Democrats Preparing for Trump Win

Progressive activists are preparing to "democracy-proof" the country.

An apparently Web-only article by Charlie Savage, Reid J. Epstein, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan in the NYT yesterday reports “The Resistance to a New Trump Administration Has Already Started.” While the headline and, perhaps especially, the subhed (“An emerging coalition that views Donald J. Trump’s agenda as a threat to democracy is laying the groundwork to push back if he wins in November, taking extraordinary pre-emptive actions“) had me thinking there was a movement to keep him out of power if he were indeed to win, what’s happening is much more subtle.

Opponents of Donald J. Trump are drafting potential lawsuits in case he is elected in November and carries out mass deportations, as he has vowed. One group has hired a new auditor to withstand any attempt by a second Trump administration to unleash the Internal Revenue Service against them. Democratic-run state governments are even stockpiling abortion medication.

A sprawling network of Democratic officials, progressive activists, watchdog groups and ex-Republicans has been taking extraordinary steps to prepare for a potential second Trump presidency, drawn together by the fear that Mr. Trump’s return to power would pose a grave threat not just to their agenda but to American democracy itself.

“Trump has made clear that he’ll disregard the law and test the limits of our system,” said Joanna Lydgate, the chief executive of States United Democracy Center, a nonpartisan democracy watchdog organization that works with state officials in both parties. “What we’re staring down is extremely dark.”

So far, nothing particularly unusual. Activist groups prepare for potential legal action as a matter of course. Although I do find the concept of doing so because the opponent disregards the rule of law rather amusing; court orders are only useful if obeyed.

While the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an attempt to nullify federal approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, liberals fear a new Trump administration could rescind the approval or use a 19th-century morality law to criminalize sending it across state lines.

More novel is this:

The Democratic governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, said he had secured a large enough supply of mifepristone pills to preserve access for women in his state through a second Trump administration. The supply is locked away at a state warehouse.

“We have it physically in the state of Washington, which could stop him and his anti-choice forces from prohibiting its distribution,” Mr. Inslee said in an interview. “It has a life span of five or six years. If there was another Trump administration, it’ll get us through.”

States defied federal marijuana laws without consequence for many years, so this isn’t unique. Still, an extraordinary precaution to take “just in case.” Especially when the candidate hasn’t even taken a public position on the issue.

There is always discussion in any election year of what might happen if the other side wins the White House. Such talk has been typically limited to Washington chatter and private speculation, as much of the energy has focused on helping one’s party win the election and develop wish-list policy plans.

But the early timing, volume and scale of the planning underway to push back against a potential second Trump administration are without precedent. The loose-knit coalition is determined not to be caught flat-footed, as many were after his unexpected victory in 2016.

This is a natural consequence of our politics being both polarized and powerful. Decades ago, when we had two catch-all parties, the consequences of losing an election were much less stark. Now, both sides see it as an existential crisis.*

If Mr. Trump returns to power, he is openly planning to impose radical changes — many with authoritarian overtones. Those plans include using the Justice Department to take revenge on his adversaries, sending federal troops into Democratic cities, carrying out mass deportations, building huge camps to hold immigrant detainees, making it easier to fire civil servants and replace them with loyalists and expanding and centralizing executive power.

This is a weird list. A radically more draconian immigration policy is a bad idea but it’s in a whole different category from weaponizing the state against one’s domestic enemies. Treating them as comingled is among the reasons Trump might actually win re-election.

The leaders of many of the centrist and left-leaning groups involved insist their energies are primarily devoted to preventing Mr. Trump from regaining power in the first place. Many are also wary about discussing their contingency plans publicly, for fear of signaling a lack of confidence in President Biden’s campaign prospects. Their angst is intensified by Mr. Biden’s low approval numbers and by his persistent trailing of Mr. Trump in polls of the states that are likely to decide the election.

Interviews with more than 30 officials and leaders of organizations about their plans revealed a combination of acute exhaustion and acute anxiety. Activist groups that spent the four years of Mr. Trump’s presidency organizing mass protests and pursuing legal challenges, ultimately helping channel that energy into persuading voters to oust him from power in 2020, are now realizing with great dread they may have to resist him all over again.

The irony here is that “the Resistance” helped fuel the extremism. While talk of a “Deep State” and the like was vastly overblown, Trump and company were rightly frustrated that employees of the Executive branch were openly defying Executive Orders and otherwise working against policies the duly elected** President was trying to put into place. Ditto the fact that his efforts to overturn policies his predecessor put into place by executive fiat being overturned in court because of his own administration’s incompetence in following the Administrative Procedures Act; from the standpoint of his supporters, the system was rigged against him.

