Trump Will Burn Down the GOP

In either case, he will once again bring the GOP to a catastrophe in the 2024 general election.

After all the analysis of the 2022 election cycle, one thing is very clear. The tighter a GOP candidate embraced Donald Trump, the poorer that candidate performed in a contested general election. Those GOP candidates who performed well in 2022, like Ron DeSantis and Brian Kemp, typically kept quite a bit of distance between themselves and Trump. This allowed independent voters to see them as mainstream GOP thinkers, even though both have a strong streak of Trumpy behaviors. While many GOP candidates did embrace Trump and still win they were either in heavily GOP areas, or, as in the case of JD Vance in Ohio, they scraped in while vastly underperforming other GOP candidates in the same geography. There is now a widespread realization that Donald Trump’s focus on the 2020 election is a millstone for the GOP.

As we enter the landscape of the 2024 election, Trump has already announced his candidacy in an ill-conceived attempt to ward off the upcoming indictments from the DOJ. Its still not clear how many GOP candidates will challenge him. It could be as few as two or three, but it could also be as many as six or more.

In Trump’s ideal scenario, numerous weak candidates (everyone except Ron DeSantis) will run, therefore splitting the potential opposition votes and letting him win GOP primaries with his 30-40% GOP base vote. That would make him the 2024 GOP Presidential candidate, and likely put him into a rematch with Joe Biden. It’s also very conceivable that the US economy could be in a long recession for which Biden would receive (fairly or not) much of the blame. So, in that scenario, could Trump win re-election?

The simple answer is Hell No. With Trump at the top of the ticket, the GOP would go down to a massive, crushing defeat across the board in 2024. Leveraging his power as the leader of the party, Trump would use the 2024 primary season to once again pick GOP candidates that would pledge undying loyalty to him personally; such candidates would lose in the general elections in such numbers that the Democrats would win control of both houses of Congress, the White House, and multiple additional statehouses. If Trump is the GOP candidate, he will set the party back for years.

But what if he is not the candidate? This scenario assumes that over time the Trump show becomes less and less attractive to enough GOP voters that they slowly lose belief in him. The GOP leadership, realizing that Trump has no chance to be elected, coalesces around a single alternative (likely DeSantis) who then polls higher than Trump in the primaries and wins a messy battle to become the GOP candidate.

What will Trump do? Will he put the party first and support the GOP nominee? Of course not. His narcissism will never allow him to support another GOP candidate, least of all Ron DeSantis. He will claim that the election was stolen, and tell his supporters that the entire party is corrupt and that they should stay home or vote for the Dems just for spite. He may even launch a third party bid, but that would take a lot of work and he’s not likely to want to bother. His goal won’t be to win, just to extract revenge on those who have wronged him. In either case, he will once again bring the GOP to a catastrophe in the 2024 general election.

What about all the legal issues that Trump faces? What impact will they have in 2024? Other than keeping Trump on the defensive and reminding voters what a menace he is, they won’t be definitive. The legal cases need to proceed effectively to ensure that justice is served. The Democrats must do all they can to stay above the fray, and maintain their integrity in the eyes of voters. Then stand by as the GOP self-destructs.

Is there a third scenario? Yes. If Trump dies before Primary season, the GOP would be free of his narcissism and could win it all. Other that that, it’s a done deal.

Take Trump’s Power Away

If the majority of the high-profile MAGA candidates lose their elections it will convince the non-Trump aligned party leaders that following Trump is NOT the way to regain power.

Trump has total control of today’s Republican Party. Senate, Governor, Congressional, and other GOP slates across the country are dominated by Trump approved MAGA candidates. These candidates have made no attempt to disguise the fact that if they are elected to office, they will do all that is in their power (and more) to hand Trump the Presidency in 2024. There is no question that the GOP is all-in for Trump. This is a grave danger to our democracy as previously described here.

But the leaders of the GOP are not complete idiots. They know that, despite their best efforts to suppress votes and gerrymander districts, they ultimately must win the votes of a significant number of the electorate to be able to obtain and retain power. So, maybe for the last election, the people still have the power to stop the MAGA GOP from taking power. And by stopping MAGA, we can take Trump’s power away.

It won’t happen overnight. But if the majority of the high-profile MAGA candidates lose their elections it will convince the non-Trump aligned party leaders that following Trump is NOT the way to regain power. And those leaders, which today are a silent plurality within the GOP, will see their power grow while the MAGA-aligned leaders will see their power fade.

