Fascists Move to Bolt Down Elections to Ensure Their Rule: How to Understand It and How to Act

Editors' Note: Among many people, there is a feeling that something BIG is needed. That the problems we face are too big and the system that rules over us cannot deal with them in any meaningful way. They resonate with, and sense, the need for revolution, the need for something radically different. This is a correct sentiment, even as many wonder if it could be done.

A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution from the Revcoms puts forward clearly that “We need a revolution—nothing less!” and goes on to boldly say, “This revolution is not just ‘a good idea’—it is actually possible.”

This is a rare time when revolution, the overthrow of this system of capitalism-imperialism, becomes possible in the U.S.:

A basic reason why this is true is that there are now very great divisions within the ruling class of the country, and in the country as a whole—and, more than that:

“These divisions among the ruling powers, and in the larger society, cannot be resolved within the framework that has existed, and has held things together, for nearly 150 years, since shortly after the end of the Civil War which led to the abolition of slavery—they cannot be resolved on the basis of the capitalist “democracy” that has been the “normal” means of capitalist rule (dictatorship) for so long.

From This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity, Bob Avakian (BA)

The article that follows gives a deep sense of just one of the ways this is true: the Republi-fascist efforts to come to and “lock in power,” including their extreme assault on the right to vote of especially Black people, as well as other people of color, and their all-out effort to make sure that they can overturn any election that they lose.  In what follows, we will cover the breadth and depth of this fascist assault, the real dangers it does pose, why this is happening… and what must be done to bring something really positive out of this situation—a real revolution.

January 6 fascist rioters in capitol building in attempted coup

 

On January 6, a group of thousands, with armed and organized fascist forces at its core, stormed Congress in an attempt to stop it from confirming Joe Biden as the new president.    Photo: AP

Trump’s “Stop the Steal” Campaign, a Fascist Full-Court Press

If you thought the fascists who support Trump would retreat after they stormed the Capitol on January 6 and were then met with widespread condemnation, you would be wrong.  They have pushed further and harder on their offensive to institute a much more openly dictatorial form of rule, a full-out fascist state. They will use this to repress even harder the masses of Black people and other people of color, to demonize and terrorize immigrants and refugees, and to throw women and LGBTQ people back into dungeon-like existence. They are moving to lock in permanent rule.

Here are three of the major steps they have taken to “lock in power” by twisting and fixing the elections apparatus.

  1. Delegitimizing the 2020 Election—Audits, “Fraudits” and Lies

Trump began screaming “Stolen Election” in November, and this was taken up by the hardcore fascist leaders and “activists.” Across the internet, completely false stories and statistics of “dead people,” children, or non-citizens voting, spread like California wildfires.

Fascists used these claims to justify an “audit” of the vote in Maricopa County 1 which was conducted by the Cyber Ninja company. Cyber Ninja is owned by a pro-Trump fanatic who was already spreading conspiracy theories about the election. For six months, Cyber Ninja pored over ballots looking for some evidence of these false theories. They found none.  This “audit” soon became known as the “fraudit.”

When Cyber Ninja finally issued its report in September, it acknowledged that Biden had won Maricopa solidly. But Cyber Ninja also used the report and news coverage to spread brand new “theories” about possible election fraud.  And the fascist media and leaders seized on this part of the report.

The fascists invented utterly fraudulent bullshit and their true-believer supporters ate it up. Trump quickly issued a statement that the fraudit conclusively shows there were enough fraudulent votes, mystery votes, and fake votes to change the outcome of the election 4 or 5 times over.” Trump ally Peter Navarro claimedthe report had shown that 50,000 potentially illegal votes were cast in Maricopa County.” A Trump spokeswoman tweeted about “23,000+ Phantom Voters.” A Republican candidate for Secretary of State (the post that oversees elections) tweeted “There are 35k votes in question from multiple sources & I want answers.”

Now the demand for “fraudits” is spreading. The former governor of Missouri tweeted “Arizona must decertify2! We MUST have forensic audits across the country!” Wisconsin’s Republican State Assembly issued multiple subpoenas to the Elections Commission in Milwaukee—the most Democratic city in the state—as part of an ongoing “audit.” In response to a demand by Trump, Texas announced it would audit four urban counties. Audits are in the works in Pennsylvania, Michigan and many other states.

None of this is about finding the nonexistent evidence of voter fraud; it is about delegitimizing the 2020 election among the fascist section of the population. And it is working quite effectively. An August poll showed that two-thirds of Trump voters believe the election was “rigged and stolen from Trump,” while less than one in five thinks that “Biden won fair and square.” That’s tens of millions of people who are being led to believe that Trump should rightfully be president now. And a large portion of them see this in existential terms—that Biden’s presidency amounts to “their country” being “stolen” from them, and that “God’s will is being thwarted.”

An enraged and delusional base for fascist violence and fascist rule is being further forged.

