Tuesday night’s debate between President Trump and Joe Biden is being hailed by the press as the worst presidential debate in history. Biden did fine, but Trump disgraced himself and the presidency with a performance marked by strings of lies, incendiary rudeness, and repeated attempts to bait his opponent. None of that comes as a surprise.
What was startling to me was Trump’s indication, once again, that he will not accept defeat in the November election. He suggested that mail-in ballots are fraudulent. He shocked me when he called upon Proud Boys, an extreme white-supremist rightwing group that includes violence among its tactics, to defend him: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” He went further: “I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and to watch very carefully because that’s what has to happen.”
Those remarks should set off alarm bells across the land. The president is threatening to use armed force to shape the election and to remain as president even if the election goes against him.
If Trump does indeed attempt to intimidate voters or to hold the presidency by armed force, we are faced with a coup d’etat. If that doesn’t constitute treason, what does?