And as the MAGA power fades, Trump will be reduced in stature and power. He will still have his MAGA followers and he will still be a danger to the country. But his ability to dictate events will be much reduced as more and more GOP leaders will move away from him. Will that lead to more Q-Anon fueled violent insurrection attempts? Possibly – and if so they must be dealt with lawfully until the MAGA fury burns itself out.

Will this ultimately lead to a stronger GOP? Possibly. But more importantly, it will lead back to a GOP that believes the democratic process and in (relatively) free elections. And that will mean that we have, for the moment saved democracy.

The message is clear: Vote for Democrats. Defeat MAGA Republicans. Save democracy.

GOP Wins in 2022 Guarantee Trump Steals 2024

If enough MAGA candidates win in 2022, Donald Trump will be a pre-determined, guaranteed winner in 2024.

There is no question that the GOP is the party of Trump. Trump’s handpicked MAGA candidates have a near-perfect record of victories in the 2022 GOP primaries, even in cases where the candidates are horribly flawed and GOP voters had more mainstream choices. The core of the GOP believes absolutely in Trump and the candidates selected by the party prove that to be the case.

The Trump-approved candidates all share a commitment to the big lie that the 2020 election was stolen. They also all agree that, if elected, they won’t allow it to happen again. How will they keep that promise? Simple: No matter how the voters of their state vote in the 2024 election, they will override the will of the people and certify Donald Trump the winner.

Trump MAGA candidates who believe in Donald Trump more than they believe in democracy are running for offices of Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State in key battleground states:

  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Michigan
  • Wisconsin
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Arizona

Every state in which the MAGA candidates win in 2022 is a pre-determined, guaranteed win for Donald Trump in 2024. The battleground states on this list control the election. If enough battleground states vote for MAGA candidates in 2022, the votes cast in the 2024 election will become meaningless. No matter how the voters vote, the MAGA officials will use their powers to certify their states for Donald Trump.

All voters must understand: a vote for a GOP MAGA candidate in 2022 is a vote to end democracy. If the MAGA candidates control a state, the voters will have ceded power to Trump’s willing lackeys. What happens in the next 60 days determines the future of America. Forever. Because if Donald Trump regains power, he will never give it up.

Will This be the Last Free Election?

If the GOP gains control of enough state governments, we will never have free elections again.

As the primaries come to a conclusion and the candidates for the 2022 elections are selected, the strategy of the Republican Party has become clear. Despite the fact that every court, every recount, and every honest accounting has shown that the 2020 elections were completely fair, the GOP has, in almost all cases, nominated slates of 2020 election deniers across the board. This incudes an overwhelming number of candidates for Governor, Attorney General, or Secretary of State:

  • Geoff Diehl for Governor in Massachusetts (likely)
  • Rayla Campbell for Secretary of State in Massachusetts
  • Lee Zeldin for Governor in New York
  • Doug Mastriano for Governor in Pennsylvania
  • Dan Cox for Governor in Maryland
  • Michael Peroutka for Secretary of State in Maryland
  • Alan Wilson for Secretary of State in South Carolina (Incumbent)
  • Wes Allen for Secretary of State in Alabama
  • Bill Lee for Governor in Tennessee (Incumbent)
  • Greg Abbot for Governor in Texas (Incumbent)
  • Ken Paxton for Attorney General in Texas (Incumbent)
  • Ron DeSantis for Governor in Florida (Incumbent)
  • Ashley Moody for Secretary of State in Florida (Incumbent)
  • Tudor Dixon for Governor in Michigan
  • Matthew DePerno for Attorney General in Michigan
  • Kristina Karamo for Secretary of State in Michigan
  • Diego Morales for Secretary of State in Indiana
  • Tim Michels for Governor in Wisconsin
  • Eric Toney for Attorney General in Wisconsin
  • Amy Loudenbeck for Secretary of State in Wisconsin
  • Kim Crockett for Secretary of State in Minnesota
  • Audrey Trujillio for Secretary of State in New Mexico
  • Jim Marchant for Secretary of State in Nevada
  • Mark Finchem for Secretary of State in Arizona
  • Kari Lake for Governor in Arizona

This list is far from comprehensive, and of course it does not include the massive numbers of GOP legislative candidates who deny that the 2020 election was fair – even in many cases when they were themselves elected to office!

