The Old Gray Lady noted yesterday, July 22nd, that campaign ads for the current occupant of the Oval Office are becoming “darker.” Until last evening, I had yet to see one of those ads, but about mid-prime time, much to my disgust, one of them appeared on network TV during the program I was watching. It was indeed scary in its sheer audacity, with an elderly woman alone in her house, someone breaking in, and in answer to her 911 call, the recorded message, “Sorry, no one is available to help you.” Then the phone handset hit the floor. The voice-over declared that, under Joe Biden, there would be no police protection for anyone anymore. Among all the over-the-top, misleading, exaggerated, panic-promoting political ads I’ve seen in my time, this one was definitely in the bottom ranks. Although the material descended to gross melodrama, complete ludicrousness, I’m certain there are those who are gullible enough to believe the allegations.
The Orange One is showing his hand, resorting to extreme measures in his bid for re-election. He may voice disdain for the polls, but it would seem that nevertheless, he’s feeling defensive and uncertain in the face of Biden’s current [small] lead.
As usual, he will double down with the tactics he knows best: intimidation, lies, denial of responsibility, conscripting the justice system for his own ends. We’ve seen the evidence in Portland this week. Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed yesterday while trying to de-escalate protests against the reprehensible actions of federal officers, perpetrated in the name of quashing violence and anarchy. Never mind that the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful.
My own city of Cleveland has been warned that, in the near future, federal officers will be deployed to “assist” the police in eradicating the violence here. Considering that there have been no protests for weeks, and the city is quiet, such an incursion of jackboots is indeed egregious. Black Shield, a national police organization, has issued a statement decrying the use of federal agents in Cleveland and elsewhere, calling the presence of the agents, “overreaching.” An understatement, for sure. It strikes me that these deployments throughout the country bear a startling resemblance to the quartering of troops, one of the royal impositions most resented in the run-up to writing of the Declaration of Independence.
Cleveland was also admonished by the White House for not sufficiently reducing the number of virus cases in the city and near suburbs. Interestingly, Democratic Mayor Frank Jackson had imposed more stringent restrictions in his bailiwick than Republican Governor Mike DeWine imposed on the state as a whole. As just one example, the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County mask requirement went into effect a couple weeks ago, while the Ohio mask order only went live today. The surge in cases we’re experiencing just might be related to the fact that DeWine opened the state much too early, under pressure from….yeah, the White House. Then again, Cuyahoga County in northeast Ohio has been a Democratic bastion for many decades, while firmly entrenched Republican enclaves in the southern half of the state turn it red all too often. In the current situation, we in Cleveland have now been painted with the “liberal Democrats” target at which the pResident is taking aim with federal forces.
There have been dozens of articles written lately, speculating how our dear leader might try to steal/rig/prevent the election. Or, alternatively, might refuse to vacate the People’s House, should the vote go overwhelmingly against him. Either scenario is repugnant, of course, and before 45 took office, no one would have believed we’d be seriously discussing some of these possibilities. Rigging voting results isn’t new; in Ohio, we saw it in 2004, when tallies making John Kerry a clear winner mysteriously changed overnight to a result that gave Dubya a second term. Stationing troops at polling places would be unprecedented, however, as has been openly calling on another sovereign state (Russia) to interfere in the election. A refusal to leave office would present a Constitutional crisis, and would generate a conflict for the military and the Secret Service. One would hope that all entities involved would opt for the rule of law and an orderly transition, as delineated in the Constitution, but these days, nothing can be taken for granted.
It’s not as if the narcissistic, pathological person who holds the highest office in the land has ever been subtle. Quite the opposite: he’s all about drama, outsized gestures, and shock value. At least once a week, he reaches a new low with a flourish. His public, grasping selfishness, braggadocio, and conman persona couldn’t be more inflated than they already are. Now, though, a little more than three months before Election Day, his anger and viciousness are reaching new heights. The pretense of any attempt at civility or lawfulness has gone out the window. It’s going to get a lot darker before the dawn. If that dawn doesn’t come on January 20, 2021, there’s no way to tell when the light will return.