BrianWS and Liss Talk About Their Election Terrors

Once-frequent guest blogger BrianWS, who still may or may not become a full-time contributor someday because you just never know, and who remains a good friend with whom I can talk about anything under the sun, emailed me yesterday with what he described as "just some dark election thoughts." It turned into an interesting conversation, which I am now sharing here with his permission.

BrianWS: This has been floating around in my head for about a week (or whenever the fuck it was that Trump tweeted about Russia helping the Dems — it might have been yesterday or it might have been two months ago for all I fucking know anymore).

Here's a thing I've been thinking about re: free and fair elections and Trump…

Would it not benefit Trump (and Putin) to have the Russians actually manipulate votes in favor of Dems in the midterms, but do so with a digital trail that wouldn't be too hard for someone to find at some point?

I was thinking of it like this:

1.) Dems have a great midterm election. Some of it is from actual votes, some of it is from tampering that moves votes to Dem candidates.

2.) Dems celebrate. "2018 Blue Wave" takes explode all over the internet.

3.) Couple of months later, either before or just after new Dems are sworn in, someone with allegiance to Trump conveniently finds a digital trail that was hidden just enough so as to not be entirely obvious right after the elections, but also a trail that is so clear once discovered that it can't actually be disputed that the Russians "helped" the Dems.

4.) Trump wins in every way — obviously with a trail that is indisputable, chaos breaks loose about seating Dems, holding new elections, cancelling/voiding them outright, whatever.

5.) Trump gets to say "I told you so!" Then he gets to use it to become even more authoritarian in almost every conceivable way from making sure his shitty base knows that he was right, which then moves back into "only I can protect you" territory. It also then discredits the ENTIRE premise of the current Russia investigation, because the only true proof we have of Russian interference is that they helped Dems.

6.) Uses it as an excuse to float canceling elections, delaying them, whatever else under the guise of "well, we sure can't hold elections again until we figure out how these Dem traitors pulled this off with a foreign power!" His base would go wild while being even more dangerous in every way towards all of the groups of people they hate. They'd almost certainly be violent in public and then some. Dems would not ever recover from it unless actual proof that it was an inside job were discovered, which it surely wouldn't be with a plan like this.

Is that at all reasonable, or does that create too much chaos for Trump/Putin to be able to exploit?

Liss: It's certainly a possibility. I don't imagine that even in this scenario, Trump/Putin would allow the Democrats to win a majority, so the most likely outcome would be that Democrats get very close to retaking the House and/or Senate, with a few big unanticipated wins.

Just enough to give liberals hope that voting still matters, always keeping us one election away from winning it back.

And in the meantime, Trump can whip out the "evidence" at any time he needs it.

Maybe right before the new year...?


BrianWS: God this is so fucking depressing. But also a great point — having Dems actually retake the House and/or Senate takes away a level of power they need to rubber stamp everything. But to think that two years down the road it could conveniently be discovered right when he needs it most, while STILL having control of all branches of govt and the courts, is as terrifying as any part of this with the ability to immediately implement any of his "protections" without having to go through a chamber with any kind of Dem majority.

Liss: The terrible thing is that they only need to do it on behalf of one Democrat to be able to keep this in their back pocket whenever they need it. They can intervene on behalf of every Republican in every district in every state with a Republican legislature, which can then destroy the evidence, and as long as there is "discoverable" evidence of interference on behalf of a single Democrat, it gives them the leverage they need to "both sides!" the entire thing out of existence.

And our media is clearly not up to the task of greeting it with the skepticism it deserves.

* * *

Our conversation then veered into personal territory, which I will keep between us.

I'm not sharing this to terrify you, although I realize the prospect is indeed terrifying. I'm sharing it because, although such a scenario at one point might have seemed completely out of the realm of possibility, is it now eminently possible, verging on likely, given everything else we know about what has already happened.

I'm also sharing it because I suspect many of you are already contemplating such possibilities — and probably just like BrianWS and me, you have moments, maybe lots of them, where you wonder if you are going mad or being unduly alarmist, and you could use some perspective. There is far too much gaslighting and far too little validation of legitimate fears in this country right now.

And I'm sharing it because I want to prepare you. I would rather talk about these possibilities and then see them not happen, then not talk frankly about them and allow my readership to be blindsided by them if they do.

It's hard to avoid accusations of being — and hard not to feel like — a "downer" for speaking the grim truth. I struggle with it all day every day, at this point. But I just keep telling myself that telling the truth for this community may hurt in the short-term, but will protect people in the long-term. Folks who get legit surprised by what's potentially coming, if it comes, are going to suffer mightily.

Plus, as I've said before, we can't possibly prevent an outcome we refuse to even consider.

And if I'm wrong, if our worst fears never come to pass, then what a jolly laugh we'll have at the silly kook I've been while we enjoy our functional democracy from the comfort of not-gulags.

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