By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist
Michael Cohen’s book, the forward of which he just released, won’t change anything; won’t shake loose a single Trump voter.
For all of Trump’s “presidency,” we’ve been given every reason to believe it. Plain observation has made clear who Trump is and has always been. Lying about Russia deals? No surprise. Slimy sexual peccadillos? Of course. He’s bragged about it. Tax evasion, mob deals, threats, hush money. It’s his lifelong modus operandi. It’s why those of us who voted against him, voted against him. Clearly, it’s why those who voted for him did what they did. No one was unaware.
In Cohen’s book, we can expect confirmations, not surprises.
But let’s assume everything in the book is fake news. It’s Cohen, not Trump, who’s the pathological liar. We know of thousands of Trump’s lies and none from Mr. Cohen since he found a conscience, but we weren’t there. We are here, though, bearing witness to the most dangerous, un-American, dictatorial acts any president, or in this case, “president,” has committed.
There’s never been a greater threat to our country; not wars, not al-Qaida, not ISIS, not even Putin’s Russia. We’re on the precipice of allowing dictatorship. Happening in plain sight, it’s with the de facto approval, by their silence, of the Republican Party; the party of patriots. The party of tough-guys, armed and Kevlared to protect our freedoms against a dictatorial government. The party of Moscow Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham; Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
We speak of Trump’s unbelievable — except it’s Trump — attack on the U.S. Postal Service, to prevent mail-in voting. Not just his repetitive lies; he’s defunding and physically destroying it, having mail-sorting machines dismantled, mailboxes pulled out of the ground and hauled away. Seeing video of trucks carrying those boxes is looking back at the USSR; it’s Tiananmen Square, Hungary in 1956. These are the acts of a dictator, strong-arming to retain power by whatever means necessary; a man who believes in nothing America stands for, nothing but himself and maintaining the position he knows he never deserved.
Now is when democracy lives or dies. For voting is the ultimate and only check individual citizens have on an out-of-control autocrat like Trump. If he takes it away, which is what he’s literally doing by taking away the means, it’s over. The unthinkable will have happened. After months of lying that it’s Democrats who are “rigging” the election, setting the stage for his brainwashed supporters to reject the result if he loses, he’s rigging it for real. In plain sight. If he loses, Trumpists won’t accept the results, based on his lies. If he wins by forcing this kind of brazen cheating, Democrats will understand it was a coup, based on reality. There will be, however, nothing they can do. Because if it’s allowed to happen, Trump will have already burned the Constitution forever, with the complicity of everyone who voted for him. There will be no recourse, because there will be no law and no order.
Republicans and Trumpists must, finally, ask themselves, do they care about real American greatness or not? Will they accept a dictator and the end of meaningful elections because they share the same hatreds, or will they find the courage, the integrity, to say this is too much, even for them? If witnessing this destruction of voting rights, though it’s intended to disenfranchise only people whose politics they don’t like, doesn’t shake them to the core, there was never a core.
It’s not just voters; it’s McConnell and Graham, Susan Collins and Ted Cruz, Jim Jordon and every other Republican in Congress, all of whom but one let this dangerous, impeached “president” remain in office. If none of them demands an end to his attempt on the life of our democratic republic, even though they’ve spent years doing their own brand of somewhat milder voter-suppression, they’re traitors, every single one.
Trump’s pandemic response, allowing unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands and tanking our economy, is incompetence and stupidity, but likely survivable. Disenfranchising tens of millions is purely evil, and, for a democracy, fatal. People who don’t see it are blind; those who excuse it may as well stiff-arm the sky.
Michael Cohen says Trump will stop at nothing to retain power. Turns out he’s the one telling the truth, after all. The question is whether Republicans care. The answer, it appears, is, of course not. Can it happen here? It is.
Email Sid Schwab at email@example.com.