The group leaders say they learned a lot from 2017 to 2021 about how to run an effective resistance campaign. At the same time, their understanding of what Mr. Trump is capable of expanded after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. They believe that the orbit around Mr. Trump has grown more sophisticated and that a second Trump White House would be both more radical and more effective, especially on core issues like immigration.

“What Trump and his acolytes are running on is an authoritarian playbook,” said Patrick Gaspard, the chief executive of the CAP Action Fund, the political arm of the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress. He added, “So now we have to democracy-proof our actual institutions and the values that we share.”

I honestly don’t know what that means. Trump’s proposals have definitely gotten more radical. I’m skeptical that his team is more competent; he’s driven out anyone with real policy chops.

Regardless, what does it mean to “democracy-proof” institutions? Apparently, making it hard for Trump to govern:

The Biden administration pushed through a flurry of regulations in the spring, meeting a deadline to ensure that those rules could not be summarily overturned next year under a 1996 law if Mr. Trump wins the election and Republicans take total control of Congress. But administration officials have generally been reluctant to engage in contingency planning, insisting they are confident Mr. Biden will win a second term.

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesman, denounced these efforts as a way to pre-empt Mr. Trump from being able to implement a legitimate policy agenda.

“It’s not surprising Biden and his cronies are working overtime to stymie the will of the American people after they vote to elect President Trump and his America First agenda,” Mr. Cheung said. “Their devious actions are a direct threat to democracy.”

The machinations here are technical but I’m actually inclined to agree with Cheung. Executive orders should be able to be overturned by the next Chief Executive.

Earlier this week, representatives from 50 national and local immigration rights organizations convened at a hotel outside Phoenix for a three-day retreat under the umbrella group Immigrant Movement Visioning Process. On the agenda for two days was “Scenario Planning: Post Election Readiness,” building on a four-hour exercise the group had conducted online in May, according to Kica Matos, president of the National Immigration Law Center.

And next month, the anti-Trump conservative group Principles First and Norman Eisen, who was a lawyer for House Democrats during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment and helped produce an “autocracy threat tracker” focused on Mr. Trump’s plans, are organizing a conference at New York University entitled “Autocracy in America – A Warning and Response.” They are inviting dozens of practitioners and scholars to discuss how to resist leaders with authoritarian leanings around the world, Mr. Eisen said.

Maurice Mitchell, the head of the Working Families Party and a co-anchor of Fight Back Table, a progressive coalition that formed in 2017, said activists opposed to Mr. Trump’s agenda were primarily trying to prevent him from winning. But he said they were also determined to be prepared if he does retake power and to stay out of each other’s lanes.

None of that strikes me as problematic. It’s the nature of activist groups to engage in activism.

A common tactic to push back against the first Trump administration was through litigation that tied up his policies in court. Sometimes that work succeeded in blocking actions entirely, and in other cases it delayed those policies from taking effect.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the chief litigants against the first Trump administration, is planning to assume a similar role if he regains the White House. In anticipation of that role, the A.C.L.U. has hired a new auditing firm to do a top-to-bottom scrub of the organization’s finances to ensure it can withstand scrutiny if a Trump administration were to sic the I.R.S. on it.

Groups on both sides of the aisle have been doing this sort of thing for decades. It’s expensive and frustrating, transferring power to judges and away from the people’s elected representatives. But it’s also the nature of our system.

Ditto this:

Lawyers working for Democratic state attorneys general have been quietly studying the playbooks of their Republican counterparts in Texas and Florida, whom they view as being most successful at attacking and obstructing the Biden administration.

A person with knowledge of these conversations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said one of their goals was to see what aspects of the red-state anti-Biden playbook could be appropriated to ensure that Democrats can play offense as well as defense against a potential Trump administration.

The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade also forced a sense of urgency upon liberal groups and governors. Immediately after the decision, Democratic governors and state attorneys general began arranging calls and meetings to figure out how to counter the new threat to abortion access in their states.

California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, founded a group called the Reproductive Freedom Alliance as a hub for governors to coordinate their strategies. Though nonpartisan, it now comprises 23 governors, all Democrats.

The governors in the alliance have worked together to plan litigation, pass shield laws to protect abortion providers and patients from penalties in other states and secure the emergency stockpiles of abortion pills in case they become unavailable or severely restricted. It could be the seeds of a broader collaboration to resist Mr. Trump’s agenda.

“The Reproductive Freedom Alliance has pioneered a model of coordination across states to defend, and expand, access to reproductive health care — enabling governors and key staff to develop relationships and a structure for collaboration that could be replicated on other issues, like immigration and gun safety,” said Julia Spiegel, a lawyer who helped start the Reproductive Freedom Alliance from Mr. Newsom’s office.

