Election 2020 #13

Mob Boss Involved in Drive-by

Upon learning that the President had contracted COVID-19, most of us wished him well. After all, our country’s President was suffering with a potentially deadly disease. For many of us, that sympathy ended on the evening of Sunday, October 4th, when the President left Walter Reed Military Hospital to bask in the adoration of his supporters.

On the evening of Monday, October 5th, the still infectious President left the hospital, returned to the White House, walked slowly up the two flights of stairs leading from ground level to the balcony, removed his mask, and struck his best Benito Mussolini pose for a photo-op. Here’s how The Lincoln Project portrayed the event:

The Trumpist Mob

Much of the Federal Administration, and most of those members of the Senate and House of Representatives who call themselves Republicans have been seduced into a cult of personality. The Trumpist Cult is organized much like a criminal mob.[1]

The structure of the Trumpist mob is more complicated, but is essentially the same.

President Trump is clearly “The Boss”. The rest of the mob is so afraid of him that many of them may have sacrificed their political lives to remain loyal. A few have completely reversed the positions they espoused in 2016. It is appropriate that his name is “Don Trump”.[2]

As Attorney General of the United States, William Barr certainly has the role of Councilor. More importantly to “The Boss”, he is very good at the job of “Fixer”. Trump was very upset when his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from overseeing the Mueller Investigation. The President got his “Roy Cohn” in Bill Barr … an Attorney General willing to violate his oath of office whenever it helps “The Boss”.

Vice President Michael Pence is a lesser “Councilor”. He is a bit of a “Yes Man” … willing to agree with and spread the lies that maintain the mob’s status and the Boss’s public image. He is willing to take on whatever sham or menial task that the Boss requires of him. Perhaps he hopes to be given control of the mob someday. He seems to have forgotten that “The Boss” has adult children.

Bill Barr and Mike Pence assist the Boss in maintaining the public image and power of the mob. They help him to appear to be a fine, upstanding, and honored member of the larger community. Handling the real work of the mob … including dealing with competing mobs … is the job of “The Underboss”. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is Underboss of the Trumpist Mob.

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died more than 8 months before the 2016 Presidential election, who led Senate Republicans in their refusal to even consider Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nomination to the Court? When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died fewer than 8 weeks before the 2020 Presidential election, who pushed for a pre-election hearing … and possibly a full Senate approval for … President Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett? Who has vowed to block all Democratic proposals after the 2020 election saying, “Think of me as the Grim Reaper”? If you answered “Mitch McConnell” (or “The Underboss”) to all three questions, you were correct.

In many ways, Mitch McConnell is more dangerous than Donald Trump. The President is a confidence artist … a snake-oil salesman … and not that smart. Senator McConnel is an unscrupulous manipulator who would make Machiavelli proud.

The Caporegimes (or “Lieutenants”) of the Trumpist Mob are the Committee Chairs. There are 16 standing committees and 2 select or special committees in the Senate. Six of the standing committees and one special committee are chaired by Republican Senators who are either seeking re-election or retiring.

Those Senators are:

  • Pat Roberts of Kansas who chairs the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry is retiring.
  • Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma is chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
  • Mike Enzi of Wyoming is in charge of the Budget Committee. He is retiring.
  • The Foreign Relations Committee is chaired by Jim Risch of Idaho.
  • Retiring Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee heads the Committee responsible for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • Lindsey Graham’s Judiciary Committee became busy on Monday, October 12th. The Senator from South Carolina is chairing the hearings for Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
  • Susan Collins of Maine chairs the Special Committee on Aging.

The seats held by Pat Roberts, Mike Enzi, and Lamar Alexander are particularly interesting. There is no incumbent in these three seats. The Senate of the 116th Congress is composed of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and 2 Independents.[3] If Senators Roberts, Enzi, and Alexander were to be replaced by Democrats or Independents, the 117th Senate would be 50-50.

There are 15 more Republican candidates seeking re-election.

