Right now, Joe Biden seems poised to defeat Donald Trump in November. The former vice president has been consistently leading the incumbent in the polls and it seems that every day that passes finds Trump embroiled in some shocking new scandal. Last week, it was revealed that the referred to fallen U.S. soldiers as “suckers” and losers.” This week, we found out that Trump intentionally misled the American public about the risks of COVID-19, choosing to downplay the danger even as he confided in private to Bob Woodward that it was “deadly stuff.”
The astonishing thing is that these heinous revelations—which in a normal, functioning democracy would completely disqualify Trump and make it impossible for him to win reelection—have not managed to turn the entire country against this man. The MAGA movement is so far removed from reality and anything that could be traditionally referred to as morality that there seems to be no crime, no degradation that can turn Trump supporters against their cult leader president. Consequently, there is still a chance that the worst president in American history could win another four years.
There’s also a nonzero chance, given the Republican Party’s penchant for voter suppression, Trump’s efforts to end mail-in voting, and the GOP’s refusal to stand up to foreign interference, that this election’s results could end up looking illegitimate and in dispute. If that happens, there’s no real telling what will happen.
Presumably, protestors will take to the streets, which in turn could incite right-wing militias to descend on urban areas to counter-protest, lighting a fuse that could end in any number of ways. There’s also a chance a Biden win could drive the MAGA crowd, which has embraced numerous unhinged conspiracy theories, to lash out violently.
In a new interview with Fox’s Jeanine Piro set to air this weekend, Trump spoke ominously of November. While discussing how he intends to respond to “rioting” that might spring up if he wins he painted an ominous picture.
“We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that,” said Trump, discussing his political enemies as if they were sick animals about to be euthanized. “We have the right to do that. We have the power to do that, if we want. Look, it’s called insurrection. We just send in, and we do it very easy. I mean, it’s very easy. I’d rather not do that because there’s no reason for it, but if we had to, we’d do that and put it down within minutes,” he went on.
Since it’s Trump, we know that he is more than willing to do as he says when it comes to naked authoritarianism. When the George Floyd protests broke out he encouraged a wave of police brutality all across the country. In D.C., he deployed the National Guard and used heavily armed law enforcement agents to gas, beat, and disperse peaceful protestors. He clearly cannot be trusted with this kind of power and the only way to ensure he’s stripped of it is to mobilize en masse and show up at the ballot box in such overwhelming numbers that Joe Biden wins a historic victory, Trump is humiliated, and the MAGA movement is consigned to the dustbin of history.
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.