This is ultimately federalism at work.

There are more examples in the piece but it’s all of the same piece.


*Yes, Trump and many of his co-partisans have signaled a true disregard for the rule of law and the outcome of elections in a way that has only been true on the relevant fringes of the other party. But their voters don’t see it that way.

**Yes, he lost the popular vote by a substantial margin. He nonetheless won the election under the rules that have been in place for a very long time.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, Democracy, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. gVOR10 says:

    The irony here is that “the Resistance” helped fuel the extremism.

    Murc’s Law, also expressed as “She made me do it.”

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  2. DeD says:

    The irony here is that “the Resistance” helped fuel the extremism.

    Geezus, Doc J. This is some serious “blame the victims” vibes you’re throwing out here. Criticizing Democrats for right-wing bad behavior that was in effect well before Trump attained office is blame shifting on a-whole-nother level.

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  3. Modulo Myself says:

    People sure get annoyed when non-Trump voters correctly understand Trump and his voters. Guy’s running on payback for everything and yet some people have the nerve to prepare themselves for the payback that is coming. Shouldn’t they reflect and think that their reaction is the problem?

    This is abusive behavior, by the way. This is a man beating his wife because she had the gall to talk about leaving because he is abusive. I don’t think every Trump voter or the Republican party as a whole is more prone to domestic violence. But the entire ideology seems to be a guy writing his own life and then victimized that others aren’t complying with the roles he’s given them.

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  4. JKB says:

    Immediately after the decision, Democratic governors and state attorneys general began arranging calls and meetings to figure out how to counter the new threat to abortion access in their states.

    Weird, under Dobbs, they should be working their state legislatures if their goal is abortion access in their state. Seems more their concern is about access in other states. Even as Trump’s position is to honor Dobbs and leave the abortion question to the states.

    The recent abortion pill SCOTUS decision actually constrains the type of activism through the courts planned here by ruling on who had standing to challenge a FDA regulatory controls on a drug. Controls the FDA altered to overcome state restrictions by permitting through the mail distribution into states the might limit prescribing, etc.

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  5. Kathy says:

    The Warsaw ghetto uprising helped fuel antisemitism.

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  6. Chip Daniels says:

    A cursory glance at history shows that most tyrants are actually similar to Trump- Impulsive heedless and chaotic, with weird tics and obsessions.

    What makes them dangerous is the coterie that surround them, who do the actual work of building the camps and stocking the legislatures and courts with loyal toadies.

    History also shows that most tyrannies start off in similar ways, with abortive revolutions and coups, shambling half starts and trial runs.

    What has changed since 2016 is that the Trumpists have purged the party of anyone not in the cult, and have formed plans for how to exterminate the vestiges of power by those they hate.

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  7. Jen says:

    Good lord. This is some serious victim blaming/myopia.

    The first Trump administration was horrific and embarrassing. You know what will be different in a second one? The handful of barely competent people he had during Round One are not going to be around for the second.

    There is real, actual danger in a second Trump term. Purging career civil servants, doing what he can to make immigration impossible, deporting legal immigrants, going after his enemies–and it’s LAUGHABLE to think that somehow our institutions will be up to the challenge.

    This post is whistling past the graveyard, head-firmly-in-sand, revisionist history of the first order. Wow.

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  8. Gavin says:

    This post is DARVO, IOKIYAR, and EAIAC all in one.

    And all of this going to the mattresses.. is for Trump? I swear to God, James, if you ever tried to diagram one of Trump’s sentences, it would just look like a Family Circus map of everywhere Billy went that day.

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  9. Barry says:

    James, ‘Do Not Obey in Advance.’.

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  10. TheRyGuy says:

    Yes, Trump and many of his co-partisans have signaled a true disregard for the rule of law and the outcome of elections in a way that has only been true on the relevant fringes of the other party.

    James Joyner adds this as openly partisan Democrats are trying to put Trump in prison and after the entire media and political establishment mindlessly promoted a conspiracy theory to undermine and poison Trump’s ability to govern.

    Rachel Maddow has now openly stated she’s afraid Trump will put her into a “camp” if he’s re-elected. That’s someone who not too long ago was by far the biggest and most influential liberal on cable TV. And, of course, Hillary Clinton is STILL attacking the legitimacy of the 2016 election any time it comes up.

    If things go as badly as they might, everyone should remember the willful blindness of the James Joyner’s of the country helped grease the skids.