The seats of Martha McSally of Arizona and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia are special elections. Each was appointed to fill the seat of a Senator who did not complete his full term.[4] Whoever wins these contests will not have to wait until January 3, 2021 to be sworn into the 117th Senate. The winner of each contest could be sworn into the 116th Congress as early as the end of November 2020. If both are replaced by Democrats, the 116th Senate would be split 51-49. This could affect the final vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

The last members of President Trump’s Federal Crime Family are five “Hitmen” embedded in the House of Representatives.

Kevin McCarthy is the House Minority Leader. His job is to coordinate Republican efforts in the House of Representatives. Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes are the ranking members of the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee respectively. Matt Gaetz and Louie Gohmert are street fighters who spend a lot of time simply spreading chaos.

It’s Time for Them to Go

Election 2020 #10, #11, and #12 have shown that the Trump Mob ignores the law and wants to replace it with the personal dictates of “The Boss”. President Trump and the members of his cult in both houses of Congress have little or no concern for anything or anyone that does not increase their power. wealth, and control. This not the government of the United States of America. It is at best an oligarchy and at worst a dictatorship.

Between 1775 and 1783, our forebears[5] fought a war to win freedom from a grasping, arrogant, and somewhat insane king. Our 237 year effort “to form a more perfect Union” has not always been easy nor consistent, but we have made progress. We cannot allow our hard-won gains to fall to a similar despot now. In the 18th Century, we were forced to fight with our weapons and our lives. In the 21st Century, we must fight with our votes.

Because of the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Election Day has become Election Season. Many of us have voted already. Many more have yet to vote. “The Boss” is not even trying to hide his efforts to suppress voting. His Postmaster General has tried to dismantle the Postal Service. He has encouraged his thugs to go to polling places and “watch the ballots” … knowing that his most favored thugs carry guns. He has even implied that he will have the Court declare him winner if he loses the vote.

The President continues to insist that mail-in voting is somehow different from absentee voting … and, is a major source of voter fraud. Neither is true … although the Republican party in California is doing its best to change that.

Whether you choose the rule of the Mob or the rule of Law, it is absolutely imperative that you vote for the candidate of your choice at ALL levels of government on your ballot.

In addition to the President, this election includes all seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the Senate, and many, many state and local offices. Although you may never notice how or when, the person elected to each of these offices will touch your life in some way.

Returning to the Federal level, let’s look at how possible outcomes may affect our nation. This table shows likely long-term results of 12 possible outcomes of the 2020 Federal elections.

The table is based on which party controls each house of Congress[6] and which of the candidates of the two major parties wins the Presidency. In a democracy, moving forward requires a functioning legislative branch. In recent decades, Congress has become dysfunctional whenever one party controls the House and the other controls the Senate. When the legislature is dysfunctional, the style of the President will controls the nation.

Donald Trump’s style seems to be rule by spreading chaos. Joe Biden’s style seems to be leading by persuasion in order to reach cooperation. If the House and Senate are controlled by different parties, President Trump will create chaos and President Biden would be caught in a stalemate. In either case, the country will not move forward and may slide backward.

If both the House and the Senate were controlled by the Republican Party, a Trump Presidency would be rule by the Trumpist Mob … a Dictatorship.[7] If Biden were President, stalemate is likely, but not guaranteed. Many Republicans in both houses were legislators before they became seduced by “Don Trump’s” promise of limitless power. Without the chaos-bringer, they might be able to work with the President on goals supported by both parties … like fixing our country’s infrastructure.

If the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress a stalemate is almost certain. President Trump’s despotic tendencies would be neutered … except for his veto power Similarly, a Congress controlled by Democrats is likely to work well with a President of their own party.

