Updated: Sep 26, 2020
If Donald Trump has his way and succeeds in stealing the election with support from a stacked Supreme Court, we could be on our way to a full-fledged dictatorship and an end to Democracy.
Some may say that's hyperbole, an overstatement of the worst order. But it is not. Since the Republican Senate's refusal to convict him after his impeachment by the House of Representatives, Trump has grown ever bolder in circumventing Congress to achieve his own ends.
Now, the worst possible outcome could become reality, if as expected the Senate confirm's Trump's rightwing nominee and the election ends up before the high court.
It's as though Trump, who loves to talk about his great relationship with Vladimir Putin, has taken lessons in exercising a coup and grabbing absolute power.
But Trump's strategy to stack the court in time for the election could backfire. He may get his way with a favorable new Justice, but a new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News shows that a sizable majority of Americans oppose that effort, which many view as a blatant attempt to hang onto power in the face of defeat.
"We do not have a monarchy, Trump is not a king," said one Not Fake News Facebook follower.
The poll shows that 57 percent of Americans want the presidential election winner to nominate the successor to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and that 64 percent of Biden supporters say the vacancy makes it "more important" that Biden wins, compared with 37 percent of Trump supporters who say the same about Trump winning reelection.
So if Democrats become even more energized, Trump could be shooting himself in the foot by trying to ram his nominee through the Senate before the election. Thus, the margin of Biden's victory could grow larger than otherwise would have been the case, leaving Trump's lawyers challenging mailed-in ballots less room to maneuver before the court.
It's not surprising that 80 percent of Republicans want Trump to name Ginsburg's successor or that 90 percent of Democrats want the decision delayed until the election is decided. That simply is indicative of the massive division that exists in the nation today between the two parties and between those who love Trump and those who despise him.
However, the poll showed that 61 percent of independents want the matter left until after the election, with only 34 percent saying the nomination should be made by Trump and promptly confirmed.
Thus, it is clear the power that independents will wield as the voting continues and the election results are determined sometime after election day. And that is a good thing.
Meanwhile, Trump's refusal to say he will facilitate a peaceful transfer of power should he lose is making life uncomfortable for many of his most important allies in the Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and his golfing pal, Lindsey Graham (SC).
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792,” McConnell wrote in a tweet this morning. Of course, that says nothing about what will happen between November 3 and inauguration day.
“Any suggestion that a president might not respect this constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable,” tweeted Sen Mitt Romney (UT) late Wednesday.
“If Republicans lose we will accept the result. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Joe Biden, I will accept that result,” Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News.
And, tweeted Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), a former Trump presidential rival, “As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election. It may take longer than usual to know the outcome, but it will be a valid one. And at noon on Jan 20, 2021 we will peacefully swear in the President.”
However, Democrats were not letting them -- or Trump -- off so easily.
“President Trump, you are not a dictator and America will not permit you to be one,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who called Trump “the gravest threat” to U.S. democracy.
“Usually dictators don’t announce in advance what their plans are. He wants to be named a president for life, king to the country," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA). "That’s not how our democracy works. It is up to Democrats and Republicans, and independents, it is up to all Americans to make clear that we are a Democracy.”
Indeed, that is why we have elections, and why it is so very important that we all vote in this election.
We are a Democracy, and we need to keep it that way.