These election deniers have all stated that the 2020 election was stolen and that, if elected to office, they will not let it happen again. But given that the 2020 election WAS fair, what they really mean is that, if elected, they will not certify any election unless their candidate wins. So, if they are in power their preferred candidates will be declared the winners in future elections despite the true will of the people.

In other words, if they are are given power, there will no longer be fair elections ever again in those states. The staggering number of GOP candidates who potentially could be given this power will collectively control enough states to dominate all future national elections. This year is our one and only chance to stop the Republicans from stealing democracy. The 2022 vote will determine if the United States remains a democracy or becomes an authoritarian theocracy.

Our entire future depends on the 2022 election. If the GOP gains control of enough state governments, we will never have free elections again. We must do EVERYTHING we can to elect Democrats.

How to Save our Democracy

Millions of people will have their rights taken away permanently if the GOP gains control. People MUST stand up. They MUST vote.

The MAGA dominated GOP has no use for Democracy as an institution. As detailed here and here, they fully intend to finish imposing a theocratic autocracy on the United States. We have only a short time remaining to save this country as a Democratic nation based on the rule of law.

The GOP is making no attempt to hide its plan nor its contempt for us, the citizens. Moves are already underway in many states to make abortion (including, in some cases, all past abortions) a crime, to eliminate gay marriage, criminalize LGBTQ behavior, outlaw contraception, and many more. If the GOP gets its way, they will enact laws to make these bans nationwide. And its very clear that the GOP-based Supreme Court will cheer them on and rubber stamp the elimination of any freedom not expressly documented in a Constitution written by slave-holding white plantation owners 200+ years ago.

There is only one opportunity to stop this from occurring. Democrats, Independents, and anyone from any party who believes in freedom MUST organize, turn out, and VOTE in 2022 against the GOP at every level, local, state, and Federal.

While is true that there are some Republicans who still believe in the rule of law, unfortunately they have become a minority in their party, and have no power. Instead, power is in the hands of the MAGA extremists who still spout the Trump lies and have no intent of ever giving up power if they achieve majority status in Congress. Indeed, in many states where they do wield power, they have so completely stacked the deck via gerrymandering that even when their party gets less votes they still retain power in the legislature. This is what autocratic minority rule looks like. The more power they obtain in the next election, the fewer free elections will ever occur in this country again.

The GOP knows that a majority of Americans does not agree with their agenda, but they are hoping that voters aren’t paying attention to what they are really doing. Their plan is that with gas prices up, inflation on the rise, and the stock market in free fall, Americans will blame the President and vote against the Democrats. This cannot happen. People must look beyond the day-to-day and see the big picture. Their very rights are at stake.

Millions of people will have their rights taken away permanently if the GOP gains control. People MUST stand up. They MUST vote.

  • If you believe in the rights of women – you MUST vote.
  • If you believe in the right to love anyone you choose – you MUST vote.
  • If you believe in the right to use contraception – you MUST vote.
  • If you believe in the right to worship as you wish – you MUST vote.
  • If you believe in the right to marry anyone of any race, creed, or gender – you MUST vote.
  • If you believe in the right of all citizens to vote – you MUST vote.
  • If you believe in the right to be free from senseless gun violence – you MUST vote.
  • If you believe in America – you MUST vote.

We ARE the true majority in this country. TOGTHER we can all protect our freedoms. Together we can defeat the MAGA-controlled GOP.

GOP Coup V2 is Coming

Donald Trump, even with his narcissistic and self destructive personality, almost succeeded in coup attempt version 1.

Donald Trump has done the GOP a great service. Although his coup attempt failed to take control of the government, it provided the GOP with enough of a roadmap that they have worked out a plan for the next presidential election that will have a much greater chance of success. This plan no longer requires the leadership of Donald Trump, and in truth much of the GOP leadership will be happy if the January 6 committee tarnishes him beyond redemption (or better yet, sets him up for prison).

Make no mistake, Donald Trump, even with his narcissistic and self destructive personality, almost succeeded in coup attempt version 1. Think of what would have happened if the January 6 mob had caught Mike Pence or any member of congressional leadership. They would have killed him/them (maybe on live TV), thereby preventing the transfer of power from taking place as defined in the Constitution. In the ensuing turmoil, Trump would have invoked the insurrection act, retained power, and nullified the election entirely. It would have soon ended up at the Supreme Court, but with no Vice President, the Originalists may very well have decided that there was no legal way to transition to a new President, leaving Trump in control. Who knows what would have happened next – possibly true Civil War as the 81 million people who had been disenfranchised fought the 74 million people who voted for Trump.

