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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Trump Apocalypse Now

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good. Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellion, coups, and secession.

Juliette Kayyem at The Atlantic:

When Donald Trump insinuated this week that his successor and the FBI were out to kill him, he showed how central violence has become to his conception of political leadership. The former president declared Tuesday on Truth Social, his social-media platform, that he “was shown reports Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL FORCE).”

Trump has a way of projecting his own vices onto others. His view of presidential power is absolute—to the point that his lawyer recently argued before the Supreme Court that ordering the military to assassinate a political rival “could well be an official act.” There is probably some limiting principle to this particular argument, but the fact that the issue is even under discussion is not a good sign for our democracy. Perhaps he believes that Biden was out to shoot him because he thinks that’s an order that presidents can freely give.

The genesis of the former president’s complaint is that, when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 to obtain classified documents that were at the center of an investigation, agents were explicitly authorized to use force. This was not remotely unusual: FBI agents are routinely armed. The “reports” that Trump saw misinterpreted the parameters of the search, which—as the security analysts Asha Rangappa and Tom Joscelyn explained in Just Security—was guided by elaborate restrictions on when weapons could be used. The FBI subsequently said it followed a “standard policy statement limiting the use of force.” Attorney General Merrick Garland noted today that similar conditions were used in a search related to classified documents at Biden’s home in Delaware.

Since the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Trump has become more and more apocalyptic in his language. This week, he sent another dangerous signal to his supporters: FBI agents are an armed enemy, ready to assassinate the former president. Unless, of course, Trump and his mob get to them first.

JD Wolf at MTN:

On Truth Social Thursday, Trump posted a video containing a clip of a “Trump or Death” flag being waved. The flag has been making appearances outside Trump New York criminal trial.

The person behind the flag is a Trump flag vendor who does pro-Trump banner drop stunts at sports stadiums. Trump recently praised his mugshot being unfurled during the national anthem at a Yankees game.