Monday, October 30, 2017

The Only Solution to a Trump/Russia Coup Is to Replay the 2016 Election

The following is never going to happen...but it should.

I was struck by the juxtaposition of two news stories today. The first was the story of the indictment against Paul Manafort for what was termed a “conspiracy against the United States.” The second was a story that Donald Trump’s approval rating as President had dropped yet again, this time to 38%, a Nixonian level and an apt one: it was the nation’s 37th President who was the last one to conspire so brazenly for his own benefit against the greater good of the country. The difference between Trump and Nixon, though, is simple: while Nixon conspired against some of his fellow Americans, Trump conspired against all of us, if the allegations against Manafort and others yet to come are proved. It’s as simple and blunt as this: he committed treason, using a foreign power to steal the Presidency of the United States.

Richard Nixon was forced to resign his office in order to avoid impeachment for his crimes. As the nation’s reaction to his pardon by Gerald Ford showed, though, this did not seem quite enough to Americans at the time: we wanted him to pay even more dearly for despoiling the greatest office on earth. Ford’s pardon robbed us of our chance to see him on trial, to hear more of the truth, and Ford paid dearly for that, being denied an elected Presidency of his own.

What, then, would be the current outcome of this horrific mess, should it all play out as it well may, with indictments following indictments, with verdicts that prove that collusion with our enemy did in fact occur and that Trump’s campaign knew about it, with the possibility of an indictment against the President himself? We know our timid, self-aggrandizing Republican Congress, too happy with their current majority status, will do nothing about him, so that role goes to the courts, but what then? It would be an unprecedented situation in the history of this country: an election that was stolen by foreign conspiracy, by treason. There is, quite simply, no Constitutional remedy for it. Every single part of Trump’s White House is tainted by connection to him since none of them would be there had he not done what he did; thus, ordinary Constitutional law does not apply. This was, in all reality, a coup. It calls for something extra-Constitutional.

Proof of conspiracy would call not only for the removal of Donald Trump but the negation of the entire 2016 Presidential election. Period. There can be no halfway solution to this terrifying situation: if a person or party is allowed to steal an election and then be forced out of office, leaving his entire cabinet and platform intact, the coup still remains in effect. No: the situation is unprecedented. As in South Korea last year, when its president was indicted and forced out of office, a new election must take place as soon as possible. Until then, the result of 2016 must be negated completely. All Trump appointees must be removed from office, up to and including Justice Neil Gorsuch, as they are all, in legal terms, fruits of the poisoned tree. It all must be replayed.

Until it is, though, we will need a President. And the Constitution does come into play for that. Paul Ryan, as Speaker of the House, is next in line for the office after the White House is returned to mainstream America. A new election could likely be held within several months, and Ryan is certainly capable of holding things together for that amount of time without creating any new crisis. The election couldn’t be done in the same way we usually hold them, with endless primaries and conventions, etc. But why does it need to? Let it be done in the style other countries use: candidates can throw their names into the ring, have six weeks to campaign followed by a debate and an election, followed by a run-off between the top vote-getters. It’s not rocket science; we make it way too complicated (which is why we make it so expensive).

This solution may seem absurd. But once again I point out: a coup of the highest office of the United States of America may have occurred. If so, surely there is no potential solution that should be dismissed as absurd. And one that wipes out the coup entirely and then relies on the American democratic system to replace it, I would argue, is not absurd at all; it is elegant. Within months, we would be up and running again, all of this behind us except whatever trials remain.

Therefore, if the Russian conspiracy is proved, we must replay the 2016 election. It is the only reasonable action we can take. It is the only truly democratic and American action we can take.
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Anonymous said...

I just read your HuffPo piece about Al Franken.

Let me see if I've got this straight:

A person who lived as a man into midlife, did not grow up experiencing routine sexual harassment or sexual devaluation, and was willing to use another woman's life -- without permission -- to cover her own sense that she was living out the wrong gender, is now saying that women are taking all this ass-grabbery much too seriously and should recognize what a *bonus* of a dude Al Franken is.

I not only think you're deeply wrong, I think you're making the TERFs' case for them. Are you actually listening to anything you're saying there?

Karen Topham said...

At least I said what I said and signed my name to it.

But let's backtrack: do you think that I was not routinely harassed and devalued for the first twenty years of my life, being someone different from the norm? If so, you didn't live my life. Oh, but wait: you didn't, did you? So how would you also know to believe (erroneously) that my ex-wife did not know of my gender issues from the start? She did, but she believed, as I did, that I had them under control. Still, your point is interesting to me: I've never considered that I might have been "using her life" to cover my dysphoria; I'm not sure how that was possible when I thought it to be permanently controlled, but at some point I will speak with her on that issue to see how she feels about it.

As to Al Franken:

I never argued that he is a great guy. In fact, I believe that my article says the exact opposite: that he deserves castigation. However, it also says, and I have said this before, that we need to keep some perspective. If Franken had pulled out his business and masturbated in front of these women, then he should resign yesterday. If he had coerced them into sex, same thing. If he had shown any kind of life-long proclivity to demean women, we could talk. But instead we have dozens of women who have worked near him on SNL and in the Senate saying what a good person he is and a few outliers saying that a former comic—while he was still a comic—couldn't control a grabby hand. All I'm arguing is that the preponderance of evidence *in this case* suggests that this man might be someone we should keep around instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and that as liberals we tend to be a whole lot more willing to do that than conservatives.

