“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a peaceful ― there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it.” – Donald Trump
Out of control? Yes. Completely out of Trump’s control, as early and mail-in voting starts in several states.
OK, Trump was talking about mail-in ballots being “out of control,” not ballots in general. But in Colorado where I live, mail-in ballots are ballots in general.
When Trump talks about this subject he sounds like a drop-out from “Schoolhouse Rock.”
Mail-in ballots work. They’re safe. They are counted accurately and swiftly. They have a paper trail to assure no Bush-Gore hanging-chad intrigue.
However, Trump is right. “Get rid of ballots” and no transfer is necessary, no transition drama -- no Supreme Court appeal. Lifetime presidency.
No ballots, or as few as possible, are exactly what Republicans have been fantasizing all along in their forever quest toward voter suppression.
Consider the Republican group suing the governor from their own party to stop Texas from providing six additional days for early voting.
Consider Florida’s Republican attorney general threatening to sue to stop the effort to pay ex-convicts’ fines so they can vote.
Consider how voter purges enabled Georgia’s then-secretary of state to become governor by a microscopic margin.
As much time and effort as Democrats are devoting to increasing voter participation, the GOP devotes to tamping down the vote.
Trump himself said on “Fox and Friends” if states adopt all the things Colorado has done – mail-in voting, same-day and motor-voter registration “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country.”
Get the picture?
At this point, hear the words of someone Republicans say they venerate, Thomas Jefferson, who said men are “naturally divided into two parties”:
The first faction is “those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of higher classes.”
The second is “those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish, and consider them as the most honest and safe.”
Donald Trump and his party fit naturally into the first group because they do not trust democracy.
This is one reason why nearly 500 retired military, national security and former key federal civilian officials have denounced Trump and endorsed Joe Biden.
Listen to former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe, a Republican:
“This is a referendum on whether we want to reinforce and establish what has kept this democratic experiment in play for the last 250 years or so or go into uncharted territory.”
Actually it’s been charted – in Russia, in Turkey, in Venezuela, in Iran, in Saudi Arabia.
Michelle Goldberg writes in The New York Times that Trump today seeds doubt in the election results “because unlike rage, fear can be destabilizing. There’s a reason TV villains like to say, ‘Resistance is futile.’”
The thing is, this is not helping Trump, not at all. People who want him out will not be deterred by what he has to say.
Mail-in ballots are as secure as their walk-in cousins. And more states are making it easier to vote early because the people want to vote early to avoid crowds on Election Day.
The other day when Virginia opened polls early, the pictures of legions of voters looked like Woodstock nation arriving, rain and wind be damned.
Donald Trump is a big guy, big and beefy and full of himself, but this democracy is bigger than he.
The same goes for Republican apparatchiks who think that they have the formula for staying in power by whittling away at voter rolls.
With 2018 as a harbinger -- a Blue Wave powered by revulsion to the GOP standard-bearer -- for these schemers the fear is on the other foot.