A Critical U.S. Election

EDITORIAL, 26 Oct 2020

#664 | John Scales Avery – TRANSCEND Media Service

Why the 2020 Election Is So Important

Here is a quotation from Bernie Sanders:

Donald Trump is a pathological liar. According to documented reports he has told more than 20,000 lies and distortions since he has been president. This is, obviously, deeply disturbing behavior for anyone who is president of the United States.

But what is even more disturbing is that Trump is now using his lies and misinformation to sow confusion and chaos in the election process and undermine American democracy. In other words, he does not intend to accept the results of the election if he loses and leave office voluntarily. This is not just a constitutional crisis. This is a threat to everything this country stands for.

In order to be effective in combating Trump’s attempt to sabotage the November election, it is important that you, and everyone you know, recognize the warning signs as to what he and his Republican allies are doing. ..

Over the course of the past few weeks, Trump has consistently sought to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the coming election. At a time when he is behind in almost every national poll and in most battleground state polls, Trump recently stated, ‘The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.’

Think about what that means. What he is saying is that if he wins the election, that’s great. But if he loses, it’s rigged. And if it’s rigged, then he is not leaving office. Heads I win. Tails you lose…

Trump is not only trying to create chaos and delegitimize the election process. He and the Republican Party are now spending tens of millions of dollars in the courts to make it harder for people to vote. They are attempting to defund and destroy the U.S. Postal Service so that people will not be able to cast mail-in ballots. And their allies in state legislatures like Pennsylvania’s are refusing to pass legislation to ensure all legitimate votes are counted in a timely manner.”

Donald Trump’s Neo-Fascism

According to the divorce filings of Trump’s first wife, he kept a copy of translations of Hitler’s speeches beside his bedside and studied them thoroughly. His 2016 campaign was openly racist, and since taking office he has been a racist in word and deed. Trump’s use of unidentified troops in unmarked vehicles to tear-gas, beat and terrorize peaceful protesters is reminiscent of Hitler’s Brown Shirts. We can recall that Hitler came to power legally, but retained power through illegal methods. There is a worrying similarity between what is happening in the USA today and what happened in Germany in the 1930’s.

Threats of War

Donald Trump has frequently threatened foreign countries with war, even nuclear war. For example, regarding the conflict with North Korea, Trump said,

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime. If [the US] is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea”.

Trump has also threatened Iran with war. Such threats are a crime under both the Nuremberg Principles and the United Nations Charter.

Trump Lied about COVID-19

According to a September 10, 2020, article on the World Socialist Website,

On Wednesday, senior Washington Post reporter and establishment insider Bob Woodward released recordings of telephone calls with US President Donald Trump, making clear that the White House, despite its public efforts to downplay the threat of COVID-19, was fully aware in January of the massive danger posed by the deadly new disease.

The tapes establish that the Trump administration lied to the public about the threat while it deliberately implemented a policy that has led to the deaths of nearly 200,000 people.

During the critical period of January through March, when timely actions, similar to those taken in China, would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States and internationally, the White House made a cold-blooded decision to lie to the public, in an unprecedented crime.

On February 7, Trump told Woodward he had just had a conversation with Chinese President Xi Xinping, who had provided the American president with a clear and blunt assessment of the dangers posed by the pandemic. ‘This is deadly stuff,’ Trump said. ‘It’s also more deadly than… even your strenuous flus… this is five percent [case fatality rate] versus one percent and less than one percent.’

These words were in flagrant contradiction to the statements Trump made in public over the following weeks and months, in which he equated the pandemic with the seasonal flu, promised it would ‘disappear,’ and claimed that cases were ‘going down.’…

Despite the extreme health danger posed by the spread of the pandemic, the ruling class was virtually exclusively concentrated on the economic impact of a pandemic, that is, how the disease would impact the stock market and the personal wealth of the richest one to five percent of society. The capitalist oligarchy feared, first of all, that unambiguous public acknowledgement of the danger would lead to a financial panic, causing the markets ‘to teeter and perhaps fall precipitously’.”

