Today I watched on line one of the “conversations” sponsored by The Atlantic Magazine. The featured guests were two of their best writers, Anne Applebaum and Barton Gellman, discussing the threats to democracy in the world and especially in the United States. Gellman was the guy who pretty much predicted in the fall of last year the January 6 Insurrection. His latest feature article appeared this month which followed up on where we are now compared to then.
Gellman believes that matters are worse, actually much worse, now than they were a year ago. Numerous recent polls show that over 67% of all Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen and that Republicans have a right and an obligation to do something about it. Even more frightening is that well over a majority of those who feel this way also believe that violence is justified and necessary to change the results. He argues that January 6 will not turn out to be an isolated event but the first of a series of events which will threaten the United States unlike anything we have experienced since the Civil War. Applebaum is not quite as pessimistic but expressed the same fear that we may be close to losing democracy in the United States, just as this is now happening in countries all over the world.
And what is perhaps even more appalling is that except for Liz Chaney and a handful of other Republican elected officials (all of whom are likely to be “primaried out” in 2022), no one in the Republican establishment is calling them out. Where is Romney or Susan Collins? The reverse is true: many are trying to out-Trump Trump.
The scenario which Gellman believes is most likely to happen is that the Republican effort will be successful to get laws changed in the most competitive states to require that the state legislatures controlled by Republicans determine who the presidential electors are as is specified in Article II of the U.S. Constitution. This effort is underway in earnest already with scores of Trump lawyers and lobbyists feverishly working in the dozen or so battleground states. Gellman believes this will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court where he says there is high certainty that four votes are pretty certain to allow it. It could come down to Roberts. The other thing that is happening is that “neutral” election officials in these states are quietly being replaced with Republican operatives and Trump fanatics. Should the 2022, or more likely, the 2024 election, actually be stolen, it will set off a counter insurrection, this time by the Left, and everything will be up for grabs.
What can we Democrats and well-intentioned Independents do to stop the real steal? Most important, they say, is to get involved, speak out, give money to groups like The Lincoln Project and Move On and organize to keep keep this threat in front of the American people. Some 80% of all Republicans answer on surveys that election fraud is a major concern compared to fewer than 30% of Democrats. Many of us are aware of that bad things may be going on but like me can’t fathom that anything like a real steal could actually happen. We are naive.
Time to wake up. Storm clouds are on the horizon.