Democrats around the country, along with a growing number of Republicans who haven’t fallen prey to the Trumpism running rampant through their party, are hoping a “blue wave” will wash Congress clean after the midterm elections and provide an avenue of accountability for President Donald Trump.
But former presidential candidate and co-founder of Stand Up Republic Evan McMullin is warning that Trump’s anti-democratic efforts are unlikely to let up regardless of which party controls the House and Senate.
“Patriotic Americans should be ready post-election for President Donald Trump to escalate his struggle to break American democracy” no matter who comes out on top this week, McMullin wrote in an NBC News op-ed on Tuesday.
> For the past two years, I and others working to strengthen bipartisan commitment to essential ideals and institutions have witnessed diverse Americans uniting for the cause. They are truly an encouraging harbinger of a future, strengthened republic.
> Together, these Republicans, Democrats and independents have helped defeat extremists like Roy Moore in Alabama, elect unifiers like Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, and uphold the basic truth that all are created equal, even in the face of Trump-inspired, nationalist violence.
While McMullin hopes that same coalition will be a driving force in the nation’s most important midterm contests, he is concerned by the president’s continued efforts to divide Americans with his rhetoric.
> Trump has recently returned to a familiar playbook — the promise of a conservative Supreme Courtand xenophobic rhetoric — to divide as many Americans as possible with fear, tribalism and Faustian bargains in hopes that they abandon the defense of our democracy.
> A Democratic majority in the House or Senate is critical to reestablishing effective separation of powers and needed oversight over the Trump administration. But whether or not Democrats succeed, Trump will likely escalate his efforts to smash limits to his power.
> My service with the Central Intelligence Agency taught me that leaders committed to self-preservation through authoritarianism do not curtail their efforts to dismantle checks on their power under the threat of accountability. They hasten them.
McMullin believes Trump is prepared for either outcome of the midterms — if Republicans maintain control of both houses, Trump will likely become more aggressive; and if Democrats take back either the House or Senate, Trump “will not stand idly as oversight committees and the law encircle him.”
> If the Democrats win the House, Trump will frame their appropriate oversight as treason, sheer partisanship and personal hostility, exploiting any overreaches or missteps as evidence of his false narrative. This in turn will encourage his followers’ utter contempt for evidence of his wrongdoing.
> He will promote the idea that the midterm election was rigged and allege the illegitimacy of our democratic processes more regularly to inspire the public apathy will help suppress opposition voting in the future.
On the flip side, McMullin believes Americans are far less prepared.
> In the months ahead, Trump and his far-right media allies will more thoroughly flood the country with conspiracies, lies and other disinformation to impede our ability to discern the truth about his corruption. Many well-intentioned Americans will probably succumb, resolving to refocus on matters closer to home, including family, work and friendships.
> Trump’s hostility to our values and institutions is not a partisan problem; it is an American problem. We must recognize it as such and act accordingly.
> Though our political parties are increasingly divided, America as a whole is not. Most of us are still united by our commitment to liberty, equality and truth. In the next chapter of this presidency, our willingness to put these values first will define our future, whether it be free or otherwise.