What if He Doesn’t Leave?

By David Brooks on July 24, 2020

What if he doesn’t leave? is the question that is increasingly troubling a wide range of politicians, analysts and citizens in the face of the previously unthinkable possibility that a president will refuse to recognize the results of an election, all while alarms are multiplying among civil liberties advocates over the deployment of federal forces to control cities with Democratic rulers, and among their victims now is the mayor of Portland, Oregon.

Between record numbers of reported contagion from an uncontrolled pandemic, another 1.4 million applying for unemployment benefits last week (a total of 30 million), the push for new anti-immigrant measures, and announced deployments or threats to do so by federal paramilitaries in several cities around the country, to face what Donald Trump claims is a wave of insecurity promoted by a radical left, the possibility of a constitutional crisis with a president who rejects the legitimacy of the election scheduled to take place in just over three months cannot be ruled out.

It was Trump himself who nurtured this possibility when in an interview last weekend he responded that, for now, he was not prepared to commit to recognizing the results of the election.

Trump has not stopped cultivating the idea that the electoral process could be tainted by massive fraud, including the use of mail ballots (a method he has personally used several times), despite the lack of evidence. “What the president is doing is undermining… confidence in the most basic democratic process we have… He’s motivating his base for a really damaging crisis in the days and weeks after the election in November,” William Gaston of the Brookings Institution said in an interview with the Washington Post.

His Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, has repeated that his greatest fear is that Trump will try to steal this election.

In fact, analysts have drawn different possible scenarios in which Trump refuses to accept the results, something that is already the subject of national media. Some experts and politicians warn that the post-election struggle could lead to civil disorder and even violence promoted by the president.

On the other hand, the denunciations continue because of Trump’s announcement on Wednesday about a wave of federal forces that he would be sending – as he has already done to Portland – to cities under Democratic command where the number of violent criminal incidents has increased, which, he accused without evidence, are the result of the lawsuits and protests against the police promoted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Among the victims of the repressive actions carried out by these federal forces in Portland, Oregon, yesterday morning against Black Lives Matter protesters was the mayor of that city, Ted Wheeler, who was talking to the activists when they were attacked with tear gas.

On the other coast, Governor Andrew Cuomo reported that Trump told him that for now he would not send federal forces to New York City. Cuomo warned that he would file a lawsuit against the president if he dared to send federal agents without an invitation, as it would be unconstitutional.

Silence in the face of injustice is unacceptable, reads a 76-meter ad in Boston’s Red Sox park, under the slogan Black Lives Matter.

Pandemc and Games

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highest-ranking infectious disease expert in the government and one who has been repeatedly criticized by Trump, was selected to launch the first ceremonial pitch of the opening of the baseball season in the beginning of the game between the Washington Nationals (his favorite team) and the Yankees.

Meanwhile, Trump was forced to cancel, for public health reasons, part of the Republican National Convention he wanted to hold in Jacksonville, Florida, which he had moved there to defy the health orders of local authorities in North Carolina.

Florida is now one of the national epicenters of the pandemic, registering more than 10,000 new cases yesterday alone. Nationally, there have been more than 4 million cases of infection, with an average of 2,600 new infections every hour, reports Reuters.

Finally, Trump reiterated in an interview his great achievement in completing a cognitive test to confirm his mental health, which is continually being questioned. He said the doctors were amazed and responded that it’s because cognitively I’m there, and challenged his Democratic opponent Joe Biden to take the same test. Experts say the test is easy and does not accurately detect a decline in reasoning.

Source: La Jornada, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau