Are We Really Gonna Debate Mark Milley’s World-Saving Actions While Trump Actively Steals The 2024 Election?
During the final kicking-and-screaming days of Donald Trump's presidency, were the only options either a military coup or a madman killing us all with nukes? If so, that's the worst Choose Your Own Adventure ever.
My ideal scenario would've involved Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley resigning publicly and declaring Trump an existential threat that would require either his Cabinet removing him through the 25th Amendment or Congress kicking him to the curb through its own constitutional remedy. That was also my preference when self-described “senior official in the Trump administration" Miles Taylor published his-then anonymous op-ed supposedly “reassuring" us that the unelected grownups in the room were picking and choosing which of Trump's awful orders to follow. Milley could've mentioned at the time that Trump wanted to shoot Black Lives Matter protesters in the leg.
We understand why they both considered mild-to-moderate coup-ing more productive than resigning: The problem isn't just Trump. The Republican Party is wholly corrupt and would've rallied behind Trump and looked the other way as MAGA forces and Fox News smeared and threatened anyone who dared suggest the emperor had no sanity. Some performative tweets expressing mild concern from the few MSNBC-friendly Republicans wouldn't have prevented a Dr. Strangelove ending to the human experiment.
And we can't ignore the reality that American voters mostly suck, specifically the clear majority of white folks who thought another Trump term was preferable to Kamala Harris single-handedly defunding the police. The plausible threat Trump posed paled next to all those fake ones from Democrats.
Now, the very same Republicans who said we needed to move on and let the nation heal after Trump's first failed coup are demanding harsher action against Milley, who helped prevent it.
Here's Senator Rand Paul accusing Milley of trying to overturn a democratic election. Paul is the same asshole who refused to say the 2020 election wasn't stolen, even after a violent insurrection where a delusional woman was killed.
Rand Paul, without a shred of irony: "We have elections. We can't have generals overturning elections." https://t.co/6IrvbUHlgE— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1631710093.0
Senator Marco Rubio, the GOP's emptiest suit, is so shocked and appalled by Milley's actions he's also demanding his resignation. He's seemingly unmoved by recent reports that Mike Pence, the sitting vice president, struggled with the complex legal dilemma of whether he could unilaterally toss out the results of an election he'd personally lost. Fortunately, esteemed "Murphy Brown" critic Dan Quayle reminded him how the Constitution works.
Republicans are probably pissed with Milley because unlike them, he wasn't a loyal foot soldier in Trump's attack on democracy, which is still ongoing. Judd Legum, Tesnim Zekeria, and Rebecca Crosby at Popular Information correctly observed that the January 6 attack never ended.
Nurturing political support for false voter fraud claims is one part of Trump's 2024 strategy. [ ... ]
It's unclear whether Trump will run again in 2024. In the meantime, Trump is using his political clout to try to make sure the people administering elections in key states are sympathetic to his claims of fraud — no matter how baseless.
Mainstream media continues to underestimate Trump's threat. Republicans want us to worry more about the precedent Milley set rather than the precedent Trump set, which is that Republicans can cry “fraud" when they don't win elections (even in fucking California) and those baseless claims can justify overturning the results.
Trump recently endorsed Mark Finchem for Arizona Secretary of State. Finchem promotes the Big Lie and tweeted just this month: "I am calling it. Between the preliminary audit results and the private canvass, I call on Arizona to decertify the election of 2020 and recall the electors. There is already enough evidence to show clear and convincing fraud. We have a duty to act." Echoing Trump's own repugnant words, Finchem has described the January 6 attack as "[w]hat happens when the people feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud." This man wants to control Arizona's elections.
House Rep. Jody Hice from Georgia voted to overturn Biden's Electoral College victory and because there were no real consequences for sedition, he's running against Georgia's current Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger with Trump's full support.
Last week, Trump backed Kristina Karamo for Michigan Secretary of State. She insists Trump won Michigan, which he lost by more than 150,000 votes, and has appeared at Big Lie rallies with My Pillow CEO and local crackpot Mike Lindell.
Trump is actively removing the guardrails that prevented him from overturning last year's presidential election. “Winning" Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan would've guaranteed Trump a second term. When the guardrails break, what should decent people do? According to Milley's critics ... nothing. These aren't just the disingenuous claims from Republican bad actors but otherwise respectable Americans who are concerned about “precedent." However, we can reasonably trust that Milley would faithfully serve an honest president, but no future election could ever be honest enough to prevent Trump from stealing it. That's the active threat that most demands our attention.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."