By Robert A. Vella
President Trump’s strategies against a fair and democratic 2020 election, against the racial injustice protests, against mobilizing the federal government to combat the coronavirus pandemic, against immigration, and against criminal prosecution of his thoroughly corrupt allies, are all meeting strong headwinds with little more than three months before the pivotal vote in November.
After immediate rebukes from GOP leaders in Congress and from many Republican governors, Trump is backing-off his desire to postpone the election. Consequently, he is resorting to a more surreptitious strategy to undermine the result by: 1) falsely condemning vote-by-mail as fraudulent, 2) criticizing vote-by-mail as too time-consuming while he is deliberately slowing down mail pickup and deliveries at the U.S. Postal Service, and 3) planning to exploit all this confusion he is creating in order to delegitimize and contest the outcome which – by the way – looks increasingly grim for his reelection hopes. Although this ploy is resounding among his rabid supporters, it is having the opposite effect among the majority of Americans.
Trump’s strategy to provoke racial injustice protesters into violence by deploying highly aggressive paramilitary forces, as a means to regain support among suburban voters who have abandoned him, is similarly failing because Americans are aware of his fascist intentions.
As COVID-19 infections and deaths reach new heights of misery and suffering, Trump’s ideologically-driven anti-science response to the pandemic has resulted in a political catastrophe for himself and his party. The widespread resistance he is getting from across the nation provides a profound testament to his callousness and incompetence.
Likewise, Trump’s racially-motivated anti-immigration policies and his authoritarian assault on the judicial system to protect his criminal allies are also encountering strong opposition from a growing array of legal professionals who are determined to preserve the nation’s constitutional foundations upon which unbiased rule of law was built. However, the damage already caused by Trump on these two fronts is extensive and will require years to correct.
Trump’s election strategy
While delivering a eulogy for John Lewis on Thursday, former President Barack Obama condemned “attacks on democracy” and voting rights, without naming President Donald Trump or Republicans who have sought to restrict mail-in voting during the pandemic.
“Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting,” Obama said during a ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia. “by closing polling locations, by targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election that’s going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don’t get sick.”
Highlighting the work that Lewis did during his time as a civil rights activist and lawmaker, Obama called for automatic voter registration, including for former inmates, who he said “earned their second chance.” He said polling places and early voting should be expanded, Election Day should be made a national holiday, and that residents of Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico should receive equal representation in government.
“I know this is a celebration of John’s life. There are some who say we shouldn’t dwell on such things, but that’s why I’m talking bout it,” Obama said. “John Lewis devoted his time on this earth fighting the very attacks on democracy, and what’s best in America, that we’re seeing circulate right now.”
Trump’s strategy against racial injustice protests
A patron of a restaurant in Washington, DC, overheard and recorded a call between President Donald Trump and a congressional ally and then sent the recording to The New York Times.
In the call, Trump, who was on speakerphone, boasted about getting 95,000 retweets on a post about keeping the names of military bases named after Confederate figures.
“I had about 95,000 positive retweets on that. That’s a lot,” Trump told Sen. James Inhofe. It actually got about 34,000 retweets and 134,000 likes.
Trump has resisted the push to rename bases named after Confederate figures, but the US military has said it is considering doing so.
Americans have a dim view of president Donald Trump’s crackdown on protests against racial inequality, with 36% approving of the president’s handling of the issue he has cast as a matter of law and order, according to a poll released Friday morning.
The ABC News/Ipsos poll found that Trump’s approval rating is way underwater on three major campaign issues – the pandemic, the protests and dealings with Russia – and also show the Republican incumbent in some trouble with his most loyal voters.
Slightly more than a third – 34% – approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, a number similar to the 33% approval he had in an Ipsos poll earlier this month. The numbers indicate that Trump’s recent efforts to pivot on the crisis – holding briefings, wearing the occasional mask and promoting an unproven treatment, hydroxychloroquine, for the virus – have not made an impact.
Americans also do not give Trump high marks for his dealings with Russia, with 36% approving of his approach to America’s old Cold War foe. While Russia is dwarfed, as a campaign issue, by the virus and the tanking economy, the numbers are not helpful to a president who has insisted allegations his campaign colluded with Russia are a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.” Trump is also on the defense amid reports that Russia paid the Taliban bounties for the deaths of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Trump’s pandemic strategy
The revelation Wednesday that a renegade lawmaker known for stalking the halls of Congress without a mask, Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, tested positive for Covid-19 has unleashed a fusillade of anger on Capitol Hill — a sudden release of built-up tension over how the institution has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic within the confines of its own workplace.
For months, the leaders of Congress have allowed lawmakers to enter the Capitol without being screened for the deadly virus, rejecting an offer from the White House to provide rapid testing while trusting that the thousands who work across the massive complex of offices, meeting rooms and hallways will behave responsibly.
Now, legislative aides, chiefs of staff, press assistants, members of Congress, career workers and maintenance men and women are venting their fury with an institution that does not have uniform rules or masking requirements, does not mandate testing, is run with minimal oversight and must contend with a gaggle of lawmakers who doubt scientists and hold themselves out as experts on everything from disease hygiene to pharmacology.
Trump’s anti-immigration strategy
The Census Bureau has decided to cut the amount of time that it will spend knocking on doors across the country by a month, NPR reports.
In April, the agency indicated that it would need until Halloween to accurately count all of the people in the country due to delays incurred by coronavirus pandemic. Now, the effort to knock on doors will stop Sept. 30, three Census Bureau employees told the radio station. The bureau’s website does not yet reflect the change.
“It’s going to be impossible to complete the count in time,” one of the bureau employees told NPR. “I’m very fearful we’re going to have a massive undercount.”
Trump’s strategy to protect his criminal allies
WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., has agreed to rehear the case of Michael Flynn, a move that could resume the challenge to the Justice Department’s controversial decision to abandon its prosecution of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser.
In a 2-1 decision last month, a three-judge panel from the appeals court ordered U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss the case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI and later reversed course, claiming he was innocent all along. The ruling was applauded by both Flynn’s attorneys and the Justice Department, which has sought to dismiss the case.
The full appeals court on Thursday granted a request from Sullivan to rehear the case and scheduled oral arguments for Aug. 11.