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The system has failed

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, featured speakers at the 2020 Republican National Convention

The system has failed: and not partially, not ambiguously, not provisionally, but completely, now. The system has failed because this man is president, and the only eject button is behind glass that takes way too long to break, and may not work anyway:

President Donald Trump’s darkly portentous campaign message came into stark focus Monday as he launched his most intensive campaign swing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, warning of “fascist” Democrats with a “Trojan horse” candidate during stops in the Upper Midwest.

The dire warnings — reliant on false information and racist tropes — foreshadowed a bitter fall campaign as Trump seeks to reverse a slide in the polls. And they presaged a drawn out post-election battle as Trump preempted a potential loss with warnings of fraud.

“The only way we’re going to lose this election is if this election is rigged,” he said during a stop in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the second of several battleground events he is using this week to counterprogram the Democrats’ all-digital convention.

Over the past week, Trump’s attempts at shoring up his political standing have taken on a frantic and often conspiratorial energy, including attempts to limit mail-in voting by refusing new funding for the post office, racist and sexist attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden’s new running mate and persistent unfounded warnings that November’s vote will be rigged.

He appeared to inject a new scheme meant to deprive him of a second term on Monday: a “deep state” he is concerned might announce a coronavirus vaccine on November 4 — the day after the election.

“I don’t need that,” he said during his late-afternoon speech in Wisconsin.

Yet it was his declaration that a loss in November could only come as a result of election fraud that was the most startling. Trump has previously warned of a “rigged election,” including on Monday morning as he issued unfounded warnings about mail-in voting and drop boxes for ballots. Combined with a declaration that his loss would only be a result of cheating, Trump is giving voice to Democratic fears that he will refuse to accept the election results.

Elsewhere in his speech, Trump said he should be granted a “redo” on his first term, alleging falsely that his first campaign was spied upon by the previous administration. And at another point, he joked that he may remain in office for “16, 20” years.

Though made in jest, those remarks only fuel the impression that Trump is preparing, at a minimum, to challenge November’s results if they do not show him winning.

Taken together, the remarks suggest Trump is actively working to undermine the results of an election that polls currently show him losing.Leaning heavily on the “law and order” mantle he adopted in the wake of racially charged protests earlier this summer, Trump declared Monday it was “crunch time” for a campaign that many of his advisers have been urging him to focus on more intently as Election Day nears.

He escalated his attacks on Biden to dramatic new levels as he hopes to blunt whatever bounce his rival might enjoy from this week’s convention.”Do you want to be ruled by the radical left-wing mob or do you want to stand tall as free men and women in the greatest country on Earth?” Trump asked, echoing equally pessimistic remarks earlier Monday in Minnesota.

“We’re going to have an election that is all about the survival of the nation,” Trump told a crowd that had gathered inside an airport hangar south of Minneapolis for a scaled-down version of one of his signature rallies.

“Joe Biden is the puppet of left-wing extremists trying to erase our borders, eliminate our police, indoctrinate our children, vilify our heroes, take away our energy,” Trump added, claiming Biden was looking to “replace American freedom with left-wing fascism.””Fascists,” he said. “They are fascists.”

This is the natural conclusion of more than half a century of hysterical propaganda fueling the bottomless paranoia of white people who have spent their whole lives feeling “their” country slowly slipping away from them.

We’ve never been anywhere even remotely like this before as a nation. Even Richard Nixon never came within a parsec of this level of authoritarian rhetoric in private, let alone right out in the open.

Trump could and should be impeached and removed for these statements alone, and would be in a tolerably functioning political system, which we again clearly no longer have.

The checks don’t check and the balances don’t balance any more. What’s left is triage. The United States as a liberal democracy might survive, or the Republican party might, but both can’t, not in anything like their present forms. One or the other must be destroyed utterly, and will be, one way or another.

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