The January 6 mob violence attempt was the only option left to Trump to retain power after all other potential coup options had been closed off. But the Trump administration identified many other options and the rest of the GOP took notes. The alternative that could have worked was to have the House of Representatives decide the contested election based on the Contingent Election process in which each state receives one vote. Because the GOP controls many more states in Congress, this would have given them a victory.

Version 2 of the coup will be much more thoroughly planned and will be executed much more deftly. The key is at the state level. In 2020, the Trump administration attempted to coerce multiple state Governors, Secretaries of State, and Legislative bodies to officially endorse alternative slates of Electors in states that were won by Joe Biden. Not a single state did. Although some state GOP parties endorsed alternative Electors, they were so obviously without any legal basis and therefore easily dismissed.

The GOP intends that 2024 will be different. The huge numbers of Ultra-MAGA election deniers already in place and those running for office in 2022 all have one goal in mind. They KNOW that the 2020 election was a fair fight, and they are not willing to not let that happen again. There are multiple elements in this plan:

  • Increase the difficulty of early and absentee voting.
  • Suppress the votes of those in minority groups and the young.
  • Control the voting process so that many votes from the above groups can be disallowed.
  • If needed, override the will of the people by declaring the results invalid.

Through the use of some or all these techniques, GOP officials intend to subvert election results in their states. In their best case scenario, they suppress/disallow enough votes so the the GOP candidate becomes the winner. But if that doesn’t work, the next best option is to declare that the result is in doubt and select an official alternate slate of Electors to send to Congress. If they succeed in doing so in most or all of the key battleground states in 2022, then their path to victory in 2024 is clear.

So here’s how version 2 of the coup works:

  1. Gain enough seats in Congress (and ideally the Senate) to win control.
  2. Gain control of battleground state offices.
  3. Using that control, suppress/disallow votes.
  4. If needed, sow doubt to justify selection of alternate slates of Electors.
  5. When votes are counted, use the doubts to object to the process, and throw the vote to the House.
  6. On the basis of one state, one vote, elect the GOP candidate as the next President.

The GOP leadership sees Donald Trump is a useful fool. The more he rants about the “stolen” 2020 election, the more he riles up the base, and the more cover he provides for the MAGA election deniers. They all (including Trump) know that its a Big Lie, but as long as they don’t admit it, their dupes (i.e. voters) will a) send Trump money, and b) vote for their authoritarian agenda. By no means do they want Trump to run for office again. They know he is completely unelectable. But as a martyr, self-proclaimed or for real, he is helping them achieve their goals. It would work out perfectly for them if, after the 2022 elections, he is convicted for one of the many crimes he committed while in office.

With Trump out, the GOP frontrunner for President in 2024 is clearly Ron DeSantis. DeSantis incorporates Trump’s base-provoking white nationalist instincts and authoritarian tendencies with the smarts of a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School. He is a very dangerous man, because while he is every bit as amoral and evil as Donald Trump, unlike Trump he has proven over and over that he can and will accomplish his goals. Under DeSantis and the GOP, the United States will be transformed into an authoritarian white Christian theocracy with a bleak future.

Can the Democrats prevent the GOP MAGA DeSantis administration from becoming a reality? Yes, but it won’t be easy. That will be the subject of my next post.

The Right’s Brilliant Master Plan

The pieces are all in place for the GOP to gain complete control of the US government over the next few years.

The Right has a brilliant master plan to take control of the United States in ways that reach far beyond anything before. The plan is composed of multiple interlocking elements that all work together to create a complete and seemingly unstoppable juggernaut. The plan is composed of the following key elements:

  1. Generate fear and hatred among lightly educated and poorly informed white people. There are many potential objects of fear: immigrants, muslims, blacks, Jews, hispanics, LBGTQ types, intellectuals, liberals, environmentalists, uppity women, socialists, hollywood elites, etc. The Great Replacement Theory that is so popular on Fox News wraps this all up in one tidy sentence. The beauty is that there are so many options and potential targets for your fear and hatred. You can even profess love for a few of the groups and still hate the others.
  2. Maximize the number of people who have guns, the power of those guns, and the lethality of those guns. Fear also plays a critical role here.
  3. Wrap the entire package in a quasi-religious set of eighteenth-century rights that have the effect of greatly reducing the chances that you or your children will be exposed to new and different (e.g. dangerous) ideas.
  4. Build a culture of lies so as to remove the dangerous viability of truth in any discussion. Call Fake News on those who speak truth. While Donald Trump is the absolute master of this element, there are many others who practice it with no shame or apologies.
  5. Promote autocratic leaders and countries as ideals to be envied and emulated. This eases the transition to their own planned autocratic form of government.
  6. Give the rich what they want – more money via little to no taxation, and the ability to protect themselves (see #2), so they will continue to fund all the other items even if they may not be fully onboard with the package.