Constitution Law and Rights

 

  1. Weaponizing the Election Machinery and Driving Out Election Professionals

As of July 28, Republican legislatures in 14 states had “enacted 23 new laws that empower state officials to take control of county election boards, strip secretaries of state of their executive authority, or make local election officials criminally or financially liable for even technical errors,” and many more such laws are still in the works. Boiling it down, these laws in various ways, work to allow state officials or legislatures in these Republican-controlled states to overturn the election results in individual counties or even in the state as a whole if they think the results are “wrong,” and/or, to punish election officials who get in the way of the fascists' efforts.

For instance, a new Texas law allows judges to throw out election results based on allegations of voter fraud. In Georgia, the state election board now has the power to take over elections in up to four counties (in Georgia a handful of urban counties provide most of the Democratic votes)—and the Republican legislature appoints the majority of members of that election board! Arkansas now allows the Board of Election Commissioners to decertify election results if it claims they are in “violation of the voter registration laws or election laws,” and to take over county election operations in “severe” cases.

Another aspect of this is driving out professional and non-partisan election officials and workers. In Georgia, Arizona, Michigan and elsewhere specific secretaries of state (the office that oversees elections) who stood in the way of Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election have been heavily targeted with threatening calls and emails, armed protests at their homes and other measures. And/or, they have had powers stripped away by state legislatures. These attacks are also happening on a more grassroots level. Nationally, one in three election officials reported feeling unsafe in their jobs, and one in six said they plan to retire before the 2024 elections. A Pennsylvania official was flooded with messages like this text which mentions his wife and children and then said “You lied. You a traitor. Perhaps 75cuts and 20bullets will soon arrive.”

  1. Unleashing Fascists to Intimidate Voters

Some of this is pretty straight up. Many states have passed laws empowering so-called “poll watchers” to follow voters into the voting precincts, question them, even stand behind them and video tape them as they vote. And many states have passed laws that threaten actual election officials with fines or even jail time if they “interfere” with these “poll  watchers.”

Which voters do you think will be “watched” like this? A leaked video from the Harris County (Houston) GOP aimed at recruiting people to its “Election Integrity Brigade,” is revealing. It shows a Republican official standing in front of a map of Houston. Pointing to a mainly Black and Latino area, he says “this is where the fraud is occurring.” Then pointing to a white area he calls for building “an army of 10,000 people … to have the confidence and courage” to go into those non-white areas and stop “fraud.”

Other measures are less obvious but perhaps even more serious. The Pennsylvania GOP is subpoenaing the records—address, date of birth, driver’s license number, last four digits of social security number—of the seven million people who voted in 2020, as part of the hunt for alleged “voter fraud.” Texas is trying to pass a law that will make it possible for (mainly Republican) county clerks to connect the votes that have been cast with the individual voters—in other words to figure out how you voted. There is even talk among the “audit” advocates of canvassing door to door to “check” whether people’s votes match what’s on their ballots.

The impact of these kinds of laws will be to destroy people’s confidence in the secret ballot, meaning that you have to worry that fascists will find out if you voted “the wrong way.” In the current climate where vigilante assaults on public meetings and death threats against doctors, public health officials and others are all being normalized, it is likely that many people would decide it’s just safer to not vote than to vote against the fascists.

What Must We Do to Make Something Positive Come Out of All This?

The Declaration And Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution sums up that something radically different is going to replace the electoral framework through which the capitalists have ruled for so long.  But if this “something” is to be good for humanity, and not something that makes things worse and speeds up the nightmares of today, then we have work to do. The Declaration and Call says:

As BA has emphasized, in a powerful New Year’s Statement (A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity), the fact that the fascist Trump was voted out of office is important but it only “buys some time” and time is not on the side of the fight for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be wasted by going along with this system. We will never get where we need to go by being a tail on the Democratic donkey (and, obviously, not by siding with the Republican fascists). No, we need  to break out of acting on the terms, and within the confines, of this system, which has all this murderous oppression and destruction built into it.  We need to be actively working to radically change the “alignment of forces” in society, to where things are more favorable for overthrowing this whole system.

If you refuse to stand by while something very bad is being bolted into place… while the horror and crises that are part of the “normal functioning” of this system continue and get even worse… there is a place for you in the movement for a real revolution.

Let’s get busy.

THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE— by Bob Avakian

 

From A Declaration, a Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution:

As BA has emphasized, in a powerful New Year’s Statement (A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity), the fact that the fascist Trump was voted out of office is important but it only “buys some time” and time is not on the side of the fight for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be wasted by going along with this system. We will never get where we need to go by being a tail on the Democratic donkey (and, obviously, not by siding with the Republican fascists). No, we need  to break out of acting on the terms, and within the confines, of this system, which has all this murderous oppression and destruction built into it.  We need to be actively working to radically change the “alignment of forces” in society, to where things are more favorable for overthrowing this whole system.

Cover of A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution

 

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FOOTNOTES:

1. Maricopa includes Phoenix; it voted heavily for Biden, tipping Arizona away from Trump. [back]

2. “Decertify” means that the state would declare that the electoral votes that they already cast for Biden were invalid—decertification in multiple states might provide a pathway for fascists to claim Biden is not legally president and use that as a basis to try and bring down his administration. [back]

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