Scary thought — cancellation of elections under ‘presidential emergency’

To the Editor:

Kurt Eichenwald (New York Times bestselling author) said the following as part of a long tweet thread:

“For those who don’t understand the fragility of American democracy in the hands of an unscrupulous autocrat the cancellation of elections is quite simple and arguably legal.”

Which is why I fear for 2020. It all comes down to presidential emergency powers. They are poorly defined in the Constitution and under law. They are enormous and Trump clearly has been told that — remember how Trump keeps saying he can do anything under the Constitution.

So, it’s Oct. 25, 2020. Polls show that Trump is going to lose in a landslide. He announces a national emergency — we have evidence “that millions of illegal aliens are conspiring to vote and undermine our democracy. Therefore, I am declaring a national emergency, suspending elections until this corruption is weeded out.”

And that’s it.

Suppose the people take up arms or do anything but acquiesce. Trump can declare this an insurrection and suspend habeas corpus, meaning they can lock up anyone they want.

This is all legal. And does ANYONE believe, given he knows this, that Trump won’t CONSIDER doing it? A man who publicly stated in 2016 that he might not accept the outcome of the election who, with the approval of the GOP, declared his opponents as traitors, demanded the imprisonments of political adversaries, declared the press to be the enemy of the people, has spoken longingly of never leaving the office.

So FOR GODS SAKE stop the nonsense of raging over whether there is a public option or Medicare for all as a primary voting issue, or whether someone is a “corporate democrat” or a “socialist.”

This is the same game that was played in the German federal elections in 1932, where people voting for the “can’t win” candidate gave enormous power to Hitler.

Three years later, Hitler declared a national emergency, dissolved the legislature and called for new elections. And soon after that, the “protest” candidate and his supporters were locked up.

Can’t happen here? I never thought it could. Then again, I never thought that any political party would ever support an imperial executive and usurpation of power by a president declaring he is above the law.

The GOP has shown that, if they can make an argument, no matter how irrational or false, they will justify anything.



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