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  11. James Joyner says:

    @gVOR10: @DeD: @Gavin: I’m not blaming Democrats for Trump. But the fact that he was being protested before he was even inaugurated and constantly stymied fueled the hysteria over the Deep State and a ‘rigged’ system.

    @Jen: I’m not at all confident our institutions will hold. But, if Trump wins and his party retakes the Senate, he has the right to govern within the limits of the Constitution.

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  12. Scott F. says:

    @Jen:

    The first Trump administration was horrific and embarrassing. You know what will be different in a second one? The handful of barely competent people he had during Round One are not going to be around for the second.

    On top of replacement of competent people with sycophantic loyalists in the Executive Branch, if Trump wins in November it means sufficient GOP turn-out for the Republicans to keep the House and take-over the Senate. So, the entire government will be in the hands of a party that has been empowered by the likes of TheRyGuy with their whiny alternate realities and victim complexes. The US will be ruled (not governed) by a party already demonstrating their willingness to undermine norms and the letter of the law to advance the interests of the minority of the population.

    I, for one, take some comfort that my blue state is planning contingencies for this horrifying outcome. That beats drawing up plans to go ex-pat.

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  13. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner:

    But, if Trump wins and his party retakes the Senate, he has the right to govern within the limits of the Constitution.

    How about outside the limits of the Constitution? Hasn’t Trumpism already demonstrated those limits are tenuous at best?

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  14. DeD says:

    @James Joyner:

    But the fact that he was being protested before he was even inaugurated and constantly stymied fueled the hysteria over the Deep State and a ‘rigged’ system.

    So, then, the question remains: Were we wrong? Let me answer that for you: HELL NAWL, WE WEREN’T WRONG!!! Many of us saw Trump for EXACTLY WHO HE IS, and we warned y’all. But you go ahead and tell the COVID dead from a mismanaged, mishandled battle response by a miscreant about Dems creating the craziness over the “Deep State.”

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  15. Kathy says:

    It’s very likely that unless Biden wins, there will be a coup.

    One scenario is Biden enacting a coup to keep the presidency and, more important, keep the Kleineorangefuhrer out.

    The other is the Kleineorangefuhrer will do a self coup, in order to establish the kind of dictatorial government he dreams about. One were the law is what he says it is, and only as long as he doesn’t change what passes for his mind.

    The first scenario would be disastrous and probably end in armed uprising or civil war. The second would be catastrophic and end in a similar fashion.

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  16. James Joyner says:

    @DeD: I was opposed to Trump before he got off the escalator. But it’s weird to protest losing an election.

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  17. DK says:

    @TheRyGuy:

    James Joyner adds this as openly partisan Democrats are trying to put Trump in prison

    Republicans elected Trump by screaming “Lock Her Up!” at Hillary. Hypocritical bullies never like their own medicine.

    Rapist and Epstein-bestie pedo Trump tried to put himself in prison by inciting the Jan 6 terror attack, by illegally retaining and recklessly storing sensitive government documents, and by falsifying business records to illegally hide a $130,000 campaign contribution.

    Conservatives excuse black males being executed in the streets without due process for existing while playing with toy guns, existing while wearing a hoodie, existing while exercising his 2nd Amendment rights, etc.

    But when perverted career criminal Trump is finally held accountable for some his crimes, cue the MAGA tears. What post-McCain Republicans want to state but can’t is their belief white men are above the law.

    @TheRyGuy: False equivalency. Hillary Clinton conceded her loss the morning after the 2016 election. Trump has still never conceded his 2020 loss, as he was too busy staging his deadly coup.

    But patholgical liars (aka Trump Republicans) gonna lie.

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  18. Chip Daniels says:

    Re: ‘governing within the Constitution”.

    Its been pointed out that the US can become a dictatorship “within the Constitution” simply by having 218-51-5-1 majority.

    “A republic, if you can keep it” acknowledges that the freedoms we enjoy are entirely dependent upon the majority wanting to keep it.

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  19. DK says:

    @James Joyner:

    But it’s weird to protest losing an election.

    It’s weird to pretend those protests were just about “losing an election” and not about Trump being a uniquely dangerous and unqualified white supremacist and threat to women.

    Lying to yourself, or do you really think your commentariat is uninformed and suffering from amnesia enough to fall for that revisionist minimizing, normalizing, and whitewashing? It’s your website, you should know better. Come on bro.

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  20. DK says:

    @Jen:

    This post is whistling past the graveyard, head-firmly-in-sand, revisionist history of the first order. Wow.

    You see in real time why a) a president setting job growth and employment records isn’t running away with this election, b) a supermajority of white males (thankfully, not all) + a minority of wayward women and PoC continue to give their votes to unqualified lunatics.