Finally, we have the highly unlikely situations where one party or the other would have 67% control over both houses of Congress. 67% is a veto-proof majority. If a party has a veto-proof majority … and general agreement among the members of that party … in both houses, the Congress can take back any part of the power they have given to the President over the past 237 years. This could be a good thing or a very bad thing. It would move the government closer to the balance that the framers of the Constitution seem to have intended. It could also move the country much farther to the right or left than the country’s citizens might like. Federal politicians are almost certainly more polarized than the average across our general population.

That Man Behind the Curtain[8]

In most of my articles, I hide behind the first person plural with an occasional passive voice thrown in. Sometimes, I become so absorbed in doing my best as a writer that I forget that this website is “My Less than Humble Opinion”. If I’m doing a good job as a writer, it’s possible that some of my readers forget too. The rest of what I have to say is too important and too urgent to risk any confusion.

Sometimes I just don’t understand how Donald Trump was elected President in the first place. Why would so many people vote for a man who is so obviously a phony and a bully? Am I so naive that I didn’t notice that most Americans admire phonies and bullies? Is it possible that so many people hate Hillary Clinton that they’d choose Donald Trump? Were the Democrats and Hilary’s other supporters so convinced that they had a sure thing that they didn’t campaign or vote? Did the Republican Party sell its soul in exchange for power?

I’m not suggesting that Donald Trump is the Devil. The Devil is smarter, better looking, a more effective liar … and, his clothes fit.

President Trump is not even a businessman. At best, he’s a salesman in the tradition of a sideshow barker or the stereotypical “used car salesman”. His only product is Donald Trump. He will latch on to any hair-brained scheme or wild conspiracy theory that he believes will make him the center of attention. There’s an Internet meme that explains Trump well.[9]

Trump’s nonsense didn’t start when he descended that escalator in 2015. From buildings with his name in huge letters around the world to sticking his nose in the Central Park Jogger Case; from “The Apprentice” to birtherism; from bankruptcies and lawsuits to scams like the Trump Foundation and Trump University, “The Donald” has been doing his rich man. strong man, smart man act for more than 30 years … and, been laughed at behind his back by real rich, strong, and smart people. Was 2016 the voters saying, “Let’s let him play President of the United States for 4 years?” Did those who voted for him or didn’t vote against him get a good laugh at the expense of our international standing, our economy, our health, and our ideals?

By the time the polls close on November 3, 2020, each of us who is eligible to vote has a series of choices … perhaps the most important choices most of us will ever make.

Our first choice is to vote. Then, we have a series of choices … which candidates to select and, in many states, how to respond to ballot initiatives. Thanks to Massachusetts having mail-in voting, I was able to make my choices on Tuesday, October 13th. If you have not already done so, …

You must vote!

The Constitution grants you your freedom and the right to vote. By exercising that right, you are protecting the Constitution. YOU are responsible for keeping your freedom.

When you make your choices, keep these points in mind:
  • If you fail to vote or vote for a “protest” candidate who has an extremely low probability of winning, you are voting for whoever actually wins. You have not only abrogated your responsibility; you may have helped to endanger all of us.
  • The person inaugurated as President on January 20, 2021 will be either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. If you don’t like either of them, too bad. Pick the one you find least offensive. [10]
  • In the Senate, you have more freedom of choice. Although the majority of senators are Republicans and Democrats, there are two Independent in the current Senate. Obviously, Independent candidates have a chance of winning a seat in the Senate.
  • The House of Representatives probably is more open to minority parties. Like the Senate, the House is dominated by Democrats and Republicans, but there is one Libertarian Party representative. There are also 5 vacant seats that could provide openings to other minority party candidates.
  • If you are happy with the way Donald Trump has performed his duties as President; if you believed that he has been faithful to his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”, by all means vote for him. If you believe, as I do, that he thinks he is above the law and that Article II gives him the right to do whatever he wants; if you believe that “Don Trump” runs the country like a mob boss who expects absolute loyalty from everyone around him but has loyalty to no one and nothing, vote for Joe Biden.
  • If you want to eliminate the mob, you must break its structure. Without “The Boss” at the head of the mob, “The Underboss” is likely to become even more dangerous. Only the voters of the Commonwealth of Kentucky can eliminate Mitch McConnell … but, if your state’s Republican Senator is seeking re-election and, if she or he has not served the citizens of your state, vote for her or his opponent. If there are 49 or fewer Republicans in the 117th Congress, Mitch McConnell will be Senate Minority Leader.
  • Eliminating “The Boss” and “The Underboss” will definitely slow and hopefully stop the destruction, but our country will still be broken. I believe that it will take at least 2 years of single party control of the Administrative and Legislative branches of the Federal government to recover. Don’t forget about the House of Representatives. A Democratic President and a Democratic Senate with a Republican House would be just as useless as the mirror image of it that we have now.
  • Do not ignore the other races on the ballot. In many states, the lines of Congressional Districts are drawn by state legislatures and/or gubernatorial commissions. Your local officials (state, county, town, etc.) have the most direct effect on your daily life.
  • If your state has any ballot initiatives, do not ignore them. Even non-binding questions have an effect. At the very least, they change the public awareness and conversation.

