod Dreher.

I didn’t vote for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, but I hated to think that Trump might be elected because Republicans successfully subverted the election process by blocking people from voting or preventing the vote from being counted.  I also hated to think that Biden might be elected because Democrats successfully prevented unfavorable news from being circulated.

Republicans claim that fake ballots are being counted.  I very much doubt this, but let them investigate.  If the charge turns out to be true, so be it.  The integrity of the process should be protected even if it means a result I don’t want.

The American electoral process is vulnerable to manipulation in all kinds of ways, from hack-able electronic voting machines to arbitrary  purging of voter rolls to tossing out of mailed-in ballots for bogus reasons. 

We Americans need to make the right to vote by means of paper ballots, hand-counted in public so as to avoid any possibility of a false count, and we need to amend the Constitution to make voting a civil right (it isn’t).  This would be a good project for the Biden-Harris administration to work on.  It is in their interest.

[Added 11/9/2020]  I think the danger of election rigging comes mainly from Trump Republicans.  Rod Dreher and “Nikolai Vladivostok,” who are at least as honest and intelligent as I am, think the danger comes from the opposition direction.  It is important to have a good verification system that leaves none of us in doubt as to the legitimacy of the result.

[Added 11/10.2020]  Maybe I spoke too soon.  Read Greg Palast’s report.  It isn’t over until it’s over, (and, even then, it’s not really over).


Maga Blues and Bitter Klingers by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

In which I anger everybody by Nikolai Vladivostok for SovietMen: the People’s Blog.  A view of the U.S. election process from Australia, where they count paper ballots filled out with pencil.  [Added 11/9/2020]

Georgia “Stacey Abrams Shill” Says What We Must Do by Greg Palast [Added 11/10/2020]

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4 Responses to “Was Trump too incompetent to create a crisis?”

  1. Alex Says:

    I absolutely agree that we should have paper ballots. In my ideal world those ballots would be simpler and would be counted on the spot by a crowd of observers from various groups. They do this in some countries: At the end of the day the box is opened in front of a big crowd, everyone sees what is happening, and they hold up each paper and say “One vote for Monsieur Martin” or “One vote for Herr Schmidt” or whatever, and everyone sees it and concurs and some clerk makes another tally mark next to that name and a whole bunch of people see the clerk working. And when it’s done, a whole bunch of people all agree that Precinct 12345 recorded 500 votes for Candidate X and 600 votes for Candidate Y, and if the official tally later showed differently everyone would know something went wrong. I have friends who have participated in this process, and they weren’t special party apparatchiks or whatever. They were just ordinary citizens who stood around the polling place for a day and then hung out during the count.

    Thing is, in those countries they usually vote for only one office on that day. Whether they vote for one candidate or one party list or whatever, they make 1 mark on their paper, so it’s easy to do this kind of counting. You don’t need elaborate record-keeping. But we vote for President, Senate, House, and often Governor, State Assembly, Mayor, City Council, judges, School Board, etc. We need machines.

    We should give serious thought to fundamental changes here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. philebersole Says:

    This is a comment that was made by “Mark” on another post, but which belongs here.

    I’m not so sure. I’ve seen the legal papers for Michigan (Wayne County) and Pennsylvania. The cures requested have some serious impacts and there is a long list of issues raised in each of them.


    Click to access Motion-for-TRO-Brief-Order-Costantino.pdf


    Click to access 2020-11-09-complaint-as-filed.pdf

    I would expect several other states to get similar lawsuits. If approved, these could reverse the results OR cause the election to fail certification. In the latter case it could go to the state legislature OR the Electors could fail to vote. If both fail to get 270, it goes to the US House & Senate. One vote per state & I believe both bodies have Republican majorities by state.

    I haven’t listened yet but Alan Dershowitz has a podcast on what he thinks will happen.
    I’d listen to him before I would trust the MSM analysis.


  3. jlue Says:

    Donald Trump is far from being dumb. He explained the legal team problems when calling in to a FOX News TV show this morning. He had a team in place, but his legal team has suffered setbacks, not due to a failure of preparation, due to threats from powerful entities. The team defending the electoral process has received a massive number of vicious treats. Some actually withdrew due to death threats. At least 1/2 of America is uninformed due to a media blackout of news and their wanting to control the narrative. The deep state is truly deep.


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