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Juan Williams: Trump's plan to thwart democracy

Juan Williams: Trump's plan to thwart democracy
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE has a plan for that.

So what if a Fox News national poll has him down by ten points with less than a month to go before Election Day?

So what if the latest Reuters-Ipsos poll has Biden with a 12-point lead nationally?

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So what if Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight favors Biden to win and posits that, out of all the possible outcomes, Trump would lose 85 percent of the time.

Those polls and the forecast are based on votes. But what do votes matter if the president refuses to acknowledge that he lost?

In a fury, he can call on the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority to invalidate the election results, as he fills conservative media with shouting about voter fraud.

His goal will be to remain in office at least until the pandemic is over, but most likely until the next election four years from now.

In addition to calling on the high court to play politics, Trump can also ask Republican-controlled state legislatures to ignore a Biden win. The strategy is to simply demand they show GOP loyalty by handing him their states’ electoral college votes.

The ignition switch for these perverse attacks on democracy is Trump casting doubt on the integrity of vote counting — even though there is little or no evidence of fraud in either mail-in voting or in-person voting.

At a September rally in North Carolina, Trump encouraged his fans to “watch those ballots…You know you have a Democrat governor; you have all these Democrats watching this stuff… Be poll-watchers when you go there. Watch all the thieving and stealing and robbing they do.”

By last week, the Trump campaign claimed to have a “50,000-plus army of volunteer observers across an array of battleground states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where operations are already underway,” according to Politico.

Trump is also using fear to deter voting.

At the first debate, he refused to condemn the Proud Boys, a far-right group known for violence, and also advised them to “stand by.” That was a wink and nod for extremists to act if they see that he is losing.

Trump has frequently said the only way he can lose is if the election is rigged.

These messages feed a strategy intended to “suppress and depress” the vote.

Emory University Professor Carol Anderson said the strategy starts with Trump telling Americans that their “vote won’t count, and it doesn’t matter what I do.”

She explained on a recent Slate.com podcast:

“So we have these suppressive techniques: voter ID, poll closures, massive voter-roll purges, eliminating early voting days…When you begin to see these five-hour lines, and the research is clear on this: It is designed to make folks think, ‘Oh, this is just too much,’ and…voter turnout goes down.”

This ‘Suppress the Vote — Depress the Vote’ strategy is also obvious to historian Jon Meacham.

Meacham said Trump’s “thuggish performance” at the presidential debate was all about “voter suppression.”

Trump wants people to view politics as so nasty that they decide “I’m not going to go stand in that line, I’m not to go catch COVID, I’m not going to worry about these mail-in ballots, to hell with it,” Meacham said on MSNBC.

But first comes the assault on information going to voters.

One front in that attack was revealed last week when Facebook and Twitter suspended or banned more than 200 accounts being run by a pro-Trump group that was paying teenagers to “cast doubt on the integrity of mail-in ballots, amplifying the erroneous claim that 28 million of them went missing in the past four elections,” The Washington Post reported.

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The young people were working for Rally Forge, a group tied to Turning Point USA, a larger organization long intent on convincing students to back Trump.

And there is more.

Last month, Michigan’s attorney general filed felony charges against two Trump supporters who allegedly flooded black Michigan neighborhoods with robocalls warning that “personal information for those who vote by mail will be shared with police tracking down warrants, credit card companies collecting outstanding debt.”

The power of those disinformation efforts is amplified by Russian propagandists, according to a Department of Homeland Security report released last week.

“Russia is the likely primary covert influence actor and purveyor of disinformation and misinformation within the Homeland,” the DHS reported. They said the memes, the manipulated videos, and the outright lies aim to hurt Biden’s campaign “as part of a broader effort to divide and destabilize America.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Congressional hearing last month, “We certainly have seen very active efforts by the Russians to influence our elections in 2020,” citing the use of social media, state media and other types of propaganda.

Trump’s plan is obvious: declare the election rigged and stay in office.

Every patriotic American has to fight Trump’s plan — it is a threat to democracy.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.