Republicans Realize That They Will Lose if the 2020 Election Is Fair

Donald Trump’s disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the pandemic’s terrible economic effects, has made Republicans unpopular; and this is reflected in recent polls. It seems extremely likely that if large numbers of voters participate in the November election, the Democrats will win. Realizing this, the Republicans are doing everything they can to make the election unfair, and to reduce voter participation, especially in districts with large numbers of Democrats. Part of this Republican strategy is to sabotage voting by mail, and to force voters to choose between risking their lives in the pandemic and abandoning their civic duty.

Climate Ought to Be a Central Election Issue

According to the 2018 IPCC Report, the world has only a very short time left in which to stop the extraction and use of fossil fuels. If we collectively fail to do this within a decade or so, feedback loops may be initiated; this will make human efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change useless. Much of the world could become uninhabitable, and a very large-scale mass extinction could be initiated. Although the worst effects of global warming lie in the long-term future, children alive today are at risk. We give our children loving care, but it makes no sense to do so unless we also do everything in our power to ensure that they, and all future generations, will inherit a world in which they can survive.

Although the worst threats from catastrophic climate change lie in the long-term future, we are starting to see the effects of climate change today.

California is burning! As of August 28, 2020, 7175 fires have burned 1,660,332 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. According to an article published in the Los Angeles Times on September 7, 2020,

“Woodland Hills made national headlines with a 121-degree reading that marked the hottest temperature ever recorded at an official National Weather Service station in Los Angeles County.”

The Arctic is burning!  A northeastern Siberian town, north of the Arctic Circle, is likely to have set a record for the highest temperature documented in the Arctic Circle, with a reading of 100.4 degrees (38 Celsius) recorded in June, 2020. The dangerous greenhouse gas methane is bubbling up from melting permafrost in the Arctic and from the shallow seas north of Siberia. Furthermore, wildfires in the Arctic are emitting an unprecedented amount of CO2. Around 600 active fires have been observed in the region in late July, 2020, compared with 400 in 2019 and about 100 on average between 2003 and 2018.

The 2020 hurricane season has started early, notably with Laura, and it is predicted to be unusually severe. Greenland’s ice sheet is melting. Ice shelves are collapsing in the Antarctic. But despite these obvious signs of danger, the climate emergency is hardly mentioned in the 2020 political campaigns, or in U.S. mass media. It ought to be a central issue.

The U.S. election in November is critical, not just because of Donald Trump’s neo-fascism, but primarily because if the climate-change-denying and fossil-fuel-supporting Republican Party retains power, all hope of saving the world from life-destroying global warming may be lost. Those of us who have the ability to influence the election, or to vote, must work with dedication for a Democratic victory.

The Disaster of 2016 Must Not Be Repeated!

Let us recall what happened in the disastrous election of 2016. Against expectations, Donald Trump who, in the words of Michael Moore, is a “wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full-time sociopath,” was elected. What happened? Disillusioned by the way in which the immensely popular Senator Bernie Sanders was sabotaged by the media and by the Democratic National Committee, and despising Hillary Clinton for her involvement in US wars and Wall Street banks, many progressive voters stayed away from the polls. In their absence, Trump won narrowly. He lost the popular vote, but won the electoral vote.

Today, the White House is a morass of dissension, erratic decisions and lies.  In 2016, 66 million people voted for Clinton, and 63 million for Trump. But the number of disillusioned voters who stayed away from the polls was far larger than either of these figures: 100 million! This must not happen again! Although the corporate-controlled Democratic National Committee has again sabotaged the progressive wing of the party and given us two charming but non-progressive candidates, Biden and Harris, progressives and idealistic young voters must not fail to vote against Trump.

The stakes are too high for a repeat of the 2016 disaster. Failure to get rid of Trump and the Republican Party would mean the end of democracy in the United States. It would mean a burning, uninhabitable future world, the end of much of human civilization, and the end of much of the biosphere.


John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Oct 2020.

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2 Responses to “A Critical U.S. Election”

  1. F. Jedlicka says:

    Regarding peace and the USA I want to point to the “strict father” theory of George Lakoff, who argues that persons in US states in which corporal punishment of children is widespread will vote a “strict father” figure like Donald Trump.

    F. Jedlicka