Steven Grieves is a fictional journalist and intellectual whose best selling book, “The End of the World As We Know It,” is a number one best seller.
Faux News: Thank you, Professor Grieves, for agreeing to the interview and congratulations on the new book.
Grieves: No problem.
FN: So my first question is what do you think of the Senate trial now that it has finished its second day.
G: You mean “The Big Show”?
FN: Yes, I guess some are calling it that.
G: Well, that is exactly what it is. All minds are made up on both sides except for maybe a handful of Republicans, but certainly not enough to reach a guilty verdict.
FN: The only question today is whether there are four Republican votes needed to allow witnesses. Besides, Trump could be voted out in 2020. Maybe it really does not make that much difference anyway what the verdict is.
G: Yes, but I believe voting Trump out in 2020 is problematical. The Democratic candidate will likely win the popular vote, probably by a wide margin, but the Electoral College is another matter. Plus in the words of Trump, the 2020 election will be rigged, but not in the way he implied in 2016. Russia—and a host of other countries as well—now have the technology to interfere and influence the outcome of U.S. elections. Russia helped elect Trump due to its interference in the 2016 elections. He knows that even though he denies it, and he knows that they are about to do it again, but this time in spades. That is why he is so buddy-buddy with Putin. That is why he got involved in the Ukraine incident, which became the trigger for the impeachment. Besides wanting to cripple Biden, he wanted to distract attention from the Russian interference and put the blame on Ukraine for trying to help Hillary.
FN: I understand the role of social media and how that made a difference in the 2016 election, but do you think it is that significant?
G: Yes and another real threat, I believe, is the ability to change the votes after they are cast. Electronic voting machines are very vulnerable to tampering, Do not for a moment think that the Russians aren’t going to try it again in 2020. They only have to target key voting districts in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio. They tried tampering before with mixed results. There is evidence that this time they will have more success.
FN: I thought we had fixed the voting booth problem.
G: It depends on the state and the voting precinct. In a lot of precincts the vulnerability issues have not been fixed. Some of those precincts are in critical states. You better believe the Russians know all that and are prepared to exploit it.
FN: Are you saying it is a done deal? That it does not make any difference whom the Democrats nominate, that it is in the bag for Trump?
G: Put it this way—I am very skeptical that the Democrats have a chance due to the bias in the Electoral College and to the use of technology and outside interference. Trump’s hard-core base will be there for him and will vote for him no matter what. So he is starting with 40% before spending a penny.
FN: How does this relate to your dystopian idea of the end of the world as we know it?
G: Putting aside nukes and the possibility for an impetuous president like Trump pushing the nuclear button, the answer is climate change. Global warming. We know that we have limited time to deal with it. If drastic steps are not taken now, the planet will reach a tipping point that will set it on an irreparable course. When the Greenland ice caps melt, that means a 20-30 foot rise in oceans, and the relocation of hundreds of millions of people. Under Trump the U.S. will fight international climate change efforts rather than lead them. Greta is right. Every minute counts, and a minute lost now will not be made up later. We are on a trajectory to doomsday. That is why the 2020 election is pivotal.
The only hope we have to avert catastrophic outcomes is a massive mobilization effort even greater than all the combined efforts that went into fighting World War II. We should be fighting for our survival. Yet while we are doing important things in wind, solar and tree preservation, electric cars and carbon reduction, compared to what we should be doing, it is a drop in the bucket. I am sad to say that battling climate change does not even rank that high with many of the Democratic candidates, but the Republicans are climate change deniers. The fires in Australia are a harbinger. What comes next will be much worse.
FN: If for so many people the idea of another four years of Trump is a nightmare, why do you think there are few, if any, Republicans in either the House or the Senate who will vote for impeachment or even stand up to Trump? Why do they all stand behind him regardless of what he does?
G: The short answer is fear and job security. But first let’s take a look at what is going on. There are three groups of Republican elected officials in Congress. The first group denies that the Ukrainian drug deal even happened and that it is Trump’s word versus all the sworn witnesses. They believe Trump. The second group says that while there is not enough first hand witness accounts to make a decision, there is no need for any additional information or first hand witnesses, all of whom were prevented by Trump from testifying. In other words they say the House did not do its job and is not going to be exonerated by a skeptical Senate. The third group acknowledges that while some untoward actions may have happened, they do not come close to meeting the high bar for impeachment. Of course any objective observer would conclude that this is nonsense. What is really going on is that they believe that placating Trump’s hard-core base is the key to their reelection. To deviate from Trump worship would risk being “primarried out” by a farther right wing candidate. To all of this I say that the Republican Party has lost its moral compass and its soul. They will pay for this eventually—especially as the “Greta generation” matures to a voting age. But the question is that by then will it be too late.
FN: Thank you, professor. Out time is up. We will see what happens, but I have to say that I am not as pessimistic as you are. We both can agree on one thing: 2020 will be an interesting year.