Flooding The Zone

Steve Bannon talked about “flooding the zone with shit,” meaning overwhelming people with disinformation. That is what Donald Trump and his people are doing now with respect to voting. Our job is to resist it and turn it back.

Trump tweets multiple times a day about voting by mail. In his tweets, he emphasizes how unsure, how erratic it is. In fact, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington primarily use a vote by mail system. Most other states allow absentee voting by mail, under a variety of rules. That variety is being exploited by Trump’s man in the Post Office, Louis DeJoy, who is sending out postcards claiming to remind people about voting. Those postcards are incorrect for many states. The Colorado Secretary of State has tweeted out a correction and is suing the Postal Service for disrupting the election.

In response to that suit, a federal court is blocking sending out the postcards.

But many have already been sent out. I received one on Saturday (September 12). Others have received them in Maryland, Massachusetts, Kansas, California, and Ohio  (see this thread).

Trump has also been tweeting instructions to voters in North Carolina that could lead to double voting, a felony. His argument seems to be that by voting by mail and then showing up to vote in person, voters can make sure their ballots are being counted. States have procedures that weed out duplicate ballots of this type, and the North Carolina Attorney General has told people not to do this.

The intention is to confuse voters and make the ballot-counting more difficult. It also sets the stage for Trump to claim problems in the counting. The idea that he might bring legal action or urge his “militia” supporters to riot is an implicit threat.

Roger Stone has brought in his own brand of disruption, suggesting that Trump invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to seize Nevada’s ballots and arrest a bunch of his and QAnon’s favorite enemies. On its face, in a law-abiding administration, this suggestion would be shocking. Stone is known for his theatrics and political games (ratf***ing). His intention is that we not know what to expect, up to and including a major illegal seizure of power on election night.

The way to deal with this is to be prepared for many possible disruptions on Election Day and beyond. Back in April, Biden said that he expects Trump to cause some sort of disruption. Ronald Brownstein quotes leaders of progressive organizations preparing to deal with that disruption. David Corn reports on wargaming of the election to help plan.

Biden has a strong volunteer base in his campaign, and I would not be surprised if that base includes lawyers ready to do battle in court as well.

It’s best that the organizations involved in planning not lay out their plans this early, which would help Republicans to develop responses.

My own expectation is that Trump and his people will do much less than they are threatening. Poll watchers are severely restricted in what they can do. The media are starting – barely – to point out that we may not know the results on election night. I’m trying to get that word out on Twitter, as are others. Trump is fundamentally a coward and blowhard, but it’s prudent to prepare for the worst.

Our best defense is an overwhelming and decisive vote for Biden, which is why Trump and others are trying to muddy those waters. Check your state’s election board or Secretary of State. They should have websites. Or you can go to usa.gov to find information.



One comment

  1. The Blog Fodder · September 18, 2020

    I can only hope your optimism is correct.


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