    The amount of amnesia, whitewashing, blame shifting, and attempts to normalize Trump among certain groups is alarming. And stupid. And instead of pointing the finger at everybody else, it would be nice if they finally looked around at each other and said what, “Wrong with us?”

    But they won’t: that vaunted personal responsibility conservatives love to lecture about is really only for some of us.

    Those who continue to resist this gaslighting — especially anti-Trump white men — by rejecting the bullcrap whitewashing and amnesiac normalization really should be patting themselves on the back.

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  21. Cheryl Rofer says:

    A small error, but let’s use it as a jumping-off point.

    he has the right to govern within the limits of the Constitution

    Emphasis added. Perhaps this is a colloquial use of the word “right,” but it’s one that Trump uses all the time to justify his divine right to be in charge of everything. The President has been given the privilege, by the voters, to govern within the limits of the Constitution. Trump has badly abused those limits, even gone beyond them in inciting the January 6 attack on the Capital. That should disqualify him from ever holding the office again.

    James quibbles about the bureaucracy not doing Trump’s will without telling us what exactly the conflict was, and then tells us that of course this terrible usurpation of power on the part of the bureaucracy is justification for the Right’s insistence on Trump’s victimhood.

    The other day, James told me that this is an analytical blog, not propaganda. Analysis is not complete without the specifics, and the jump to justification of the Right’s antidemocratic leanings is definitely not careful analytics.

    There is a lot of ground between analysis and propaganda. Within it lies the evaluation of what one has written to figure out whether or how it helps one side or the other. And considering the desirability of maintaining a democratic United States might be part of that.

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  22. al Ameda says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m not blaming Democrats for Trump. But the fact that he was being protested before he was even inaugurated and constantly stymied fueled the hysteria over the Deep State and a ‘rigged’ system.

    Well, it could be that a lot of people, perhaps tens of millions, knew who Trump was well before he was inaugurated, and finally his campaign and GOP Convention performance showed us exactly what was forthcoming.

    As we know, Trump did not ‘grow into the job’ and ‘become presidential.’ We got exactly what many of us thought we’d get. I thought Trump would be terrible, I freely admit that I was wrong – he was far worse than I thought he would be.

    The Media writ large is now going through a normalization of Trump, another round of ‘well maybe our institutions will hold, it won’t be as bad as the hysterical Left projects.’ We’ve been here before. The only upside I can see is that we’re still about 4 months out, and the news cycle changes on a dime these days.

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  23. charontwo says:

    @James Joyner:

    he has the right to govern within the limits of the Constitution.

    That is irrelevant give he is psychologically and intellectually incapable of governing within the limits of the Constitution. Not that he would do even if he could.

    Plus he will be surrounded by acolytes who will not feel constrained by petty legalities, nor by norms.

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  24. DeD says:

    @James Joyner:

    Only if you’re scaling the Capitol and sh****g on the walls…

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  25. Jay L Gischer says:

    @JKB: Why would you expect Democrats and liberals to trust this court to keep its word?

    Really, at least two, and maybe 3 or 4 of them lied to senators to get on the court, describing Casey v. Planned Parenthood as “settled law”. So why should we trust them?

    You don’t have to be partisan to get this. They have acted in an untrustworthy fashion, so we don’t trust them.

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  26. DK says:

    @James Joyner:

    But the fact that he was being protested before he was even inaugurated and constantly stymied fueled the hysteria

    Before he was inaugurated, the DOJ sued Trump twice for refusal to rent to blacks. He called for the execution of the Central Park 5, later exonerated. He led racist birther lies against Obama. He spread the xenophobic lie most illegal immigrants are rapists and murderers — and made other comments so ugly Paul Ryan called them “textbook racism.”

    He smeared Gold Star families. He repeatedly tweeted out Nazi-adjacent imagery. He mocked a disabled reporter. He ginned up racial hatred by tweeting out fake black crime stats. He threatened to lock up his opponent over emails.

    He was accused of sex assault by 30+ women. He repeatedly sexualized his daughter. He boasted of walking in on naked teenage pageant contestants. He bragged of assaulting other men’s wives. He praised his 15-year friendship with Jeff Epstein, commending Epstein for liking women “on the younger side.”

    He refused to release his tax returns and openly colluded with Russian psy ops cyberattacks on US voters.

    The time to start protesting this unprecedented threat would’ve been…?

    Those who warned before Trump’s inauguration he’d be a disaster were right — from his gutting of the CDC’s China team and ignoring COVID warnings to historically catastrophic effect, to his radically extremist Supreme Court, to his Jan 6 terror coup.

    Those who, before Trump’s inauguration, downplayed and normalized and said it wouldn’t be that bad were wrong.

