Opinion: “Are you Ready for Civil War?” Donald Trump, supporters keep fighting defeat as nation moves pass Dec. 14 Electoral College vote.

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Flags associated with right-wing groups wave during “9-12 March in DC-19” by Andrew Aliferis.

Erwin Lopez Rada, Writer

Q[Anon] followers frequenting far-right forums depict themselves as a crusade comparable to George Washington’s Continental Army. Means adopted to ensure that President Donald Trump remains in the White House are viewed as the modern-day equivalent to crossing the Delaware River to crush the Hessians at Trenton. According to some subscribers, such desperate measures remain necessary to save the United States from its domestic enemies.

As one commenter on David Hayes’ website writes: “Ultimately, it does not matter by what means Trump is re-elected (including military intervention). It only matters that he is. Again, if he isn’t, then the USA is done”

What they seem to not understand is that the Republic subsists as long as democratic elections settle policy issues and ideological differences.

As the rest of the country prepares to move beyond the 2020 presidential elections, Trump and his allies continue exploring scenarios to obstruct President-elect Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration Jan. 20. However, certification of the Electoral College vote and failed legal efforts at the local, state and federal levels have essentially closed the remaining avenues for the Trump Administration to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The news of the uneventful Electoral College vote on Dec. 14 prompted key Republicans to publicly endorse the election results, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulating President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on the Senate floor, a de facto acknowledgment of their victory, but also originated repudiation and legal actions from extreme conservative groups and loyalists that still support Trump’s narrative that somehow the election was stolen for Biden.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and lawyer Jenna Ellis remain dedicated in their pursuit to persuade U.S.courts and officials to disqualify the results due to alleged widespread voter fraud in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Nevada. According to Giuliani and Ellis, widespread voter fraud supervised by and beneficial to the Democrats tainted the 2020 general election, though they’ve failed to produce evidence of any significant misdeed.

Such attacks on the integrity of the results of the presidential election operate in contrast with the official position adopted by the U.S. State Department regarding efforts to utilize the courts to legally change the results of the general elections, as evidenced by a March 20 report produced by Mike Pompeo’s State Department report on Venezuela’s political crisis: “[Venezuelan Attorney General ]Luisa Ortega, formerly a Maduro government insider, began dissenting from the administration in March after the TSJ (Venezuelan Supreme Court) took formal measures to usurp the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s powers. She publicly described the TSJ’s decision as a ‘rupture of the constitutional order,’” stated the official report.

The irony of the Trump Administration’s effort to retain power–and subsequently, undermine democratic processes–lay in historical precedent. Following then-presidential nominee Richard Nixon’s loss to John F. Kennedy in a tight 1960 presidential election (despite winning the electoral college by a count of 303 to 219, Kennedy won the popular vote by a razor-thin margin of 119,450), Republican, including journalist Earl Mazo, hoped to delegitimize Kennedy’s victory by alleging voter fraud. Fast forward to 2020 and Trump allies are reintroducing the same strategy in an attempt to undermine Biden’s impending presidency, as evidenced by a Dec. 9 NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll which indicated that only 1 in 4 Republican voters accept the validity of the 2020 presidential election.

Although the Electoral College certification concluded undisturbed, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oathkeepers, a far-right extremist group categorized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-government militia for its attempts to combat what it defines as a communist-led “New World Order,” expressed support for Trump’s attempts to overturn the election. In a Dec. 15 open letter published on the Oathkeeper’s website and addressed to President Trump, Rhodes–who once served as a U.S. army paratrooper–suggested that President Trump enlist all “able-bodied” Americans willing to engage in violence on Trump’s behalf.

 

“Call up all able-bodied Americans between the ages of 17-45 who are still loyal to the Constitution to likewise report for duty, bearing their own arms” to ‘keep peace,’ suppress riots and armed insurrections by ‘leftist terrorists,’ wrote Rhodes.
David Hayes, one of the most visible disseminators of the QAnon conspiracy theory, dedicated the past few weeks dissecting the remaining avenues available to President Trump in his effort to subvert the presidential elections. According to Hayes, Congress can refuse to acknowledge the Electoral College tally, forcing the House of Representatives to decide the next president using dispositions embedded in the 1887 Electoral Count Act. However, contesting state-endorsed slates of electors when Congress reconvenes on Jan. 5 is considered a longshot by most experts, considering down-ballot implications that would negate Republicans gains in the house of Representatives and Trump’s failure to alter the election results in the courts.

Hayes also argued that the alleged “steal” exercised by the Democrats amounts to insurrection. According to Hayes, McConnell and Attorney General William Barr’s acceptance of Biden’s position of president-elect affirmed the Republican Party’s willingness to collude with the so-called “deep state.”
“If Trump believes that the [Department of Justice] can’t be relied on to bring the deep state to justice, would he assign that task to the military?” wrote Hates. “Except in rare cases, civilians can’t be tried by military commission. If the president believed that the future of the nation was at stake, he could declare martial law.”

Entertaining the idea of imposing martial law implies that, as commander-in-chief, Trump can deploy the U.S. military to effectively end civilian rule of law.

Dr. William Adler, faculty at the School of Political Sciences at NEIU, explained to the Independent that any military intervention to keep Trump in power appears implausible.

“The military will not support an attempt at a coup to keep Trump in power no matter what the leadership structures is” said Adler, alluding to the recent leadership changes made by the Trump administration at the Pentagon. Adler also believes that calls from allies and groups of extremist coalitions to employ the Insurrection Act to halt Biden’s transition into the Oval Office will fall on deaf ears.
Instead, Adler believes that the Congress can invoke the 1887 Electoral Count Act ahead of Inauguration Day to manufacture a “messy process that casts doubt on the legitimacy of our electoral process.” However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a staunch Trump ally, cautioned fellow Senate Republicans against challenging the Electoral College vote as a group of GOP House representatives organized to dispute the results once Congress resumes activities on Jan.6.

Dr. Adler also mentioned the possibility of right-wing militias attacking peaceful demonstrations, a recurring conflict throughout Trump’s four years in office. Political commentators fear escalation of right-wing militancy will result in attacks against President-elect Biden and/or other politicians that they may consider targets. Consider the foiled plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as an example of the actions that these paramilitary groups are already taking to challenge the government.

Still, the confidence in the electoral safeguards, the rigidity of republican traditions and respect for American institutions have thus prevailed this election season. The challenges presented before the courts by Trump’s legal team remain as leaky as Giuliani’s sweating hair dye. Along the same lines, neither the Department of Justice nor the Department of Homeland Security found evidence suggesting voter fraud, a position that Republican election officials had categorically validated across the country.

Even in Republican state legislatures, where Trump also attempted at longshot legal procedures to invalidate the popular vote, Republican officials who once campaigned on Trump’s behalf decided to part ways with the President in his quest to destroy American institutions. Speaker of Michigan House of Representative Lee Chatfield, described Trump’s attempt to change election results as devastating damage, stating,“I fear we’d lose our country forever. This truly would bring mutually assured destruction for every future election in regards to the Electoral College. And I can’t stand for that. I won’t”, wrote Chatfield to his constituency.

Likewise, Dr. Adler argued that even if Trump decides not to leave the White House by Inauguration Day, neither the Secret Service nor the Marines will protect him from being sacked out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue before the new tenant moves in on the afternoon of Jan. 20, 2021. As he well knows, it is the role of law enforcement to get rid of trespassers.