If a report came out on Sunday that Joe Biden and his “associates” were contemplating invoking the Insurrection Act to quell any anticipated protests assuming he’s reelected in 2024, I guarantee you the right-wing media in this country would be screaming their asses off right now. In fact by Monday, you would probably already have a live preview of an actual insurrection, with people brandishing arms, waving flags, and protesting around various locations in this country. In short, it would not be deemed, “Okay, nothing to see here.”
Trump has said and done a lot of things that the media appear to have internalized as just, well, “Trump being Trump.” Apparently that list includes sexual battery, criminal fraud, and fomenting physical attacks on the U.S. Congress and government property. All of these proclivities would be permanently disqualifying for almost any other political candidate. (At least, they used to be.)
But this guy keeps on upping the ante and pushing the limits because he can.
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This is the first paragraph of Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey, and Devlin Barrett’s (excellent) reporting in Sunday’s Washington Post:
Donald Trump and his allies have begun mapping out specific plans for using the federal government to punish critics and opponents should he win a second term, with the former president naming individuals he wants to investigate or prosecute and his associates drafting plans to potentially invoke the Insurrection Act on his first day in office to allow him to deploy the military against civil demonstrations.
Forget the 14th Amendment. That single sentence should permanently disqualify Donald Trump from ever holding any political office ever again in this country. Period. End of discussion.
The fact that it doesn’t is an indictment not of Donald Trump, but of a media establishment that has become utterly complacent, even craven. An establishment that has been habituated into appeasing and tolerating unspeakably anti-American sentiments from this particular individual, and instead treating them like the daily weather report.
Considering the fact that—as the Post article reports—the genesis of this planned course of action is Trump’s latent regret that he didn’t call out the military to suppress lawful protests against police violence toward Black Americans, you would expect that an institution predicated on the support of the First Amendment might want to take a closer look at what is being proposed.
To facilitate Trump’s ability to direct Justice Department actions, his associates have been drafting plans to dispense with 50 years of policy and practice intended to shield criminal prosecutions from political considerations. Critics have called such ideas dangerous and unconstitutional.
Much of the planning for a second term has been unofficially outsourced to a partnership of right-wing think tanks in Washington. Dubbed “Project 2025,” the group is developing a plan, to include draft executive orders, that would deploy the military domestically under the Insurrection Act, according to a person involved in those conversations and internal communications reviewed by The Washington Post. The law, last updated in 1871, authorizes the president to deploy the military for domestic law enforcement.
This is more than “dangerous” and “unconstitutional.” It’s dictatorship, and it’s fascism.
Where are elected Republicans on this? Crickets. That should be the story. Why isn’t he and every single member his shadowy “adviser group” already being called out on the carpet? That should be the story. What would invoking the Insurrection Act actually look like to Americans who ventured out into the streets to protest? What would the likely consequences be? That should be the story.
And what kind of press establishment would sit and cover this kind of revelation like an ordinary event, one that’s barely even visible now, 24 hours later, on The Washington Post’s website? And is completely absent from The New York Times’ website? That should also be the story.
This person has been given a pass for far, far too long, to the point where his open and obvious plans to destroy our democracy are treated as mere background noise. One day we’re all going to wake up and yes, the military will be patrolling our streets. Federal agents will be going door to door, harassing and hauling people out of their homes on invented charges. The entire executive branch, all our federal agencies, will have been hollowed out and filled with virulent cultists loyal only to Trump’s continuation in power.
And everyone in the media will be out of sorts, clucking their tongues, wondering, how ever could this have actually happened? Because you, and the American public—whom all of you in the media should have been informing, educating, and yes, screaming at all this time—let it happen.
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