    Amnesia is fun tho, I guess.

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  27. DrDaveT says:

    @TheRyGuy:

    openly partisan Democrats are trying to put Trump in prison

    …for his many and self-confessed crimes. Are you still (laughably) claiming that he’s not a criminal, or (laughably) claiming that a Democrat who crimed the way Trump crimed would not be prosecuted?

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @DK: Protests are disorderly, and Dr. Joyner has always had a distaste for disorder. The right always hates protests, making exceptions for a few of their own, so long as the most disreputable people don’t show up to embarrass them by shouting “Jews will not replace us”*

    Basic law and order conservatives, with an emphasis on the order.

    ——
    *: they’re not going to be replaced by Jews, it’s going to be robots, AI, and their wife’s new husband who the kids start calling “Dad” because he actually shows up to the soccer games.

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  29. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    It’s very likely that unless Biden wins, there will be a coup.

    It’s fairly likely that the coup has already been accomplished, via the Suborned Court. It will be fascinating to see whether the current Court is willing to oppose Trump in any way. Laws and norms don’t matter if SCOTUS is willing to go along — and we already know that a majority of them couldn’t care less about either law or precedent when crafting their opinions.

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  30. DeD says:

    @Gustopher:

    Protests are disorderly, and Dr. Joyner has always had a distaste for disorder.

    Damn. He would REALLY have hated that ol’ 1776 thing-y.

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  31. DK says:

    @TheRyGuy:

    after the entire media and political establishment mindlessly promoted a conspiracy theory to undermine and poison Trump’s ability to govern.

    Lies, lies, lies.

    Trump publicly called for Russia to interfere in the US election and steal Hillary Clinton’s emails, which Russian intelligence did the very next day.

    The Trump camp met Russian operatives in Trump Tower to discuss “adoptions,” meaning a plot to exchange Russian meddling for sanctions reductions.

    Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who once worked for Putin undermining Eastern European governments, admitted giving data to Russians to help the Kremlin coordinate its propaganda cyberattacks on US voters.

    Both the probe led by Republican Special Counsel Bob Mueller and a Republican-led Senate panel released reports detailing the Trump campaign’s “regular contact with Russians” in their efforts “to benefit from the Kremlin’s help” in 2016.

    Convicted Felon Trump has repeatedly praised murderous tyrant Putin — with Trump saying in Feb. 2024 he would “encourage” Russia to attack Europe.

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Trump colluded with Putin and is still colluding.

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  32. Jen says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m not at all confident our institutions will hold. But, if Trump wins and his party retakes the Senate, he has the right to govern within the limits of the Constitution.

    This feels like a self-contradictory statement. If Trump wins and his party retakes the Senate, and you aren’t confident our institutions will hold, who on earth believes that either Trump or the GOP will govern within the limits of the Constitution?

    To be blunt, if the institutions don’t hold, who is going to stop him?

    We have ample evidence that the US Senate won’t.

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  33. DK says:

    @Kathy:

    The Warsaw ghetto uprising helped fuel antisemitism.

    Silly weirdo. Don’t you know Germans who saw dangerous and unprecedented threat ahead as early as 1922 should’ve waited to protest until after the guy with the funny mustache became chancellor in 1933? Duh:

    “Several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused…”
    New York Times, 22 November 1922

    Best not to fuel any hysterics, you know.

    Besides, Trump says the Führer did some good things, according to Trump’s former Chief of Staff. So. Move along, nothing to see here.

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  34. Chip Daniels says:

    I think one reason so many people are wedded to the idea that It Cant Happen Here is that the “It” they imagine is something freakishly weird like out of a science fiction movie, or maybe old film reels about the Third Reich.

    But the big three dictatorships people keep referencing- Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China- were, in the sweep of history, freakishly abnormal, for their scale and intensity of repression.
    And in truth, the odds of America becoming like that in the near future are slight.

    But what is highly probable is that America will become like one of those minor East Bloc nations like Romania or Albania, or maybe one of the African kleptocracies or Central American banana republics.

    The sort of place where the national elections are a farce, where all the government positions are held by the highest bidder, where everything you need to do- get a passport, start a business, get a cable hookup- involve some sort of bribe since the entire economy is held by just a few oligarchs.
    And everybody knows that if the cops arrest you, it is another bribe unless it is somehow political in which case you go to a dark site like Gitmo and are never heard from again.

    This is all very possible to Happen Here because it HAS happened here at various times over our history.

