A “banana republic”… if you can keep it
“Well, Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”
The question was directed at Dr. Benjamin Franklin in 1787 as the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia was winding down.
The questioner was Elizabeth Powel, a prominent society figure and wife of Philadelphia mayor Samuel Powel.
According to James McHenry, a Maryland delegate at the Convention, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”1
And here we are today, 233 years later, watching the country not “keep it.”
As a nation we have entered the endgame of public credibility in the American voting and election process. It. Is. Over.
Whatever else happens in the weeks and months ahead, we are now, well-and-truly, the Banana Republic of the United States. Just without the bananas.
The vibration you feel is Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, spinning in his grave.
Let’s dig in…
The other day, my colleague Jim Amrhein gave you his “morning after” thoughts on the election.
Four days later, my thinking is that what just happened — what is still happening — is a political disgrace and national calamity of global, strategic proportions.
We’re witnessing the opening phase of a political, legal and media dogfight over vote-rigging in a number of cities. In essence, a series of local frauds have cumulatively distorted the outcome of a presidential election.2
It’s sad to have to say this, but perhaps it’s already too late. Vote counting is nearly complete.
The election is being presented as “over.” It’s yesterday’s news. Media are about to make a full court press that President Trump “lost” and has to give it all up. That’s the message.
Another way to frame it, however, is that the Big Fix has run its course.
Now, the Deep State will get President Trump out! That has been the goal for four years in any case.
Apparently, the gears of deceit are firmly locked into a transition of power next January. Perhaps we’re destined to have a “President Biden” — until of course we have a “President Harris.”
In that sense, what is about to unfold over the next six or eight weeks is mere public spectacle… bread and circuses in the manner of high-visibility litigation and lawfare yet-to-come.
But it’s an awful way to run a country, let alone a superpower.
And of course, the United States is an economic and military superpower. The dollar is (for now) the world’s reserve currency. The country’s missiles, submarines and nuclear weapons speak for themselves.
To be sure, there are endless ways, great and small, in which the U.S. exerts influence across the world.
But the most visible aspect of American national leadership — indeed, the center of gravity of the country’s governance — is embodied in our president, subject to a four-year presidential election cycle.
American politics in general is a contact sport. A blood-sport even. But electing a U.S. president is a matter that rises — or “ought” to rise — to a higher level.
Electing a president is not some Sunday golf match in which, per an old saying, the score card just says “how many,” not “how.”
That is, American politics can be a dirty game; far seedier than you might think. The system routinely fudges when it comes to elections to local and state offices, and even an occasional congressman or senator.
One might say that shady politics is not a bug of America, but a feature.
Still, however, it actually matters “how” we elect the U.S. President…
The president is both head of state and head of government. The office combines the role of both “king” and “prime minister,” which is what we see in many other countries (especially those with British political DNA).
And per the U.S. Constitution, the office of president is repository of “the executive power” of the United States, which is vast.3
Meanwhile, to the rest of the world, the U.S. president speaks for America. And “how” a president gets into office is important.
Appearances matter, and in this sense the fundamental integrity of a presidential election is vital.
More specifically, integrity of the process is absolutely a matter of national security. Because the guy who controls nuclear weapons, and much more, must walk — and be seen to walk — a straight pathway to get to that big desk in the Oval Office.
Right now, though, what’s going on in the country — indications of vote fraud from sea to sea — is beyond outrageous. It’s a death knell to the idea of Dr. Franklin’s “republic.”
And it’s not simply that President Trump “might have lost” the election, or that former Vice President Joe Biden “might have won.”
No, it’s way bigger than even that.
I said this train wreck would happen…
Over a month ago, I discussed how a hasty, jury-rigged course of action involving national-scale use of “mail-in” ballots would make a mess of the already rickety U.S. voting system.
I called it a “controlled demolition” of the process of American governance. And I was right.
Now, you can see what has happened in jurisdictions across the nation. Millions of mail-in ballots — many of dubious origin — have clogged the system in every state.
Out of this mess, we see and hear allegations of voter fraud of all shapes and manner, from “dead people” voting,4 to out-of-staters and non-citizens voting,5 plus so-called “ballot harvesting,” and just plain ballot-stuffing by the literal truckload.6
This has all been made possible by the panicked political response to the COVID pandemic — the idea that the nation had to hold a “safe” election, away from those dirty, pestilential, potentially lethal school gymnasiums, church basements and fire halls.
So the solution was to make it easy and convenient for people — everywhere! — to fill out a ballot at home and just mail it in.
Indeed, this kind of voting began back in September, and by Election Day something like 100 million mail-in ballots were in the bags and boxes, awaiting their fate.
Is this the new way in which the people speak?
