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Wednesday, September 23, 2020


by George Held

“The worst case,” [Barton] Gellman writes [in The Atlantic], “is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him.” Merely by refusing to concede, Trump could keep the electoral result in doubt through the 79-day period between Election Day and the day the next president is to be inaugurated. Gellman's reporting shows that Republicans are already discussing plans to bypass the popular vote and directly appoint electors to the Electoral College. This could lead the country to a precipice: Two men could show up to be sworn in on Inauguration Day. “One of them,” Gellman writes, “would arrive with all the tools and power of the presidency already in hand.” —Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor, The Atlantic in today’s email to subscribers releasing the magazine’s November cover story.

 ...the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote... 
—Twelfth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

The sound of horse-drawn tumbrils
Echoes in DuPont Circle 
Punctuated by the chop of the guillotine 
As the heads of the opposition fall—
the chairs of the most strategic committees,
ranking members of others,
obstreperous heads of key organizations... 
The death of the most influential liberal
Justice and her replacement
By another grim rightist ideologue 
Have opened the sluice gates
Of reprisal and crimson revenge. 
The Orange Duce is often smiling
As good fortune shines upon him,
Death having opened a decisive seat
On the Supreme Court—never more supreme
Than when handing down death—and then
As prescribed by the Twelfth Amendment,
He receives another term in what will be
The last election, election for life.
So, set in motion by his hippo
Of a compliant attorney general,
Who gets the Orange Man’s code— 
No translator needed—his bizarre fantasy
Of a return to the terror of the sans culottes
Haunts official Washington and the entire country,
Like a corporeal rendition of the Four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse,
Every night at 5 on Fox TV, kicked off
By a pep rally and boastful remarks
By the Orange Man in Chief,
The tumbrils roll and the glistening blade falls
While, in the continuing pandemic,
The maskless base howls in visceral support.
A longtime contributor to The New Verse News, George Held plans to vote in 2020.