On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell assured there would be an “orderly transition” to whomever wins the presidential election on Nov. 3. It was the affirmation some liberals and media types were looking for after President Trump spent the last two days refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power. The best we got was White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying the president would commit to the results of a “free and fair election”—cold comfort, since Trump has spent months casting mail-in ballots (and the entire election) as fraudulent.
McEnany’s hollow assurance still isn’t as cold as McConnell’s. The Kentucky senator has made a career out of fortifying conservative power in Congress and the judiciary, in part by repeatedly contradicting himself and ignoring norms. There’s no question McConnell would trade cementing a sixth conservative Supreme Court seat for a presidential defeat in November, but in the event of a Trump victory—even a contested one—he wouldn’t have to. He and other Congressional Republicans tweeted their assurances yesterday, quelling fears and supposedly “sending a message to the White House” through media mouthpieces instead of talking to the big bad president himself.
In case it wasn’t clear, according to GOPers I’ve spoken with, the many Republican office holders attempting to assure the public of a peaceful transfer of power are sending a message to the White House.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 24, 2020
There is no reason to take any Republican at their word, no matter how right it sounds or how good it makes you feel. It’s well past time liberals realized it.
Yesterday afternoon, Variety published an interview with West Wing screenwriter Aaron Sorkin in which the interviewer asked how Sorkin would write the end of the 2020 election saga. His answer boiled down to smarmy Newsroom drivel—Trump’s Republican “enablers,” finally realizing their duty to the country, would band together and tell Trump to get lost. It’s exactly the kind of patriotic tall tale liberals love to buy into—completely irrespective of not only history, but the present moment staring them directly in the face. We’re less than a week removed from Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and virtually every Senate Republican about-facing their own precedent of not naming a Supreme Court successor in an election year. How can that same party’s word about anything—let alone a potentially contested election that could yield them power in perpetuity—carry any weight?
The answer is because liberals and corporate media need someone to save the day. Many can’t believe what’s happening before their very eyes, and for good reason. Trump has eroded American political mores so thoroughly that election violence and disarray are no longer feared but fully expected. He’s openly saying he won’t accept the election results if he loses and major media organizations have no idea how to handle it.
Even top military officials have no idea what the fuck is going to happen. The New York Times published a story Friday detailing the “growing fears” among Pentagon officials that Trump would drag them into “election unrest.” Many top generals say they would threaten to resign if Trump tried pulling anything major, a completely feckless move that would likely play right into the president’s hands. After reading that story, the idea that the American military would swoop in to prevent Trump’s authoritarian fever dream is almost laughable.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff aren’t saving the day. Neither is Robert Mueller, James Comey, or Seth fucking Abramson. Your favorite #Resistance totem isn’t walking through the door to swoop in at the last minute and save American democracy. And neither are Congressional Republicans, who would gladly shiv any semblance of democratic government for a tighter grip on power. The descent into authoritarian fascism is happening now and happening fast. Liberals need to disabuse themselves of any assurances otherwise.