This just in: The sky is falling and President Donald Trump is finally making the fascist power grab we all knew was coming.
At least, that was the narrative this week in left-wing la la land after Trump spoke around a White House media corps question Wednesday regarding whether he would “commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power” if he loses the 2020 presidential election.
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said.
“I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
When asked once again, however, to speak to the importance of a peaceful transition process between administrations, Trump reoriented the discussion back to the increased potential for voter fraud this November given recent state expansions of mail-in voting.
“We want to have — get rid of the ballots, you’ll have a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation,” the president said.
Q: Will you commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election?
TRUMP: “We’re gonna have to see what happens.” pic.twitter.com/Dzj7Q9ZJqv
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 23, 2020
“The ballots are out of control. You know it. And you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know better than anybody else.”
Trump would go on to clarify the remarks Friday night at a campaign rally in Virginia, saying, “I want a smooth, beautiful transition, but they don’t add the other part: But it’s got to be an honest vote.”
“We do want a very friendly transition,” the president said.
“But we don’t want to be cheated and be stupid and say, ‘Oh let’s trans– we’ll go and we’ll do a transition,’ and we know that there were thousands and thousands of ballots that made the difference through cheating. We’re not going to stand for it.”
President Trump: “The only way we’re going to lose is if there’s mischief. Mischief. And it’ll have to be on a big scale. So be careful. And we do want a very friendly transition. But we don’t want to be cheated and be stupid.” pic.twitter.com/S8mUvIhEBo
— The Hill (@thehill) September 26, 2020
Of course, the damage had already been done.
It may well have all been avoided in the first place had the president simply committed to a peaceful transfer of power, with the caveat that he would not concede the election until every last vote was properly authenticated and counted.
That, unfortunately, is not the way this president does things, however, as Trump is often inelegant in the way that he speaks.
But does anyone truly believe that means his attempts to gloss over the patently ridiculous question at hand in favor of his preferred topic was actually an allusion to some sick plan to maintain control of the White House with military force should he lose to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden?
Well, if you had a look at the news this week, you would know that some people actually do believe this insane premise — or, at least, want the American people to think that they do.
Every other headline from Wednesday to Friday was some tired iteration of The Washington Post’s “Trump won’t commit to a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ if he loses.”
Sounds eerie, right?
It reads like something off the pages of George Orwell’s “1984” or Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”
It leads the mind to thoughts of deadly tinpot dictators from bygone decades.
More importantly, it sounds concerning enough that Trump’s opposition on both sides of the political aisle can not-so-coincidentally all be asked to breathlessly lambaste him for it on camera:
Pelosi on Trump declining to commit to peaceful transfer of power: “You are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia, Mr. President … you are not in Saudi Arabia. You are in the United States of America. It is a democracy.“ https://t.co/mRWa6yO6vC pic.twitter.com/jlx0ijisW6
— ABC News (@ABC) September 24, 2020
A Republican governor who is as angry as every Republican should be right now who claims to be patriotic. pic.twitter.com/BuXCwlGQX6
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) September 26, 2020
Heck, even folks nobody actually asked ended up weighing in.
This includes folks like former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who tweeted, “Trump’s refusal to commit to the peaceful transfer of power is the behavior of a desperate would-be dictator who’d cling to office even if it meant destroying our democracy.”
“It’s pathetic. But because he is the president, we should take his threat seriously,” she wrote.
Coming, however, from a political candidate who failed to publicly concede on election night in 2016 — a candidate who has since convinced almost her entire party to commit to accusing her successful opponent of colluding with a foreign government to steal the presidency — the warning rings hollow.
And that is exactly the point.
Trump’s refusal to commit to the peaceful transfer of power is the behavior of a desperate would-be dictator who’d cling to office even if it meant destroying our democracy.
It’s pathetic. But because he is the president, we should take his threat seriously.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 24, 2020
This whole narrative is a boogeyman intended to scare the American people.
Nobody actually believes Trump is gearing up to cling to the White House for dear life or gun down dissenters.
But it would be a lot better for the Democrats if you did — because maybe then you would unseat their most deeply despised rival for them.
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