Suspend the Constitution? Impose martial law? Hold a new election? It all seems quite fantastical, and it probably is. Then again, this is 2020, so absolutely anything could happen at this point. If extraterrestrials landed a spacecraft on the South Lawn of the White House tomorrow, it would hardly come as a surprise. On a serious note, though, what action is too drastic to prevent the most immense and far-reaching case of election fraud in the history of the United States of America? After all, if the election results currently being reported and certified are allowed to stand, there may never again be a free and fair election in the last truly free country on the planet.
The We the People Convention is a taxable, non-profit corporation registered in Ohio and based in Akron. On December 1, it issued a press release:
“WTPC Calls for President to Invoke Limited Martial Law to Hold New Election and Protect our Vote, in Full Page Washington Times Ad, if Legislators, Courts and Congress Do Not Follow the Constitution.”
The full statement demanded a new vote, overseen by the U.S. military, that “assures a fair election in every jurisdiction and reflects the true will of the people.” It goes on to describe how this new election should be conducted: “Federal candidates only. Paper ballots. No computers. Hand-counted with both parties watching every vote.”
No doubt left-wingers see this as the laughable fantasy of far-right crazies. It is likely that many right-wingers concur. How could anyone begin to believe that such drastic measures could and should be taken? Imagine, if you will, a relatively small number of people choosing to stand against the most powerful empire on Earth and drawing up a document that began: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another … ” In fact, never mind imagining; that is how the United States came to be.
Moreover, that document goes on to assert that when the people have their rights trampled by an oppressive government, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government … ” The We the People Convention is proposing measures to ensure that such a government – as they see it – is not established in the first place.
Could such a thing happen, though? More importantly, should it happen? After all, anything “could” happen, given enough determination. There is no answer to the question. The American people must and will determine their fate – whether that be to accept the election result as it is currently being portrayed or reject it. The purpose of this article is neither to endorse nor to refute the demands of the WTPC. Rather, it is to report the existence of those demands and, perhaps, to reflect upon the fact that America has traveled down a very dark road when some of its citizens are calling for such drastic actions.
Recently pardoned Michael Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump’s national security adviser – until the FBI ensnared him in a perjury trap – put the WTPC “ad” in a tweet, tacking on #WeThePeople. The former army general has been excoriated for doing so. However, of all people – except perhaps Mr. Trump himself – Flynn knows what it means to be pursued by overreaching government agencies merely for what one believes, what one represents, or with whom one associates.
Flynn was financially and professionally ruined by rogue government agents conducting a politically-motivated investigation. Is it any wonder such a man believes that the current president should stop at nothing to avoid handing the reigns of power to an opponent who won a fraudulent election – a man who was himself involved in the sanctioning of said investigation?
Of course, the likelihood of any of this happening is, in reality, almost non-existent. Then there are the longer-term consequences of such a turn of events. If a president can simply suspend the Constitution and call in the military if he or she feels that an election was stolen – even if it was – how stable is the Republic going forward? Will Americans forever live in fear of martial law being imposed every time a president doesn’t like the outcome of an election?
It would not be the first time a president had taken his authority to its constitutional extreme. Abraham Lincoln in 1861 declared martial law in all states and suspended the constitutional right to writs of habeas corpus. He did so in the name of public order. The WTPC, in its statement, suggests that, should Donald Trump fail to follow in Lincoln’s footsteps, the result could be “massive violence and destruction on a level not seen since the Civil War.” The statement adds: “Limited Martial Law is clearly a better option than Civil War!”
It appears that the WTPC is not threatening violence but predicting that violence could come about if Joe Biden is certified as the winner of the presidential election – and perhaps the same if Trump prevails. For sure, there are less drastic and less violent ways for those Americans who will never accept Biden (or Trump) as a legitimate president to deal with the situation. Rational people would probably agree that the last thing anyone wants is violence or martial law, or a suspension of the Constitution. The alternatives, though, will forever change this country just as fundamentally as the course of action called for by WTPC.
In fact, whatever the final outcome of the 2020 election, America will never be quite the same. It will be up to the people to figure out how we all go forward from here in the least painful way possible.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.