Last few days have had some pretty big news in US. First Trump was caught on a phone call trying to bully Republican secretary of state Brad Raffensberger to find him 11,780 votes so he could win state. Next day, Democrats to my pleasant surprise win both Georgia run-offs and by bigger margins than Biden won the state. Finally yesterday, you had an insurrection where an angry Trump mob tried to storm the capitol but failed to stop the certification of the vote. Finally I will give my thoughts on why Conservatives in Canada need to distance themselves from Trumpism and if they don’t won’t get my vote next time.
Three days ago, a tape was released that showed Trump on an hour long phone call trying to bully the Republican secretary of state of Georgia to decertify votes and give him extra votes so he would win state. He even threatened to have criminal charges if he didn’t. To his credit, Raffensberger followed the law and refused despite being a Republican and voting for Trump. This kind of behavior is both repulsive and likely highly illegal. This is what you get in third world dictatorships not in an advanced liberal democracy. Such actions have crossed the line and Trump needs to once no longer in office be charged with this. It is the people, not president, not congress, not state legislatures, and not secretary of state who decide outcome. And Biden won Georgia and Trump lost. Job of secretary of state is to administer election not decide winner; the people of Georgia decide that and based on electoral college the American people decide the president. Raffensberger gets one vote and to his credit he has followed the law and refused to engage in illegal activity president wanted despite threats. Voter fraud can happen and does in very small numbers happen; after all pretty tough to have 155 million vote and not have a few vote who shouldn’t, but number is extremely small and not enough to change outcome. Never mind many caught so far have been Trump supporters. Also glad to see Trump’s lies debunked. If voter fraud, there are courts, but has to be based on real evidence, not made up facts. Saying something is true doesn’t make it true and such behavior is very dangerous and worrisome. Losing is never fun, but in a democracy it is incumbent upon the loser to respect the outcome as past presidents have done, not engage in lies and trying to subvert outcome.
Two days ago to my pleasant surprise, both Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff won runoffs in Georgia. I had in earlier post predicted GOP would win both. My reason for that prediction is GOP generally outran Trump down ballot and in December combined Republican vote for both exceeded Democrat. It seems many Never Trumper Republicans who wanted to get rid of Trump but didn’t want left wing of Democrats to have too much influence split their ticket by voting for Biden for president, but GOP down ballot. I believe Trump’s recent behavior has appalled many and is the main reason why Democrats won both thus narrowly winning back control of senate. He not only pushed moderates away but his lies about election being rigged probably caused some of his supporters to stay home and not vote at all thinking the election would be stolen. Also Stacey Abrams has been an amazing organizer and with both presidential and senate election polls being bang on in Georgia but elsewhere overestimating Democrats, I wonder if polls were actually correct but with most state Democrats not having as strong an organization as in Georgia; many Democrat voters aren’t showing up thus underperformance. Either way after this, my advice to Democrats is make Stacy Abrams the chair. This is a woman who knows how to win in a tough state and also is a long term thinker about building an organization to win. From what I’ve heard, Florida DNC is in shambles while Georgia is quite strong so Georgia voting to left of Florida is not necessarily a case of state now being more progressive; rather more better ground organization. I still believe Florida is slightly to left of Georgia but in Georgia Democrats are doing a better job of getting out the vote. Although Florida is stagnant or trending right while Georgia moving left so long term I think Georgia will vote to left of Florida even if still slightly to right of it. It is interesting that most of my wrong predictions were Republicans winning in areas I thought Democrats would, but one state where at both presidential and senate level I predicted GOP would win, but Democrats won was Georgia.
