Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that as the election grows closer, Donald Trump’s allies and sycophants are trying to shop a low-key civil war via the Insurrection Act of 1807, which Trumpworld learned about in early June when Trump gassed protesters so he could do a photo op in front of a church holding a Bible upside-down. Trumpworld is now very jazzed to use this 1807 act. Not entirely clear they know much about it except that they think they can do martial law with it.
Trumpworld has every reason to be worried. They can read the polling on the internet, and it’s not great. Trump’s economy is even less great, and coronavirus has already killed 195,000 Americans. And then there’s the Woodward tapes, which show the president knew the coronavirus was “the plague” while still holding indoor rallies and tweeting about liberating states from lockdown. There is not much American greatness happening, despite Trump’s promise of it. This is so true that the campaign slogan “make America great again, again” feels like something right out of Veep.
Trump’s civil war pitch started in June with an opinion piece by one Tom Cotton, or as I like to think of him, the worst senator in the Senate except for Rand Paul. Tom Cotton loves war. Tom Cotton has embraced the idea of war with two countries so far, Iran and China; and now he’s casually shopping the idea of a low-intensity civil war by deploying federal government forces “to protect law-abiding citizens from disorder.” He added, “One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers.” This was in response to one night of looting in SoHo, where a Chanel store was broken into. I mean the federal government does not need to be harnessed for one night of looting in SoHo.
From there it was all of Trump’s most deranged sycophants supporting this idea of Trump’s civil war to own the libs. Nasty online troll Michael R. Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, said on Facebook, “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.” Just the kind of normal stuff a person who works for Health and Human Services says. Caputo later apologized, which is very off-brand for Trumpworld.
And then there was Trump-humper Mark Levin, who said on his radio show, “And I have a sneaking suspicion—and no, I have no firsthand knowledge, but a sneaking suspicion—should our president be re-elected, God willing, that he will dust off the Insurrection Act that was first passed by the Jeffersonian Republicans and used by Jefferson and used by so many presidents since Jefferson. And he will have to use it to put down the enemy.” The idea here is that Trump will need to seize power if he wins... or who knows, maybe even if he loses.
And then there’s Trump friend and prison sentence-commutation recipient Roger Stone. You may remember Roger Stone from his direct communication with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, or the jail sentence he’s supposed to be serving, or the Nixon tattoo he has on his back. Either way Roger went on the famous “banned from all platforms” Infowars show and suggested that Trump should form “an election day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections [to results] and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.” Or as layman call it, contesting election results and then enacting civil war.
But that was not all. Roger also gave a special shout-out to The Daily Beast, saying “If The Daily Beast is involved in provably seditious and illegal activities,” he said, “their entire staff can be taken into custody and their office can be shut down. They wanna play war, this is war.” But The Daily Beast is not involved in “provably seditious and illegal actives,” and arresting journalists for not writing nice things about you is against the law, at least for now.
And then there’s Michael Scheuer, the former senior CIA official who was once in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden but “has spent the summer calling for the slaughter” of the members of Black Lives Matter.
It's not just Trump’s crazy fringe sycophants who are shouting civil war as loud as possible. Trump himself told Judge Box of Wine that if left-wing protesters start making trouble, law enforcement agencies should “put them down very quickly if they do that.”
This civil war business, rather like the Trump presidency itself, started out very stupidly, with crazy people saying insane stuff on right-wing outlets. But like everything in Trumpworld, these people will go as far as you let them. If Democrats and the one Republican who has a spine (I’m looking at you Mitt Romney) don’t push back on this, Trumpworld will happily litigate this election into another term for the president.
I remember something Mary Trump wrote in her book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. She explained that Trump will do as much as he can get away with. If Trump can get away with installing himself as the American Vladimir Putin, he will. If democracy is to survive, what’s left of our federal government must push back on the moronic autocrat who is holding our country hostage.