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Trump only has to be lucky once

I was going to take this week off and give my poor, beleaguered laptop keyboard a rest — until I read this. President Trump, it seems, refuses to go quietly and refuses to accept that he lost the election. 

This, by itself, would be unremarkable and perfectly in character for him; in related news, the sun rises in the southeast this time of year, water is very occasionally wet in our parched deserts, the sky is bluish, and so on. Close my laptop lid, turn off the alarm, let me go back to bed. What got my attention was how he’s building an increasingly extreme cadre of loyalists, each wholly disconnected from constitutional principles and reality, each wholly loyal to Donald John Trump, each wholly willing to encourage and push him into violent action — and replacing White House staff with them. 

I know it’s tempting to look at all of this ­— at Sidney Powell being reaccepted into Trump’s legal team, at bringing a freshman congresswoman who believes in QAnon into his inner circle, at former national security adviser Michael Flynn calling for martial law and the seizure of Nevada’s voting machines — as acts of desperate weakness. It’s tempting to sit quietly, laugh, and comfort ourselves with the assumption that this is all sound and fury, that our institutions will hold, that Trump’s temper tantrums will be embarrassing footnotes in history disconnected from administrative or political action. 

However, to paraphrase the Irish Republican Army after their failed assassination attempt on Margaret Thatcher, we and our institutions have to be lucky every time. President Trump, current chief executive of the United States of America, still the most powerful man in the most powerful country on the planet, only has to be lucky once. 

If President Trump is lucky once — if he is able to find just enough supporters or obedient bureaucrats in our existing federal institutions — voting machines in swing states, including Nevada, could be seized and our election results could be overturned. Martial law could be declared. This is what he and his supporters want. All they have to do is keep trying and succeed exactly once. 

That is why we must remove President Trump from office before that happens. We can’t wait for Inauguration Day.

To do so, we must recognize that Trump’s abuses of power are political in nature, not criminal. Thankfully, the authors of our constitutional system correctly assumed our nation’s chief executive might abuse that power and explicitly put into place safeguards and mechanisms to correct them. Central to those safeguards is the House’s power to impeach — to charge, in other words — and the Senate’s power to convict.

This is why we need all of Nevada’s congressional representatives to clearly and loudly announce that Nevada’s votes and election results are final and legal according to state and federal law. They further need to announce that in order to secure the legal and legitimate outcomes of our election, they are drafting articles of impeachment to address President Trump’s increasingly erratic and extreme efforts to overturn the will of Nevada’s voters. We need public statements from Dina Titus, Mark Amodei (especially Mark Amodei), Susie Lee, and Steven Horsford to this effect, and we need the four of them to collaborate with other congressional representatives in swing states to draft and support appropriate articles of impeachment to secure our election outcomes.

This by itself, however, will not be enough. For impeachment to be anything more than a political stunt, we need Nevada’s senatorial representatives to start counting noses and twisting arms. President Trump was impeached but acquitted earlier this year because most Senate Republicans were unwilling to accept the charges against him. Once the House moves articles of impeachment forward, Senate delegates from swing states — especially Republican senators, like Ron Johnson from Wisconsin and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania — need to have their loyalties put on the record. Either they are loyal to their constituents and the electoral outcomes they produced or they are loyal to a lame duck president who should be leaving in less than a month. Either way, they must be made to pick one.

We need Nevada’s constitutional officers — our governor, our attorney general, and our secretary of state, in particular — to announce, preferably jointly, that they will categorically refuse to cooperate with the implementation of martial law, and with any federal seizure of Nevada’s electoral hardware. 

Both our secretary of state and independent analysts have concluded there was no voter fraud and our elections were free and fair. Nevadans neither need nor want our machines and ballots to be shipped to some loyal toady’s office. Instead, Nevadans need to know that our ballots and our electoral infrastructure belong to the people of Nevada — and that the State of Nevada will defend our infrastructure against all threats, both foreign and domestic, by any and every means available to our disposal. If it takes the Nevada National Guard securing our voting machines in a bunker in the desert to keep them safe, that needs to be on the table.

In short, we need Donald Trump removed from office and we need Vice-President Mike Pence to assume the office of president in a caretaking capacity before Trump somehow lucks himself into doing lasting and permanent damage to our constitutional system of governance. Until that happens, we need each and every one of his targets — including Nevada and its elected representatives, both Republican and Democrat — to step forward and publicly announce our rejection of his authority and power.

David Colborne has been active in the Libertarian Party for two decades. During that time, he has blogged intermittently on his personal blog, as well as the Libertarian Party of Nevada blog, and ran for office twice as a Libertarian candidate. He serves on the Executive Committee for both his state and county Libertarian Party chapters. He is the father of two sons and an IT professional. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidColborne or email him at [email protected]

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