Taken together, these policies have succeeded in created three archtypes of right wing converts:

  1. The mainstream Republican: This group, which constitutes 1/3 or more of American adults, is mostly onboard with the GOP agenda. They will vote Republican and if they have money and influence, will use it willingly. They tell themselves that they aren’t racists, but deep down, most of them are.
  2. The radical MAGA Right: This group, which before Trump was no more than a few percent of Americans, is now 10% or more and growing. What’s worse, many of these people have been elected to political office and many more are currently running to do so. This group has fully bought into the entire GOP agenda, and they are so radicalized that they don’t believe in the true exercise of democratic rights. They use the Great Lie that the 2020 election was stolen as the means to set themselves up to steal future elections. They believe in suppressing the vote, and if necessary, changing votes. They believe in storming the halls of government, kidnapping elected officials, stopping vote counts, etc.
  3. The MAGA Terrorists: This group is small but growing every day. They have lost all sense of reality, and are so radicalized by hate and fear that they will kill for their cause. Every time one of them commits mass murder in the name of the GOP, more are radicalized to this concept and the cycle repeats. The existence of this group is not an unintended consequence, rather the pinnacle of the GOP plan. The terror it creates is useful to the GOP in creating ever more fear. Today it is undirected and random. Soon, they will explicitly direct it.

The pieces are all in place for the GOP to gain complete control of the US government over the next few years. They are already in the process of destroying voting rights at the state level. The right to an abortion is about to disappear. Making abortions illegal will follow. LBGTQ rights will also be eliminated. By controlling the Supreme Court, they will continue to eliminate rights of those who oppose them, and put more guns in the hands of more zealots. By controlling elections, and increasing domestic terrorism, they will consolidate power to eliminate democracy in all but name. Then will come the next wave of repressive laws: rolling back the rights of women, LBGTQ, blacks, non-Christians, etc.

Although Donald Trump played a major role in bringing this plan to life, it is now much bigger than him. The next generation leaders of this GOP takeover are already in place: in right-wing news, Governorships, Congress, the Senate, and in every state legislature. This group needs Trump, but they realize that he’s too narcssisitic and dumb to play more than a cheerleader’s role. The next generation of committed, ruthless and smart GOP leaders are jockeying on all fronts to take control. Make no mistake that they are ready and waiting to take total and complete power. Their goal is to create a Christian dictatorship in which they control every act, and if possible, every thought of the powerless masses.

The GOP plan, evil as it is, can be stopped. It will take the courage of Democrats, political independents, and those Republicans who still believe in democracy. Voters must not be deceived into thinking this election is about mundane issues such as inflation or vaccines. This election is about freedom. If you believe in democracy, there will only be one chance to save it. Make your voice heard. Organize. Speak up. Protest. Most importantly, VOTE in 2022. Vote against the GOP and all it stands for.

From Evil Empire to Desired Goal

America’s right has completely switched sides in the fight between democracy and autocracy

In 1983 Ronald Reagan accurately condemned the Soviet Union as an evil empire. Since its beginnings in 1917, the Soviet Union had worked continuously to undermine western democracies and promote its totalitarian vision. Eventually the Soviet Union fell, to be superseded by modern Russia. For a time it appeared that Russia might become a successful western-style democracy, but it is now clear that, under Vladimir Putin, Russia has reverted back to its historically autocratic roots. Putin is a totalitarian autocrat who imprisons or kills his enemies and has complete control of Russia. Long before this latest act of war, Russia has been an evil actor on the world stage.