I appreciate your disagreement; that is what we do in a civilized society: disagree civilly. And I also appreciate your not stooping to insult my gender either directly or indirectly just *because* you disagree. I did realize when I penned that article that I was leaving myself open for TERF attacks, but as a woman and as a human being I have as much right to my opinion as anyone else.

Anonymous said...

You know, that's not at all how you've described your marriage, or your decision to marry, elsewhere. But whatever.

Of course you have a right to your opinion. But you may notice how many trans men discuss the wild boost in privilege they got after transitioning. Do you think it's possible, just possible, that despite the abuse you got as an apparent man, you were still being treated *far better* and with *far more respect* than you'd have been treated had you grown up looking like and labeled as a girl and young woman? Your abuse came because you weren't holding up the brand: all you had to do -- however impossible for you personally -- was "do your bit". And you'd have gotten all the prizes. That is never a possibility for girls and women, in that game. And those of us who grow up that way learn it the whole way through.

Please do not tell me that grabass is "bathwater". I know what it is. I know what it says. I've learned that one since I was a kid. I still live it as a single mom who just has to endure that shit at work from guys making four times what I do. They don't play those games just because they're so hot for me. They do it because they want me to know my place. And you know what? I do. I don't have any choice about that. That is in fact part of why they make four times what I do. They're pretty careful about making sure I don't get level with them, that it's mostly men at the top, women in the cheap seats.

Here's how I know this "overreaction" is the right direction: I was in the store today, and I saw a guy who, years ago, was a friend and then a boss, and then he decided he was going to try to make a play, maneuver me into a spot, take advantage of the fact that he could give me a job or not in a truly grody way. I refused; he fired me, and he had a whole speech ready for me about who wasn't going to believe me. At the time, he was right. Today? Today he'd be in trouble. Today he might still be in trouble should I choose to open my mouth. And today that dude couldn't run away from me fast enough in the store. He knows what the environment is.

It's important that the consequences exist. Al did some great work as a senator. Cool. I was crushed for all of 20 minutes about that -- and then I shrugged, because he's also replaceable.

You signed your name, incidentally, as a retired person. You have enough, somehow, to be retired. Do not belittle people who are more vulnerable than you are economically, and responsible for others, for speaking anonymously.

Karen Topham said...

Clearly you are someone who either knows me or has been reading and/or listening to me for a long time. I feel at a disadvantage. Ah, well; it doesn't really matter. I suppose you refer here to my frequently made flippant comment that I found a girlfriend because that's what guys do. Well, that is true, but I *got married* because we both found that we were copacetic, which is why I can honestly say I didn't feel I was using her in any way. We were two young people who believed we loved each other and that we could live together happily; that's why anyone gets married.

I don't disagree with your first ¶'s premise. But I'd like to point out that even you seem to understand that, as you state, it was "impossible" for me to reach out and grab the privilege that unfortunately does come with my assigned birth sex. In that way, of course, your final line in that ¶ is as true for me as for any cis female. None of us ever had a chance.

I am very glad that we are suddenly living in an age in which the harassers and abusers are being called to task. They should be. My only points, and I continue to argue that they are valid, are that (A) liberals and conservatives treat such people in vastly different ways and this will inevitably result in a further imbalance in favor of conservatives, and (B) they may all be bad but there are gradations of bad. Just as some crimes are worse than others and some sins are worse than others, some kinds of harassment are worse than others. And context, like it or not, counts. It appears that Franken was not so much abusing power as being idiotic and juvenile, remnants of the profession he had lived in for decades. The same cannot be said of any of the others we've heard about this fall. Now it is not in any way acceptable to do what he did even when one is acting in an idiotic and juvenile manner—not when one is 15 and certainly not when one is 55—but I think we need to take a cue from the victims themselves. I have not heard from the others, but the first one has accepted his apology and forgiven him. I'm really not sure we even have the *right* to be more insistent of harsh punishment than the victim.

Two other points: I think it is at least a little bit instructive (for me) to note that you are the very first woman who has stated a disagreement with me. All others who have commented publicly or privately have agreed. I'm sure, of course, that there are many others; indeed I expected it. And perhaps they are even the majority; it would not surprise me. As I said, this is my opinion and does not need to be yours. I'm just finding it interesting that the vast majority of those who have commented thus far have agreed.

And about the anonymity thing: I would have signed my name whether retired or not. I have been signing my name since long before retirement. And BTW I worked forty years to have enough to retire. I'm not sure that warrants a "somehow." I guess my earlier comment was mostly a puzzlement: you did not say anything, at least in your first post, that could be construed as potentially damaging, so I couldn't see the need to hide behind anonymity. I mean the only one who could reasonably take offense was me, and I'm certainly not in any position of power. :-)


it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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