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  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    What?? Two days (maybe 3?) at the beach and you’re already so bored that you start a flame war (albeit small and picayune) in your own blog? Weather’s so bad that everyone has their nose in their own smartphone in a separate corner of the Vebo rental? What gives here? Yikes!
    (In a parallel thought, I find myself wondering if the results of the 2016 election would have been different had some Democrat not named Hilary Clinton been running–and yeah, I get how primaries work, but alternative fiction…, but such musings may only show that conservatives can force a sexist misogynistic cracker out of the conservative movement but the sexist misogyny will still be there. 🙁 )

    @Gustopher: I love the irreverence your comments bring to our little discussions. This current version of you would have been a hoot to have in my composition classes!

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  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    it HAS happened here at various times over our history.

    Your comment reminded me of a story from my grad school days.

    On of my professors had gotten been sent to Nicaragua as a Fulbright exchange teacher in the recent past. He recounted a story about being in a taxi and talking politics with the driver. While acknowledging the corruption in Nicaragua, the driver had objected to my professor’s assertion that the US had free and fair elections. The driver contended that the difference between the two countries was that while Nicaragua’s leaders stuffed ballot boxes to win, the United States rigged the entire system against the voters.

    Challenged by my professor, the driver continued by asking if the professor really believed that in a fair and open system where anyone could become President, the voters would still be choosing between George HW Bush and Michael Dukakis. My professor said that he had to concede that the driver had a point.

    ETA: And Bush Dukakis as an example of disfunction in the system is really small potatoes. But even as a young boy, I realized early that, with a vowel on the end of my name, I would never grow up to be President. (There’s only been one who had a “foreign sounding” name, though the county clerk did me a favor on my grandfather’s citizenship papers by giving the name an “e” instead of the “i” like my cousins got. Now if only people would stop asking “how do you pronounce THAT?”)

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  37. DeD says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    But what is highly probable is that America will become like one of those minor East Bloc nations like Romania or Albania, or maybe one of the African kleptocracies or Central American banana republics.

    That’s all good when the population is homogeneous; but, when we’re talking about a country and nation like the U.S. — with “all dem others” — well, things get dubious pretty f**n quick. And let’s be honest: This is what those racially superior MAGAts have been waiting for their whole lives.

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  38. Chip Daniels says:

    @DeD:

    Most of the countries I referenced had or has some Outclass, maybe some unpopular ethnic group or religious group or linguistic group. Maybe Roma, or Jews, or Tutsi/ Hutu or whatever, but one of the more common ways countries fall into repression is with the promise to the majority that Those People will be dealt with.

    And yeah, the MAGAs are pretty open about it now.

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  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DeD: Still, even racially homogenous countries need people to dump on. The human condition predisposes us to look for distinctions from which to form prejudices, and we’re very skilled a finding and exploiting them. Even so, your point is worth considering; I always leave the difference as “It won’t trouble me to any degree. After all, I’m white and have equity positions in the economy beyond passbook savings and checking.” It’ll probably shake out mostly okay for me.

    Others have my “thoughts and prayers” (for whatever they’re worth).

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  40. DeD says:

    Oh, liberals; when will ye ever learn?

    https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/democrats-white-voters-trump/

    Let me spit some stats that will bring you back to reality: (Source: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/)

    WHITE VOTER STATISTICS BY PARTY VOTE, REP VS DEM

    1980: 56% (R) to 36% (D)
    1984: 66 to 34
    1988: 60 to 40
    1992: 41 to 39
    1996: 46 to 44
    2000: 55 to 42
    2004: 58 to 41
    2008: 55 to 43
    2012: 59 to 39
    2016: 57 to 37
    2020: 58 to 41

    Clear it up any?

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  41. Gustopher says:

    @DeD: The history of the Loyalists during the revolution is kind of fascinating. It’s a part of our history that we really don’t teach*, as it messes with the Patriot Myth to have reasonable people oppose them.

    Here’s a fun snippet from Wikipedia:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalist_(American_Revolution)

    Maryland lawyer Daniel Dulaney the Younger opposed taxation without representation but would not break his oath to the King or take up arms against him. He wrote: “There may be a time when redress may not be obtained. Till then, I shall recommend a legal, orderly, and prudent resentment”.

    “Legal, orderly and prudent resentment.” If that’s not small-c conservative views on the limits of protest, I don’t know what is.

    ——
    *: if only we treated the Confederacy the way we treat Loyalists. Just gently brush them aside and let everyone forget that they existed, except for a token demonized traitor like Benedict Arnold.

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  42. al Ameda says:

    @DeD:
    It sure seems that White guys tend to vote Republican, even when Candidate White guy: brags about sexually harassing many women; calls for execution of innocent Black men; openly mocks military service; and fabricates the biggest lie in American political history, one which leads a seditious attack on the Capitol intended to steal the election.