While Russia’s return to its past ways is unfortunately not a surprise, what is a surprise is that America’s right has completely switched sides in the fight between democracy and autocracy. Republicans routinely praise Vladimir Putin and condemn or belittle Ukrainians and their leadership. The number of GOP players that support Russia over Ukraine is virtually a who’s who of today’s conservatives:

  • Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump, Jr.
  • Mike Pompeo
  • Steve Bannon
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene
  • Madison Cawthorn
  • Tucker Carlson
  • Peter Navarro
  • Matt Gaetz
  • Laura Ingraham
  • Mike Flynn

In fact Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson are so unabashedly pro-Russia that they are routinely featured on Russia’s propaganda-based state TV. In a stunning and unprecedented repudiation of the GOP of 40 years ago, there is no question that the core of today’s GOP supports Russia, a totalitarian, evil empire.

Why? This would not be happening if there was no logical reason. The reason is unfortunately very obvious. The GOP praises Putin because they want the United States to be like Russia. Russian autocracy is the desired goal and Putin is the ideal leader. They no longer believe in the principles under which this country was founded over 200 years ago. They no longer believe in a democracy in which all men and women are created equal. They no longer believe that people of all races, religions, colors, genders, and gender preferences should all have the same rights under the law. And most importantly they no longer believe in free and fair elections.

They want a country in which a privileged few have power and wealth. They want a country in which only the “right” people get to make decisions. They want a country in which anyone who doesn’t follow the conservative Christian theology does not get to participate.

We cannot let people who no longer believe in democracy use it to take more power. In states where the GOP has control, democracy is being destroyed and rights are being eliminated. They have used the power of democracy to impose autocratic laws that ensure their continued power no matter the results of elections. If the GOP gains control of either the House or the Senate, they will impose such laws at the national level, and our democracy will become history. A vote for the GOP is a vote to turn the US into Russia.

Putin the Terrible

Putin believes that Nato is weak and getting weaker. And he has a plan. His plan is predicated on two huge advantages he believes he has over the West.

Ivan the Terrible was crowned the first Tsar of Russia in 1547. Since that time, Russia has a history of autocratic rulers stretching back nearly 500 years. Russia was itself constructed over hundreds of years by Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and the other tsars and via conquest and domination. Throughout the period of the tsars, cruelty and suffering dominated the lives of ordinary people, who, as serfs, had virtually no freedom and no rights. The Tsars were absolute monarchs, and the people were taught to both fear and love them and expect that life would never change. The Tsar and his extended family enjoyed immense wealth and privilege, living in palaces.

The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 destroyed the power of the Romanovs and the nobility, but Lenin and Stalin imposed their own hellish cruelty on the Russian people. Soviet Communism was founded on the concept that the State – in the form of the self-appointed Soviet leadership – was all-important, and that individuals were nothing. The empire of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) seized more foreign lands, resulting in a patchwork country of many different ethnic groups and fifteen officially recognized languages. No part of the USSR suffered more than Ukraine under the communists. Stalin imposed the Holodomor famine, which resulted in the mass starvation of 3-5 million Ukrainians in the early 1930s.

The Soviet state was led by absolute rulers who cared nothing for the rights of individuals. The new Tsars now ruled the entire apparatus of the State, exercising complete control of the people through the “Committee for State Security” – the KGB. Even more than the world of the Romanovs, it was a world in which power was control. There was no right or wrong, no moral belief in humanity, the only thing that mattered was strength. Those who had power imposed their will upon those who did not. Among those who learned how to thrive in that environment was a KGB agent named Vladimir Putin.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the previously conquered “Republics” split away from Russia to become independent countries. But creating new nations from scratch is not easy. The new republics, including Russia, struggled with freedom, with capitalism, and with democracy. Russia started to grow democratic institutions, but it sank into deep economic depression, corruption, and the embarrassment of the Presidency of Boris Yeltsin. With the loss of public support, Yeltsin handed power to a relative newcomer, Vladimir Putin. Almost immediately, with the help of a rise in worldwide oil prices, Russia’s economy improved, and Putin’s popularity improved. Putin quickly consolidated power, and started dismantling the elements of democracy – a free press, fair elections, and an open economy. He gathered immense power and wealth by placing himself above the law – basically a modern-day Tsar. He has altered the Russian constitution to allow him to rule as long as he likes. He stands today as the single most powerful person on earth, and as probably the richest.

So what more could he want? In a word – plenty. He wants to be adored as the man who re-created the old Russian/Soviet Empire. To do so, he must control those former “republics” who have successfully broken away from the Soviet authoritarian model and now function as viable western democracies. He has already succeeded in the Caucasus. Ukraine is the current target. Because Putin disdains the lives of both the Russian and Ukrainian people, he will not stop until he has destroyed the Ukrainian will to fight – no matter the cost.