Yesterday urged on by Trump, US had an insurrection. The violence on capitol hill was totally unacceptable and Trump needs to be held accountable for this. His gaslighting this and lying continuously is the reason capital got stormed for first time since 1814 and for first time by its own citizens, not a foreign enemy (it was British then/Canadians). Trump is dangerous in his final days so 25th amendment needs to be invoked immediately to remove him from office. Also impeachment even with time limited must start. And it must continue even after January 20th when he leaves so as to ensure he is permanently barred from every being president again. Finally if he doesn’t do a blanket pardon for himself, he needs to be arrested and criminally charged with sedition for this. Yes it will be divisive, but a madman of a liberal democracy cannot be above the law. Rule of law applies to everyone. The objections yesterday were clearly unnecessary and inappropriate. It is congress’ job to certify the results not overturn them. Those who tried to do this should be heavily targeted in midterms. I am glad some in GOP, especially senate voted this down, but many stood by Trump too long. Hopefully this is a lesson learned. At same time I have full respect and praise for people like Romney that stood up against this all along and Democrats to help heal divide must welcome Republicans who stood by principles. A healthy democracy needs at least two parties with different visions who believe in democracy and respect outcome. Right now, one party has a large element that does not believe in democracy and instead has become a cult for a mad man and believes in authoritarianism to get their way. I hope for sake of US, GOP is able to purge elements of Trumpism, which won’t be easy as otherwise I am afraid its not a matter of if, but when liberal democracy dies in US. And while I am a Canadian so shouldn’t care; reality is US is the largest most powerful liberal democratic country on earth. Just as fall of USSR led to fall of communism throughout Eastern Europe; I fear fall of democracy in US will lead to fall in many other Western countries. No doubt that is what Xi Jinping and Vladmir Putin want and it must not be allowed to happen.
Closer to home, I hope this is a wake up call to Conservatives here in Canada that once you tolerate Trumpism, it grows like a cancer until it becomes so dangerous the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. So I urge Erin O’Toole to quit with his Trump like rhetoric like Take Back Canada and to start condemning those who are calling Trudeau a traitor, to be jailed or other extreme elements. And people like Derek Sloan and other Trump lovers need to be shown the door. Fear of right splitting is not a justification for allowing such vile ideology inside a mainstream party. Trumpist in Conservatives need to be shown the door and go join the Mad Max’s PPC which has other crazy conspiracy far right types. We cannot allow this type of extremism to be normalized in our political discourse. Once normalized as we’ve seen in US and in Europe, it is very tough to contain. Likewise having interacted with many from gun lobby on twitter and other right wing crazies, we must whether NDP, Liberal, Green, BQ, Tory or not a supporter of any party stand united together to defeat this scourge. We cannot stop people from holding such extreme views, but we must not normalize it. In particular while below the radar for most Canadians, the gun lobby really worries me as many of these people not only have extreme views, but also guns too. While our gun laws aren’t as crazy as US, the fact many own assault weapons that Trudeau has recently banned and are talking about open defiance makes me very worried this could turn ugly. It is off course not a reason to not proceed with ban, just shows how dangerous these people can be. As such Tories need to cease pandering to gun lobby and cut all ties with NFA and CCFR. These are extreme groups and no respectable party should pander to them. If Tories must show support for law abiding gun owners; gun clubs and hunting organizations seem more appropriate although quite frankly I don’t believe gun owners are persecuted or unfairly treated at all. A gun is a tool and even with ban, people can still hunt and sports shoot so bigger problem is more a lot who own these types of weapons are people with extreme views and own them because of that. Likewise Tories need to stop tweeting conspiracy theories and those who do need to be given a stern warning on first occasion and stripped of all critic roles and then kicked out of caucus on second. And any political staffer who tweets these needs to be fired on the spot and MP should apologize immediately. We can have different viewpoints on what is the best path forward, but we should at least have some facts. When people can no longer agree on the truth, that is very dangerous. And finally dog whistles need to stop. While not nearly as bad as US, rise in fringe right has spilled over and is worrisome so its important that Tories not pander to them but stand firm that they are not welcome in party. I believe long term they will benefit politically, but even if it does cost them the election; there are certain principles so important that must be followed no matter what the political risks and this is one of them.