Well, some might argue that mail-in balloting was/is part of a cynical, sinister ploy.
Think back over the course of the last year…
“Big Media” — the usual suspects of old-line news and broadcast conglomerates — were nearly wall-to-wall anti-Trump, running nary a favorable story about the guy. Per talking heads on CNN and MSNBC (and many others, of course…), you are “supposed” to hate the man and curse the day he was born.
Social media, too — the usual names — were anti-Trump. And don’t insult your own intelligence by denying it. You’d have to be living under a rock not to be aware of the Google-Facebook-Twitter-etc. bias against Trump, emanating from those ugly, modernist corporate suites in Silicon Valley and environs, where groupthink is dominated by the whims of petulant, egotistical, billionaire tech oligarchs.
Meanwhile, many so-called “pollsters” displayed their own deep biases, if not lack of competency and professionalism — if such terms can be applied to that kind of job. They cooked up massive, lopsided numbers that framed Trump as a president lacking popularity, who would lose in a “Blue Landslide,” or a “Blue Tsunami” or some such analogy.
The idea was to get people to vote while the campaign was still playing out.
But on the actual campaign trail, at his rallies for example, Trump filled entire airport runways with enthusiastic crowds numbering in the tens of thousands. (About 57,000 at the small Butler Regional Airport, north of Pittsburgh, just a week ago.7)
And on Election Day, Trump racked up over 68 million votes, exceeding his tally in 2016 by over 5 million.
Not exactly evidence of “unpopularity,” right?
And keep this in mind: win or lose with Trump, and whatever happened on Election Day, it was not a massive, national repudiation of either him or his policies.
As the votes came in, Trump won big in places where he was expected to win.
And Trump came in strong even in places he was “supposed” to lose, per pollsters. Indeed, for a time he was leading strongly in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia…
That brings us to the issue of many of those midnight mail-in ballots, which appeared from the deepest, darkest recesses of precincts across Democrat-controlled cities, counties and states.
Again, no surprises… Philadelphia, Detroit, Madison, Atlanta… Places where local officials, if not police officers, dutifully kept poll watchers away from the counting tables, while traditional shenanigans occurred out of sight. And it took a court order to permit them to watch, long after vote counting was in progress.8
It’s hard to watch the videos and read the accounts and not believe that cheating and fakery are evident.9
And it’s difficult not to cringe at the pious sanctimony from news media and political hacks, about how the electoral process is all above-board.10 It’s just so shamelessly in-your-face…
The vote rigging system in these big, poorly run cities is the stuff of legend.11 And now there’s the biggest prize of all… Tilting the tables during a national election for president.
Even worse, a large fraction of the country is apparently fine with what’s going on.
Although quite a few people are on to the con game as well.
But let’s get real here. Somebody is going to be president of the United States for the next four years.
With President Trump, he’s a known quantity. We get four years of Trump.
With Biden? We get an elderly man, clearly in declining physical and mental shape. Or stated another way, we get his handlers.
Beyond that, I’ll defer to my old pal Jim Kunstler:
What do you get with Joe Biden and the Democratic Party running the U.S. government? Official suppression of free speech and official management of the news? Official cancel culture? Official race hustling and gender identity struggle sessions in the federal agencies? Campaigns against ‘whiteness?’ Endless lockdowns and a new round of global misadventures in “nation building?”12
Obviously, we’re looking at two different approaches to personality and “sociology” from one administration or the other. Pick any issue…
But there are deep, strong constraints on U.S. governance that even a U.S. president can’t change.
These constraints are rooted in immutable factors that have been decades in the making. Things like globalization, financialization, deindustrialization, the decline of the general culture, the crash of the education complex. These, and many more.
Neither Trump nor Biden can possibly fix these things in four years. But the question is whether or not either one could possibly bend the arc in a better direction.
We had an election. The outcome was close, but the final result appears to have been swayed by national-scale fraud. It’s the worst result possible…
In October I wrote:
We’re witness to history unfolding, right in front of us… The country is rolling over a cliff into a crisis of governance. Yes, voting in America has a long history of evolving… but the current trend is crazy, to the point of self-destruction.
And here we are, moving into the back wall of a political hurricane.
Sad to say, the damage is done. There’s no turning away from this election mess, even after just a few calamitous days of political posturing and goat-roping.
Whoever “wins” in the end, either Trump or Biden, half of the country will think he stole the election. And that’s no mandate for anything.
Mark your calendars… The system melted down on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, Nov. 3 and 4, 2020. And whatever happens from here on out, there’s no fixing it.
As a nation — as people of a nation — we’ll pay for this 2020 election blunder for generations to come.
And on that note, I rest my case.
That’s all for now…Thank you for subscribing and reading.
Managing Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder
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