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

Unless there is some earth-shattering “October Surprise” in the next two weeks, this is my last “Election 2020” article before November 3rd. Whoever you support and whatever you believe, it is absolutely essential that you exercise your right and responsibility to vote. Remember that national polls, while interesting and entertaining, are not the result.

In the case of the President, national polls are almost meaningless. The Electoral College means that state polls related to the Presidential race are more predictive. What matters is which Presidential Candidate wins which states. In 2016, 79,646 votes (0.06% of the total vote) spread across three states made the difference.

Are we a nation based on laws as most of us were taught or are we ruled by a mob anchored in a cult of personality? Election 2020 will provide an answer. Be part of that answer. VOTE!
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End Notes
  1. The chart below came from Google Images. The word “Consigliere” translates into “Councilor”. Neither Google Translate nor Bing Translate could handle the word “Caporegime”, but context seems to imply a leader of a group of soldiers like a “Lieutenant”

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  2. I took the pictures of the members of the Trumpist Mob/Cult from their respective Wikipedia articles. They are probably the official pictures of each member of the “Republican” party currently in the Administration or Congress.

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  3. The Independents, Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, caucus with the Democrats.

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  4. Martha McSally was appointed to temporarily fill the seat vacated by the death of John McCain. Kelly Loeffler is running to complete the last two years of Senator Johnny Isakson who retired for health reasons.

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  5. For some of us, these men and women were literally our ancestors. For most of us, they were the idealists who launched our journey. They did not always live by their ideals, but they had the vision. We are duty-bound to maintain and build upon that vision.

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  6. Not all members of Congress are either Republicans or Democrats, but those who are not typically caucus and vote with colleagues of one of the major parties. It is possible for an even split in the Senate, but not in the House. This article assumes an uneven split in both houses

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  7. While it is true that the Republican Party had control of both houses of the 115th Congress, President Trump had not yet turned the majority of them into mobsters. No doubt losing the House in the 2018 midterm election, helped him win over those Republicans who remained.

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  8. This heading is based on a great line from the movie version of “The Wizard of Oz”. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”


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  9. The first part of the meme is a paraphrase of a statement of Fran Lebowitz in 2016, “He’s a poor person’s idea of a rich person. They see him. They think, ‘If I were rich, I’d have a fabulous tie like that. Why are my ties not made of 400 acres of polyester?’ All that stuff he shows you in his house—the gold faucets—if you won the lottery, that’s what you’d buy.”

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  10. Only one man running as an Independent was ever elected President. His name was George Washington. The closest we’ve ever come to a third party candidate becoming President is in a “re-aligning election” wherein one of the major parties fractures and one of the fragments becomes a new major party The last time that happened was when the Whigs shattered and the Republican fragment’s candidate, Abraham Lincoln, was elected. It’s not certain whether Lincoln’s Republican Party will survive “Trumpism”.

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