Friday, October 9, 2020

Trump used the last debate to send signals to right-wing militia. What is his plan for the next one?

Trump fave Sen. Mike Lee says, "We're not a democracy."
TRUMP: Proud Boys? Stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and the left, because this is not a right wing problem, this is a left-wing problem.”

 “Standing by sir,” co-chairman Enrique Tarrio said on the platform Parler, which is known for hosting far-right and extremist groups. “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!!”

The Next Debate...Covid-infected and steroid-addled Trump is threatening not to show up for the next debate with Biden unless it is held face-to-face where he can do the most damage. But it's clear to me he's bluffing. 

Democrats are playing it cool, saying that Biden will participate whether it's face-to-face or zoomed. But my question is, why? Another debate under these conditions is of no benefit to Biden or anyone else. At this point, Biden's big lead in the polls is about as wide as it's going to get. 

It's Trump who thinks he needs another platform for his demagoguery and racist appeals to his shrinking and demoralized MAGA base. This even though Republicans saw voters peel away in large numbers after the first debate. 

The last debate was an abomination with Trump putting on his worst bully-boy performance against a vanilla Biden. No need to rehash the particulars, except for one. DT used the first debate platform to issue his "stand down, stand by" shoutout to white supremacist Proud Boy thugs and various right-wing militia groups who, it turns out, were already plotting and planning acts of terrorism. 

This wasn't the debating tactic of a man trying to move voters in his party's direction. After the debate, Biden's poll margin widened to double-digit with only a few weeks left in the campaign. Rather, it was part of an ongoing Republican strategy aimed at undermining democracy, discrediting the election, and blatantly moving towards an extra-electoral (read fascist) attempt to hang on to power regardless of the outcome. 

Other Republicans picked up on the signal and are justifying a possible Trump coup with polemics against democracy. Trump fave, Sen. Mike Lee for one, (R-UT) declared Wednesday,

 “We’re not a democracy...We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that."

Trump's signal to the militias... DT, despite feigning ignorance of Proud Boys and other right-wing militia groups the other night, had to know that the so-called Wolverine Watchmen terrorists were plotting to storm the State Capitol, instigate a civil war, kill police, and abduct the governor of Michigan ahead of the presidential election. After all, the group had long been infiltrated by the FBI and was under constant surveillance by AG Barr's Justice Dept.

Armed right-wing militia at MI state capitol in May.

With probable knowledge of the planned FBI arrests, Trump's debate call to "stand down and stand by" can be interpreted as more than a shout-out to the groups, but also as a warning of the impending crackdown.

He then called Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan “the lockup queen” even as his own Justice Department was announcing the existence of an anti-government group’s plot to kidnap her.

Governor Whitmer—open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!"

Trump's criminal use of the debate stage to send signals to white-supremacist terrorists should certainly mean his exclusion from the debate stage, not to mention possible criminal charges in the future. 

Columnist Paul Waldman in the Washington Post writes:

We are already in an age of minority rule. If Republicans manage to hang on to their power, it will get much worse... Ask yourself this: Is there any action you can think of, perhaps outside of literally dropping nuclear bombs on cities where Democrats live, about which you could say “Republicans would never go that far”?

 No, there aren't. 


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