Saturday, October 15, 2016

Texas Senator's Passivity to Trump's Rigged Election Lies is Just an Example of GOP Weakness

by Nomad

We are in uncharted waters when it comes to this year's election. Clearly, GOP nominee Donald Trump's recent bizarre behavior coupled with a series of sexual misconduct allegations has thrown the Republican Party into a paralyzing panic.
Faced with a political nightmare of an unprecedented scale, they seem too shell-shocked to do much of anything. That's understandable. At no time in American history has a political party faced such a calamity like this.

Meltdown Dwarfing Chernobyl

Trump has said a lot of unnerving things and of late, his remarks go well beyond those of any responsible politician. They go beyond the limits of a public figure. Indeed, some are beginning to say Trump's statements reflect a disturbed mind. 

None of his remarks have been more destructive, in terms of national security, than Trump's repeated claims that the US elections will be rigged. Across the country, he has told his supporters it is a foregone conclusion that Democratic Hillary Clinton will "steal" the election away from him.
As recently as this week, Trump told his supporters that the election could be “stolen” from him, calling on them to “watch other communities” for fraud at the polls.
Nowhere is the confusion greater than in red-state Texas. A recent poll showed something that Republicans could never have thought possible. Trump leads Clinton by a mere four percentage points - with a margin of error of four percent. Technically, that might just mean that Trump and Clinton are neck and neck in- of all places- the Lone Star State. 

Incredibly, The Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the San Antonio Express-News have all endorsed Clinton, a stunning rebuke of Donald Trump's campaign.

Senator Cornyn's Apparent Weakness

Last Friday, Republican senator John Cornyn of Texas demonstrated the precarious tightrope act that Trump has forced Republican to walk. Cornyn should have the reputation to put a stop to all this campaign foolishness. 

His name packs punch. Senator Cornyn previously served as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2007 to 2011. As a Republican leader in the Senate, he has served on various committees such as the Committee on the Budget, the Committee on Finance and on the Committee on the Judiciary. 

And yet, in San Antonio on Friday, Cornyn was forced to talk out of both sides of his mouth for the sake of not offending anybody in his party. With the party hopelessly divided, the senator also tried distance himself from Trump's extremist and unhinged claims. 

On the subject of the supposed rigged election, Cornyn said that he too had concerns about the electoral system?
“Cyber security has obviously been a serious issue and has been for a long time. I do share some concerns about the integrity of the electoral system.”
Was he agreeing with Trump?
Not quite.
He also added that, unlike Trump, he hasn't seen any “grand conspiracy by state actors to try to disrupt our election system.”

Cornyn joins the growing numbers of Republicans say Trump's talk of  rigged election is going a bit too far into wing-nut territory.  
And yet, the senator wasn't ready to be so bold as to actually defy the GOP nominee. He refused to risk a possible backlash from Trump supporters.
“There are going to have to be some facts identified to support that conclusion and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Even as Trump blasted his own party for a lack of leadership, there are precious few in the GOP who have the love of nation and character to reject this particularly absurd conspiracy theories about the election. 
They would rather sidestep any direct confrontation with Trump and change the subject as hastily as possible.

The Mounting Evidence of Treason

The other day, The New Yorker  provided an enlightening timeline of this Trump's rigged election tactic.
Last summer, as Trump’s campaign was ramping up, he reportedly received a thirteen-page strategy memo from a trusted adviser named Roger Stone. One of Stone’s suggestions to Trump was that he should emphasize that the “system is rigged against the citizens.” 
Evidence is mounting that Stone knew well in advance about emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, something that Trump has pounced upon in his speeches to show Clinton’s relationship with big banks and the so-called ‘establishment.’

According to one source:
Stone has made no secret of his relationship with Wikileaks, telling far-right radio host Alex Jones in August that he had “mutual friends” with Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, who he said was "one of the great freedom fighters in the world today.”
That's fairly ironic -even these days when irony has lost its meaning. It was not too long ago when Assange was on every conservative hit list, with calls on Fox News for his extradition and prosecution as a traitor. 

As pointed out in another post, this campaign strategy of conspiratorial rigged elections fits precisely into Russian president Vladimir Putin's game plan of creating as much division, confusion and doubt in the national election as possible.
Not to allow Trump to win, but to split the nation into warring factions after the election.

Experts theorize that this was one explanation for hacking and feeding "shocking" revelations in emails  through Wikileaks. And Wikileaks has provided an ideal site for disseminating carefully calculated disinformation. Disinformation has, in fact, been one of Russian cyber warfare objectives since at least 2000.

If true, then Putin has been extraordinarily successful up to this point. More than half of Trump's angry supporters are convinced the elections will not be fair. 
Salon tried to imagine the post-election scenario and it's a scary one. 
Trump is suggesting that he might not concede the election to Clinton, due to what he’s been describing as a “rigged” system. Meanwhile, Trump’s get-out-the-vote strategy basically involves sending goon squads to polling places in order to make sure voters aren’t casting ballots “five times.”
This idea of self-appointed monitors would be , as it has been pointed out to him, entirely illegal. With a Clinton victory, it could get much uglier than that.
Among the worst cases, Trump won’t concede, as promised. He’ll most likely sue, well, everybody. He’ll challenge the vote in any state in which he’s within three or five points. Maybe he’ll endeavor to manufacture a Bush v. Gore scenario, even if exactly zero legal experts go along. The goal will be to spark an ongoing political circus to delegitimize Clinton’s victory, prompting — and this is the important part — his people to take to the streets outside various boards of elections and other state and local offices to demand recounts and retribution. 
For the sake of the legitimacy of the electoral process. It has been up to the Republican party to - in absolute and unambiguous terms- preempt Trump's irresponsible and seditious ambition. 
Now is the time. After the election, it will be too late.

When courage was needed to save the Republic, Republicans by and large chose to do nothing and allow their party nominee to propagate his hoax, conspiracy theories and outright lies.

Passivity is Not a Texas Virtue

That's not to say that Cornyn hasn't - in a very passive way- rejected the worst of Trump's rhetorical excesses. 

Last week, when the 2005 video emerged in which Trump boasted about sexually assaulting women, and bragged about the unchallenged privileges of being a "star." This was followed by his rather sickening 1992 video of Trump cruising of a ten-year-old girl.    
Senator Cornyn was among the many Republicans who expressed their disgust. 
At least in a tweet.

His revulsion didn't provoke him to un-endorse Trump as his party's nominee. Apparently, Trump's behavior was not abhorrent enough for Cornyn. He later said:
“My position has not changed. I support the nominee of my party, who was not my first choice and obviously was not my second choice, but he is the nominee of my party and that’s more a matter of respect for the voters who cast their ballot for him that I feel an obligation to support the nominee.”
Respecting the will of the people is one thing but too often, voters can be wrong. They can be tricked and lied to, manipulated in all sort of ways. It is up to party leaders and individual members to take a strong role and say, No.
The good people of Texas have, through word and deed, shown their love for strong leadership and for people who choose to take a stand against the conventional wisdom.

It's part of their character to respect the bold and honest. Being wrong is generally forgivable in Texas. Texans have a high tolerance for fools. (This is the state that produce Louie Gohmert, after all.) But being a yellow coward is just not something Texans can put up with.

Senator Cornyn has, like a lot of Republicans, selected the easy way out of this terribley difficult situation. Perhaps he thinks his passivity in the face of Trump's outrageous, un-American and unacceptable behavior,  will win him the admiration of Texans. He might think choosing party loyalty over patriotism is the right thing to do.

But when it comes to the manic immature and destructive Mr.Trump, Cornyn's lack of bravery might just be the undoing of the Party and the nation, itself.