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Letter: Maintaining democracy is key

Why does President Trump continue to seemingly, and repeatedly, shoot himself in the foot, saying and doing things that could only appeal to his deluded fanatical base of supporters, while not even trying to win over other constituencies by moderating his rhetoric and policies? Why not lie (as usual) if for no other reason than to raise his poll numbers and possible get reelected normally? Is he really that stupid, incompetent and mistaken in his strategy? I say, not at all. It would be a big mistake to see him that way; he knows exactly what he is doing. He knows at this point he cannot win a fair election, so he’s going to throw a wrench into it — disrupt the election and create an environment that will allow him to challenge its legitimacy, its outcome or even its occurrence.

An intervention by Trump would require conditions that would allow him to take emergency measures and issue directives to urgently deal with extreme situations needing special attention to allegedly maintain law and order to protect public health (COVID will be worse by November), prevent corrupt election manipulation and fraud (maybe suggest Chinese meddling), or stem social or racial violence, all in the name of national security. To set this stage, he means to foment turmoil and chaos — make every major issue much worse — exacerbate  the COVID crisis, the financial difficulties for millions of Americans and racial tensions.

He wants to push people to desperate confrontation in the streets. Protesters will be labeled dangerous leftist extremists, his white supremacist followers will be released to provoke violence, which, in turn, will allow Trump’s employment of drastic measures (marshal law) — deployment of militarized police, conduct mass arrests, issues orders to suspend civil liberties, set curfews and, yes, perhaps, see the need to suspend elections. Then, if he can do this, he can suppress the media and arrest political opponents. People may disappear. His actions may be illegal, but it won’t matter; he will do it anyway and challenge it in court, which will give him time to accomplish his aims.

And through all this, McConnell and Republicans will be silent because they know their time is over except by their now inexorable, attachment to Trump and his autocratic authority. As president, Obama said Trump “would tear this democracy down.” Democracy is the issue.

Mike Kelly

Albert Lea