Why 2020 Could Be Deja Vu All Over Again.

Despite Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress that the Trump campaign sought, embraced and used information supplied by Wikileaks and Russia, and despite his report that outlines numerous instances involving obstruction of justice, GOP congressional representatives refuse to admit the possibility that Trump has committed any wrongdoing. Indeed, many acknowledge that they have not read the Mueller report.

Further, despite Mueller’s warning that Russia has stepped up its plans to interfere in the 2020 elections, Mitch McConnell and the GOP-controlled Senate refuse to vote on any legislation intended to tamper-proof our election system. Why? Well, for one thing, McConnell has shamelessly accepted campaign donations from the makers of some of the most vulnerable computerized voting machines. For another, he sees no benefit in doing so. Russian interference benefited his party in 2016 and he likely expects to receive further tens of millions in campaign assistance from Russian oligarchs in 2020 as his PACs did in 2016.

And it must not be forgotten that, in a clear signal to Putin, Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he is willing to accept dirt on his political opponents from foreign governments for his re-election campaign.

These are all obvious signs that Republicans plan to steal yet another election.

During a recent interview on NPR, a former Facebook executive predicted that the 2020 election will be different. Instead of creating false accounts on social media to promote fake news as they did in 2016, he believes they will plant false narratives with US citizens and rely on them to distribute their propaganda. As an example, he referred to the Seth Rich conspiracy theory saying that the conspiracy originated with Russians, but that it was soon picked up and widely distributed by American right-wing media. (It was not only a regular story on Fox News. It was promoted by such “authorities” as Alex Jones Infowars and the mysterious – dare I say fictitious – QAnon.) More troubling, he says that Russia’s goal for 2020 is to seed chaos in the US. So he believes that Russia will execute a cyber attack on voting data (or at least give the appearance of one) to create doubt with the outcome of the 2020 election. That will lead the losing side to reject the outcome and perhaps resort to violence.

If that is the case, you can be certain that, if/when Trump loses, his supporters will be armed, locked and loaded. After all, in 2016, Trump convinced his followers that the election was rigged. In the event of a Hillary win, they threatened to “use their 2nd Amendment rights” to remedy the situation. Imagine what they will do if they think Trump is removed from office unfairly.

If the Russians are successful in 2020, it will pose a lose/lose problem for Democrats. If the Democratic nominee wins, he or she will very likely have to face the prospect of an armed insurrection which will further divide the nation. And, if the president-elect backs down under threat, it will cement the power of the lunatic right.

In either event, the beneficiaries will be Russia and the GOP.

Russia will benefit by a divided and weakened US. The division will also continue to benefit the GOP, which is desperately trying to maintain control of the oligarchy they helped create. Even if the GOP loses control of both the Senate and the White House, Moscow Mitch or his replacement will continue to block any and all initiatives intended to ensure fairness in our elections. They will continue to fight making voting machines tamper-proof and creating a paper trail. They will continue to fight all attempts to end gerrymandering. They will continue to fight the expansion of voting hours and the number of polling places. They will continue to fight automatic voter registration. They will continue to fight any efforts to limit the dirty money used to buy elections. And they will continue to fight any attempt to eliminate or modify the Electoral College.

They will fight these things because they have seen the studies that show a clear majority of Americans favor Democratic policies. They see the increases in voters of color. And they know free and fair elections will make them a minority for generations.

Stop Blaming Bush?

On today’s edition of The Diane Rehm Show on NPR, a conservative asked the question, “Can we all admit that this is no longer George W. Bush’s economy?” It’s a fair question. We are, after all, about to begin the sixth year of the Obama administration. So I, for one, am more than willing to concede the point. Even though Bush’s policies crashed the economy, slashing federal revenue through tax cuts for the wealthy and leaving us mired in two unfunded wars with annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion along with massive unemployment, this is no longer Bush’s economy.

It is now quite clearly President Obama’s.

So let’s review what has happened over the past five years. To begin, President Obama signed a stimulus plan that helped stem the bleeding. He gave loans to GM and Chrysler to save the US auto industry and tens of thousands of jobs. He withdrew troops from Iraq and has promised to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan this year. He lifted American spirits by giving the order to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. He expanded health care access to millions more Americans and stemmed out-of-control inflation of health care costs.

Under President Obama, we have seen a consistent rise in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the stock markets. At the same time, we have seen a substantial drop in umemployment despite substantial cuts to the number of employees at all levels of government. Finally, under President Obama, we have seen the most rapid drop in the federal deficit in modern history!

And most of this has been accomplished despite a recalcitrant GOP-led House that would have us believe that the way to deal with a struggling economy is to cut federal spending and revenues. Counter to the advice of most every economist, the Teapublicans in Congress have voted against bills that would create jobs, bills that would rebuild infrastructure while interest rates are at historic lows, and programs that stimulate the economy while helping those who most need it.

So, yes indeed. This is President Obama’s economy. And it would be even better if the GOP would get out of the way!