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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Trump Republicans are committed to abandoning America’s historic embrace of democracy.

MAGA’s Plan to Steal the 2024 Election, Legally

THOM HARTMANN in ThomHartmann.Com

Back on March 13, 2020—almost exactly four years ago—I wrote an article that was published at laying out how Republicans were then, 10 months before January 6, planning to partially repeat the debacle of the election of 1876 by having then-Vice President Mike Pence refuse to certify swing state votes and thus throw the election to the House to keep the-President Donald Trump in office, no matter how the election went.

When I published the article 10 months before January 6, I received concerned and even alarmed communications from several Democratic strategists and a few elected officials who basically said they didn’t think there was any way Trump would try such an audacious move and, if he did, he wouldn’t get away with it.

But I was right and that was exactly what Trump had up his sleeve. We saw it play out on January 6. The only thing that stopped him was Pence’s unwillingness to go along with stealing an election.

Now I’m hearing a new story from those same GOP insiders (as well as other commentators) about Trump’s schemes for 2024. Here’s what I’m hearing Republicans are planning in the event Joe Biden wins re-election and Democrats hold the Senate and take the House this November:

First, Republicans need to make sure they’re in control of the House of Representatives on January 6, 2024, when the new president will be certified.

To do that, even though Democrats might have won enough seats to take back the House in the 2024 election, Speaker Mike Johnson will refuse to swear into Congress on January 3 a handful of those Democrats, claiming there are “irregularities” in their elections that must be first investigated.

Consider that Johnson is still refusing to swear in Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) (who recently won George Santos’ old seat), something Johnson apparently did to maintain enough Republican-majority votes to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. (Johnson says they’ll swear him in this coming Thursday, but nobody’s holding their breath.)

Like Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) withholding Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court for over a year, withholding certification of a handful of Democrats would be easy, legal, and completely immoral. There’s nothing Democrats can legally do to stop Speaker Johnson from pulling this off: He can postpone swearing a member in for as long as he wants.

That keeps Speaker “MAGA Moscow Mike” Johnson in charge of the House, so they can also refuse to accept the Electoral College certificates of election from a handful of states where they claim there are “problems.”

Keep in mind, Johnson was the guy who organized the wave of 138 House members who voted not to certify Joe Biden’s election in January of 2020. That’s why Trump wanted him as speaker.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the number three person in House Republican leadership, has already refused to say whether she’d vote to certify the presidential election results this November.

Others, like Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie, are repeatedly mentioning their belief that the House gets to decide who’s president, not the people or even the Electoral College. As Massie posted on X:

“Maine, Colorado, and other states that might try to bureaucratically deny ballot access to any Republican nominee should remember the U.S. House of Representatives is the ultimate arbiter of whether to certify electors from those states.”
In response, Elon Musk posted a one-word comment: “Interesting.”

Then, regardless of how many votes Biden won by, electoral or popular, the House simply refuses to certify the electoral college votes of enough states that the minimum of 270 isn’t reached. Under the 12th Amendment, like with the election of 1876, that throws the election to the House, where each state has one vote.

While most Americans live in a state run by Democrats, a majority of the states themselves are run by Republicans. Each state gets one vote for president in the House, and right now 26 state delegations are GOP-controlled, meaning that a majority of the House would simply vote to put Trump back into the White House, 26-23 (Pennsylvania’s delegation is 50/50). All totally legal.

The Putin/Trump caucus in the House—led by Speaker Johnson—has largely given up on democracy when elections don’t give them power. As outrageous as this scenario sounds, they justify it to themselves as being essential to “save America” from “woke” Democrats.

Johnson has repeatedly said he thinks God Himself put Johnson into the speakership to fulfill some great destiny, comparing himself with Moses: stealing a presidential race “for the greater good” almost certainly qualifies as that. And, although Congress in 2022 raised the number of congressional objectors necessary to stop the certification of a presidential vote, Johnson himself was able to round up more than that number in 2020. This is eminently do-able.

Finally, the Supreme Court long ago ruled that they and the entire U.S. court system have no jurisdiction over “political issues” that the Constitution says must be resolved by Congress. This issue of Congress’ certification of electoral college votes certainly qualifies, so, no matter what the courts might want to say or do, there’s probably no legal tool they can use to block a second Trump presidency under these circumstances.

Right-wing billionaires and neo-fascists within the GOP are salivating at this prospect. Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller must be giddy.

In one fell swoop they’ll “take back” the government, putting an end to that pesky problem of democracy and voters wanting nice things.

President Trump issues a new Schedule F executive order and suddenly 20,000 or so of the top management of every federal agency find themselves out of a job, being replaced by conservative ideologues who are being vetted by Heritage and other conservative think tanks as you’re reading these words.

Once they have control of both the political and the “deep state” or administrative government, these conservatives intend to set about making the changes they’ve been pushing for years:

  • ·       End gay marriage and criminalize being trans.
  • ·       Outlaw abortion and most forms of birth control.
  • ·       End the teaching of Black history.
  • ·       Outlaw DEI and affirmative action of any sort.
  • ·       Shut down most functions of the Environmental Protection Agency so the fossil fuel and chemical industries can do whatever they want to our air and water.
  • ·       End enforcement of our anti-monopoly laws.
  • ·       Fire thousands of Internal Revenue Service investigators to make America safe for morbidly rich tax cheats.
  • ·       Shut down all “green” initiatives and instead “drill, baby drill.”
  • ·       Sell off public lands and parks to the highest bidders.
  • ·       Privatize Social Security and end traditional Medicare.
  • ·       End federal funding for public schools and colleges.
  • ·       Outlaw unions.

It’s truly breathtaking. They’re committed to abandoning America’s historic embrace of democracy, the “radical new form of government” that our nation’s founders brought back into the world after it had vanished for almost 3,000 years.

But, as Americans have figured out the GOP’s priorities and are disgusted by their obeisance to great wealth and Vladimir Putin, Republicans have decided that winning free and fair elections is for suckers. Stealing them is so much easier.

I don’t see any legal way such a strategy can be stopped, because it’s all based on “legal” technicalities. Like the legal technicality that former President George W. Bush and Trump both lost the national popular vote but became president anyway (without significant protest from the American people).

When I wrote that article laying out Trump’s plan to have phony electors, et al, back in 2020, people were upset I was “giving him ideas.” Some may similarly say about this article, “Don’t tell them how to do it!”

But this has already been written about extensively by Newsweek’s editor-at-large Tom Rogers, Mark Medish and Joel McCleary for The Washington Spectator, and covered last Friday night an an opening monologue by Joy Reid. It’s public knowledge, although the media seems unwilling to discuss it.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to widely publicize their scheme so public opinion will become so intense that they fear the consequences.

It’s a thin thread holding our republic together, but at least it’s something.

Pass it along.

© 2023 Thom Hartmann

THOM HARTMANN is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.