Trump ally and longtime political bagman Roger Stone is now a felon. He’s been convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress in his efforts to hide from law enforcement the extent of the 2016 Trump campaign's connections to the (still ongoing) Russian election hacking and disinformation campaign. He is only out of prison because Donald Trump commuted his sentence—for crimes committed on Trump's behalf.
Not being in prison means Stone is free, now, to coordinate with Trump and the far-right to subvert the 2020 U.S. elections. Speaking to the QAnon-friendly conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on September 10, Stone had a specific message for Trump: Trump should use his powers to declare martial law, arrest anti-Trump public figures like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple's Tim Cook, former Sen. Harry Reid, President Bill Clinton, and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and "seize" voter ballots.
For whatever reason, Stone and Jones feel comfortable now in advocating for the end of American democracy if that democracy puts Donald Trump and his fascist regime at risk of losing the election. Stone has long been a saboteur of elections; as one of Trump's top allies, he is now encouraging Trump to nullify them altogether.
As reported by Media Matters, Stone, who is in Nevada for a post-conviction fundraising tour as Trump campaigns in the same state, was blunt. "The ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshals and taken from the state," urged Stone, claiming them to be "corrupted." "The votes from Nevada should not be counted. They are already flooded with illegals."
Stone instead urged Trump to consider nationalizing the state police, appoint William Barr head of "an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country" to file legal objections and "if necessary, to physically stand in the way of criminal activity."
There is no subtlety to be had here. Stone is advocating for the toppling of the U.S. government, imposing a fascist Republican government via "martial law," and the arrest of political opponents. That he is doing so under the pretext of conspiracy theories is irrelevant; Stone fully knows his allegations are false. He is a professional liar; he continues to stoke, embellish, and repeat conspiracy theories about election "fraud" by his enemies to justify violent and illegal acts by his allies. Stone is a fascist.
More to the point, he is a fascist closely tied to Donald Trump, who evidently still keeps close tabs on Stone's comments and advice. Just two days after Stone's appearance with Jones, in which Jones pushed for use of the Insurrection Act to arrest opponents and critics, Trump himself vowed in a televised interview to quickly "put down" any "riots" on election night. "It's called insurrection," he claimed.
Stone's words should not be underestimated. In addition to having Trump's ear, and a wide-ranging alliance of Republican operatives and lawmakers more than willing to halt vote counting under whatever pretext is necessary if election tallies begin to drift against them, Stone's invention of conspiracies intended to undermine confidence in the integrity of vote counting is a clarion call to domestic terrorism. Even if Trump and Republicans themselves do not block voting in Nevada and elsewhere, Stone's words give justification to far-right terror cells to take action themselves.
As Republican candidates, public officials, operatives and the base itself increasingly promote the neo-Nazi "QAnon" movement, which repurposes Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda against Jews to attack "globalists" and all their allies, there can be no arguing over whether Trump and his core supporters are, in fact, a fascist movement. The only question is whether they will succeed, and how many acts of domestic terrorism Stone, Jones, and likeminded figures will inspire in their attempts to do so.