    Sort of looks like Republican White guys will always vote for the Republican candidate no matter what. Reaching out to ‘Flyover country White male Republican voters is generally a losing proposition. You’d think that after 40 years Democrats would get the hint.

    Remember the Ohio senate race of 2022? The one where Democrats fronted Tim Ryan – the kind of candidate that hypothetically would appeal to blue collar White guys. Well, those resentful bitter guys voted for the New Grifter, JD Vance.

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  43. Jack says:

    @al Ameda:

    You poor dear, you.

    Looks like TDS is alive and well here. Has Rachel Maddow been put in an internment camp yet?

    I don’t suppose anyone would want to consider that Biden did everything BUT unite the country, appealing mostly to the left lunatic fringe. (must be at least a few dozen given his public appearances) Reform candidates tend to do that to people, disrupt the fascist tendencies of those in power.

    Silly me…..

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  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DeD: One of my grad school professors used to talk about “bone deep” grammar/syntax/usage. The stuff we say automatically without even needing to think about it (idiomatic usage is a subgroup in his theory). I think the same bone deep idea applies to politics and voting, too. That and some choices being articles of our personal faith/philosophy.

    So no, it doesn’t clear up anything for most people. 🙁

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DeD (via @Jack): See what I mean? Bone deep. He says this stuff as a reflex.

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  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    James? You blew it. Apparently you have your head in the sand so deep you can’t even read the tea leaves.

    I hope your daughters (and step daughters) are more observant than you are.

    But the fact that he was being protested before he was even inaugurated and constantly stymied fueled the hysteria over the Deep State and a ‘rigged’ system.

    Yah, because we could see which way the wind would blow, and we were dead on right and fought against it every step of the way.

    I take it back. You don’t have your head in the sand, you have your head up your ass. Or maybe it’s trump’s ass you have it up.

    Really James, pick Door #3, it’s reality banging to get out. You have to pick a side. The only things in the middle of the road are dead armadillos and ‘possums.

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  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ps: When people tell you who they are, believe them.

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  48. DeD says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    There’s something else about Jack that I’ve noticed over a few comment sections. I’m not going to say it, but I’m wondering if anyone else has picked up on it…

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  49. DrDaveT says:

    @DeD:

    Damn. He would REALLY have hated that ol’ 1776 thing-y.

    Of course; that goes without saying. There are no justifiable revolutions in conservative ideology.

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  50. Paine says:

    Well, if WaState is stockpiling mifepristone pills then I hope they reserve their use to citizens of Washington State. No more of this BS were Idahoans vote for Republican health care policies then hop across our border for health care. They did it during Covid and they will do it again.

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  51. al Ameda says:

    @Jack:
    Give your guns and Bible a rest, Comrade Jack.

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  52. DK says:

    @Jack:

    Looks like TDS is alive and well here.

    I think you know more about Trump Dickriding Syndrome than most here.

    Biden did everything BUT unite the country, appealing mostly to the left lunatic fringe.

    Former Georgia Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan says he is voting for Biden in November:

    Former Georgia Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan on Monday said he will vote for President Joe Biden in November, arguing former President Donald Trump “has disqualified himself through his conduct and his character.”

    “Unlike Trump, I’ve belonged to the GOP my entire life. This November, I am voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass…”

    Reform candidates tend to do that to people, disrupt the fascist tendencies of those in power.

    Explains why the ultrarich oligarchy of America is nearly united in its hatred of Joe Biden, who has raised corporate taxes and placed more women and people of color into the judiciary than any president ever.

    Elon Musk and other feudal class welfare kings are dying for another round of Trump-McConnell tax cuts for billionaires and PPP free-money-for-the-rich slush fund “loans.”

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  53. just nutha says:

    @DeD: I hope someone else has and will share it. I don’t pay enough attention to what he says (that’s becoming a theme here for me 🙁 ) to notice any patterns. And as I’ve moved away from teaching, my feel for such qualities has blunted.

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  54. Jay L Gischer says:

    @DK: Well, Hitler’s dog loved him. And his secretary thought he was a pretty cool guy. This is the point of Albert Speer’s memoir, and the film Downfall. He seemed pretty cool and nice – most of the time.

    This goes into this stuff pretty well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI5ZsEy8ASg

    And he build the Autobahn, which we imitated with the Interstate system. Because Ike thought it was cool and valuable.

    Pretty sure that’s not what gets Trump interested in Hitler, though. It’s more of “how did that one guy get so many people to do what he wanted them to do?” You know, authoritarianism…

    To me, people, like me, who oppose authoritarianism might well want to understand how it works.

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