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are in the next round. The fact that they are in Nato doesn’t scare him. Putin believes that Nato is weak and getting weaker. And he has a plan. His plan is predicated on two huge advantages he believes he has over the West.

One advantage is that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are working to overthrow US democracy, and withdraw the US from participation in Nato. This is one of the keys to his success. His extensive state-sponsored mis-information campaign with the willing support of Fox News and others, along with his effective use of social networks with the unwitting support of Facebook and others are all dedicated to this long-term goal.

The other key is that, unlike the West, he is willing to accept a limited nuclear war in which a few million people die on each side. He believes such a war will result in the west capitulating on his terms before reaching the point of the Mutually Assured Destruction that would be World War 3. In a world in which power is all that counts, Putin believes he has the will to win.

Think back in time to 1938. A power-mad dictator was ruling Germany. He wanted Czechoslovakia. The world had a chance to stand up to him. It would have taken courage and sacrifice but it could have been done with little to no loss of life. Instead, too many people supported appeasement, the world blinked, and Hitler was emboldened to start down the road to World War 2.

We are now at a similar crossroads. The western world must have courage to make some (modest) sacrifices to stop Putin now. Those who directly support Putin, like Donald Trump, and those who support appeasing him (much of the GOP), must never gain power again. We must send all possible military aid to Ukraine short of troops. And we must apply every means possible to bring Russia to economic ruin before it can destroy Ukraine.

They are Coming for You

What we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

These words were spoken by a a German Lutheran Minister who was imprisoned by the Nazis in the 1930s.

As the Fascist-leaning Christian White Nationalist Republicans continue in their quest to control American society as a minority party, these words are relevant today like never before.

  • If you are African-American or believe that Black lives matter as much as any other lives – They are coming for you.
  • If you are Hispanic – They are coming for you.
  • If you are an immigrant from a non-Aryan (i.e. “shithole”) country – They are coming for you.
  • If you are Jewish or Muslim – They are coming for you.
  • If you practice any religion other than a Christian fundamentalist version – They are coming for you.
  • If you practice no religion at all – They are coming for you.
  • If you believe that all citizens should be able to vote without interference – They are coming for you.
  • If you are registered as a Democrat or are known to have Democratic sympathies – They are coming for you.
  • If you consider yourself LGBTQ+ – They are coming for you.
  • If you support the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to live their lives without discrimination – They are coming for you.
  • If you believe that climate change is an existential threat – They are coming for you.
  • If you believe that all humans have unalienable rights – They are coming for you.
  • If you believe Corporations and billionaires should pay their fair share of taxes – They are coming for you.
  • If you believe in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.) – They are coming for you.
  • If you believe that women have the same rights as men – They are coming for you.
  • If you believe in following the lead of Science in masking and vaccinating to reduce the deadly Covid pandemic – They are coming for you.
  • If you believe in the right of women to control their own bodies – They are coming for you.
  • If you have ever had an abortion – They are coming for you.

In short, their vision is that this country will be controlled by a White Christian Nationalist minority that will have near-total control over the government and will rewrite our laws in such a way that others will have virtually no rights. It will be as if a Christian Taliban were to take control of the United States. Do all Republicans think like this? Of course not. But do those who think like this control the soul of the Republican Party? Unfortunately, yes they do.

The Republican Party has succeeded in installing the last three members of the Supreme Court (and five of the last seven), turning it into an an anti-voting rights, anti-citizen body that has already overseen the removal of many of our rights and is in the process of removing more of them. This gives then control of the powerful Judicial branch of our government.

Over the past few years, Republican led states have taken away rights from Americans. They’ve stripped voting rights, restricted the rights of local governments to enact laws related to gender equity, climate change, public safety, gun control, and education. What we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.

Now that are furiously trying to take away voting rights from as many people as possible, counting on “their people” to be the only ones who show up. They know they can’t win the majority of votes from all voters, so they control who can vote and therefore control the result. In case that isn’t enough, they are now putting biased mini-Trumps in control of elections so that they can directly manipulate the results after the fact.

And if the result of all this gives Republicans control of the Legislative branch, they will increase their assault on our freedoms and put themselves in positions of permanent power. If you believe in freedom in all its forms, you MUST register and you MUST vote for Democrats and against Republicans. We must preserve our freedoms in every way legally possible. The alternative is that we lose it all.