What if Trump Won’t
Leave The White House?
The fearmongers are at it again, this time with their
mantle-holder Biden, warning of the coming dictatorship.
By Peter Van Buren
July 02, 2020 "Information
Clearing House" -
I’ve got a list of
bookmarks as long as a CVS receipt declaring threats to
the republic and democracy and the arrival of
dictatorship. When I turn on cable news, the end of
America as we know it—the literal end, as in North
Korean-style lives for everyone—is a regular feature
alongside weather and sports (back when we had sports).
I’ve tried to make a career out of debunking that fear
mongering. But now I’m scared too.
Joe Biden has
his own fears. Biden (who despite appearances is the
Democratic candidate for president) said he is
“absolutely convinced” the military may have to remove
President Trump from the White House if he refuses to
leave after losing November’s election. Joe warned,
“This president is going to try to steal this election….
It’s my greatest concern.” Asked whether he’d thought
about what would happen if he wins but Trump decides not
to leave, Biden responded: “Yes I have.” After
mentioning the high-ranking former military officers who
spoke out about Trump’s response to Black Lives Matter
protests, he went on: “I’m absolutely convinced they
will escort him from the White House.”
Biden has been
It’s one thing when
muses about this for clicks, or an op-ed worries Trump
unleash a diversionary
war in some
Strangelovian bid to stay in office. Nearly everyone on
Autonomous Free Twitter knows the voting will be rigged.
wrote a book about it based on a fan fiction reading of
the 12th Amendment. Democrats have also
“concerns” that Trump might use the coronavirus crisis
to delay or delegitimize the election.
But this is Joe Biden
saying Trump will attempt some sort of unconstitutional
coup. Joe Biden, who was vice president twice. Joe
Biden, Lion of the Senate, and for several centuries the
gray representative of the credit card industry. Joe
Biden, who is not stupid, naive, or dramatic. Joe Biden,
who is, however, just a pawn in the game. They’re
setting it up, aren’t they?
The New York Times,
as is its role, has already fired several signal flares.
Trump as a cornered despot, capable of anything to avoid
losing. In another article, the
“Trump Sows Doubt on Voting. It Keeps Some People Up at
Night,” which quotes a Georgetown University law
professor saying that “reactions have gone from, ‘Don’t
be silly, that won’t happen,’ to an increasing sense of,
‘You know, that could happen.’”
The professor even
convened a group to brainstorm how Trump might disrupt
the election and think about ways to prevent it. They
speculated that Trump could declare a state of
emergency, maybe COVID-related, banning polling places
in battleground states from opening. Or Attorney General
Barr could Comey-like announce a criminal investigation
The online comment
responses to the Times articles are amazing.
People are ready for this. They are convinced Trump is
defunding the post office so no one can mail in absentee
ballots (the left imagines they’ll all be for Biden),
and that Trump is sending out coded signals to his
militias to take to the streets if it looks like he is
losing. More than a few claim that what happens in
November “will depend on where the military’s loyalty
lies.” Many think the Supreme Court is a tool in all
this, with Kavanaugh a lickspittle linchpin to enable
the November coup through some sort of judicial
invalidation of the election.
That Americans think
this way is scary enough. But here’s my nightmare. After
a long October of rumors from sources about some
surprise (war with Iran, martial law in Seattle) fails
to produce a surge in Never Trump voters, the media
pivots to the cheating narrative. Trump is doing
something with mail-in ballots, black people can’t get
to the polls in Georgia, the attorney general in
Kentucky will undercount urban areas. The media will
explode like a ripe zit, splattering fake news,
exaggerations, and experts, all with a single point to
make: the results on Election Day will not be valid if
Trump wins. Academics will fan the flames, bleating on
about the importance of the popular vote and rehashing
old arguments from 2016 about
the invalidity of the
All will be
forgotten faster than Robert-What’s-His-Name-Mueller
if Biden wins. But if by pre-2016 standards Trump is
the winner, boom! The media will refuse to concede.
The Dems will issue strident local court challenges,
demands for recounts, and emergency hearings in the
House. They will want not a conclusion, but a
Trump will fulfill his
role as his own worst enemy and hold rallies to
re-declare victory over and over again. But the story
everywhere else will be that he isn’t the
president-elect, that the election was not legitimate,
and that orange bad man’s presence in the White House
after January 20 will be a Konstitutional Krisis.
Privately the Democratic power brokers will whisper to
their wealthy funders that something remarkably
undemocratic has to be done to save our democracy.
What happens next is
beyond guessing. A best case scenario is that some old
school party graybeards get through to an exhausted and
befuddled Biden and talk him out of it. A bad scenario
has Obama emerging under the guise of being a neutral
party to negotiate a (Democratic Party) conclusion. A
very bad scenario has the same third-party actors who
whipped Black Lives Matter protesters into a looting mob
repeat the performance. By that point, nearly everyone
will demand that the military step in, albeit for
different reasons. A very, very bad scenario will have a
real-world event intervene, like an enemy abroad taking
advantage of the chaos. The need to act expeditiously
will slip a “temporary” military government into place
faster than CNN can play the breaking news music.
material, right? But consider whether you thought Trump
was a Russian sleeper agent before you call me paranoid.
Since 2016, learned scholars have tested legal theories
saying the Electoral College was invalid and created a
based on the national popular vote.
The idea that the election was invalid due to foreign
influence still sullies discussion today. One political
even continues to place an asterisk next to “President
Trump*” to denote his questionable claim to the title.
For nearly four years,
the same forces that may declare 2020 invalid tried very
hard to convince us 2016 already was. There are plenty
of Hillary people (including Hillary) who have not
accepted 2016. Has Stacey Abrams really accepted her
defeat yet? Think back to everything that happened
during the last election, the
by Comey and the FBI to influence results. Remember how
the intelligence community manipulated Russiagate. Why
wait for November 2020 to have a coup? We’ve been in
what Matt Taibbi calls a
for years. They’ve been practicing.
Any of the those
things would have been considered crazy talk only a few
years ago. None would have ever passed into the
mainstream. Compare Russiagate to the Great Obama Birth
Certificate kerfuffle. The idea that Obama was
ineligible for office festered on right-wing talk radio.
It was dismissed as fact-less by just about everyone
else. Fast forward to 2016+ and America’s paper of
record is happy to front a story claiming the president
is subject to a foreign enemy’s blackmail based on
nothing but desperate hope that it might be true.
The critical tool for
the ending of democracy is people’s conditioned
readiness to believe almost anything. The media tells
the world what’s important using a very narrow range of
truth, or just makes things up if truth is not around to
neck-deep in cynicism, decline, and distrust. And
scared. There are no facts anymore, only what people can
be made to believe. That power was not well understood
in 2016 and was clumsily applied. Today it is ripe for
exploitation, far beyond generating clicks and ad
revenue. I don’t think Trump will try to stay in office
if he loses. But there are people who will tell us that
to manipulate our fears and steal this election. That’s
why I am finally scared.
Peter Van Buren, a
24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We
Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts
and Minds of the Iraqi People,Hooper’s
War: A Novel of WWII Japan,
of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent.
views expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of Information Clearing House.
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