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President Donald Trump refused to say (again and in the most frightening and spectacular way) that he’d peacefully transfer power.
When you take Trump’s words in connection with the actions already underway:
- The fact that he’s calling on his supporters in swing states to be poll watchers at voting places on Election Day.
- And the fact that this is the first year since 1982 DOJ limits on GOP poll watching won’t be in effect.
- The fact that Trump is actively trying to make sure ballots aren’t counted for long after Election Day.
- The many efforts by Republicans to put roadblocks in the way of people voting during the pandemic.
- The repeated attempts (later laughed off) by Trump and his allies on social media (and in the Senate) to spread fake news about Joe Biden.
And a side note on disinformation: Facebook said it shut down a network of fake accounts tied to Russian military intelligence.
It’s definitely time to take all of this very seriously.
What can you do about your vote? Don’t be afraid. But make sure you vote, and make sure it gets counted.
If there are intimidating people near your polling place, ignore them. Stand in lines if you need to.
Volunteer to help at a polling place.
Explore your options and figure out whether early voting is allowed in your state. Here’s CNN’s voter guide. You can still register to vote in every US state, but some states do end registration in early October.
Weigh the personal safety of mail-in voting against the ballot peace of mind of in-person voting.
If you do mail your ballot in, track its progress if that’s an option.
I personally requested a mail-in ballot a month ago. It came in the mail last week. But now I’m considering voting early in-person. My neighbor, considering the same thing, called the city’s election office and learned he’d need to take his ballot with him in order to vote early.
There will be unique rules everywhere. Figure out what they are where you live.
Trump, by the way, has seen some more favorable polling this week, both nationally and in some key states. It’s a margin of error race — CNN’s Harry Enten writes: “Here’s the truth that comports with the polling: Biden is ahead, but the race has been and will likely remain within the margin of error until Election Day.”
It’s not just voting
For a while Thursday CNN had a blaring headline about US institutions being at risk.
The three points underneath were:
- Trump’s refusal to commit to giving up power.
- His insistence the the White House is in charge of okaying a Covid vaccine (basically confirming political pressure on the FDA).
- Big Tech is falling short as Trump and his allies poison the well with disinformation.
Related: HR McMaster, one of the revolving cast of Trump’s national security advisers, was on the Situation Room Thursday and told Wolf Blitzer about the threat Russia poses to the US electoral process and the efforts by that country to destabilize the US.
A new health care “plan”
While the White House continues to go along with efforts to upend the entire Affordable Care Act in court, Trump gave a speech in North Carolina outlining executive actions he will take on health care.
This will include some effort to protect people who suffer from pre-existing conditions. US law — the one Trump is trying to get courts to throw out — already does that. And no executive order will do it as completely.
So while Trump will try to call this a health care plan, it’s not likely to be.
Executive actions are not as strong as laws. And if you’re thinking he can just make law with his pen, look back at his last set of executive actions, which sought to help people unemployed by the pandemic.
He’s still not negotiating with Congress, which could extend benefits. Instead, that stopgap measure he tried is already expiring.
And the payroll tax deferral — that’s essentially a loan that someone is going to have to pay back unless he can get Congress to write it off.
Also happening today
Breonna Taylor. Offers were shot in Louisville last night and protests took place coast to coast. There are a lot of questions about the Kentucky Attorney General’s announcement that no officers would be charged for killing Taylor and calls for him to release evidence.
Bill Barr. The lawyer tapped by the US attorney general to investigate the Russia probe is now looking into the Clinton Foundation, according to the New York Times.
Mary Trump. The President’s niece is suing him and his siblings.
What would Dr. Seuss say?
If Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power has you concerned, check out Yertle the Turtle, Dr. Seuss’s book on authoritarianism, published in 1958.
Seuss died September 24, 1981.
Before he was drawing and writing children’s books, Seuss was drawing political cartoons for PM Magazine.
You can see them at the Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library. While they were drawn during World War II — Seuss was agitating for the US to join the war — some of them still feel relevant today, particularly since Seuss was calling out the “America First” slogan pushed back then by Nazi supporter Charles Lindbergh and today by Trump.
On Instagram, I posted four: One features a Seussian “America First” kangaroo running with a fascist, a Nazi and a communist.
Two others feel ripped out of today’s headlines — Russia using propaganda to cut Uncle Sam’s climbing rope and a patriotic man saying the Pledge of Allegiance while stomping on Americans of color.
Finally, there’s one published days before Pearl Harbor that shows an America First character sitting idling by a ballot box as bombs explode in the distance.
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