Trump never expected to win in 2016 and was neither prepared nor competent in putting the structure and plans to take over when he did win. The GOP writ large, and too many Trump alumni aren’t about to let it happen in 2024. But the agenda and effort sound a bit more dark and nefarious, which is both terrifying but also presents Democrats with a possible opportunity.

According to Bloomberg, the GOP and Trump, which are almost synonymous at this point, are putting together what Bloomberg informally calls a “shadow government” in order to move as fast as possible “when” Trump or another Republican is sworn in. It is breathtakingly aggressive, given that no Republican will cast a vote for any nominee, never mind Trump, for another year and a half, and – of course, we are still dealing with the violent attempted coup that occurred the last time a Republican was in office, Trump himself. One would have hoped that dealing with the investigation fallout would be the one and only thing on the GOP “to do” list regarding 2024.

It is not. As Bloomberg writes:

 The organization, based a short walk from the White House, is also developing policy proposals for an expected Republican-controlled House in November. The administration-in-waiting includes potential cabinet members, senior White House officials and even political appointees at federal agencies.

The specificity gives the operation a dark feel. First, there is obviously a sense of entitlement. When one would think that much more effort would be put into figuring out how to win 2024, the win feels like an assumption. With the 12th Amendment case going to the SCOTUS this fall, a case that could set loose Republican legislatures throughout the country to send the electors they choose, not the voters, it is hard not to become short of breath, worrying that they “know” they will be in office on January 20th, 2024.

And what plans require that much work ahead of time?

Last month, the organization announced that it had hired Michael Rigas, Trump’s former acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, a role akin to leading human resources for the federal government. His portfolio at America First includes putting together a blueprint the next Republican president can use to determine day-one executive actions and staffing at agencies.

Many in the country would have preferred this type of urgency as applied to the COVID situation in 2020 and less in preparation for the next administration. We know what happened in the last two weeks of the Trump administration. What is planned for the first two weeks of this operation?

The list of members and the incompetency of those within the group takes one’s breath away:

Nine former Trump cabinet officials, 17 former senior White House staffers, 35 former senior-level administration officials and three former governors, including Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, [along with] Larry Kudlow, former director of the National Economic Council; former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt; former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker; former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe; and Marc Lotter, a former special assistant to Trump.

It feels like time would be infinitely better spent making plans to just do well in the 2022 mid-terms and putting together an appealing message in 2024. There is a sense that there is a presumption about 2024, and that presumption is based on more than a “good feeling,” or the poor conditions in the country right now. It is hard to read about this organization and not “feel” as though there is something concrete on which all of this is based.

These are the same people that brought you January 6th. When one thinks of “concrete” reasons to believe that 2024 is assured, it would seem as though they know that 2024 won’t be a normal election, perhaps not even a real election.

But it provides the Democrats an opportunity, too. AFTER the 2022 mid-terms (Prioritized correctly), the Democratic party must do all it can to expose this operation and, to the greatest extent possible, learn its agenda and members. The country may well be both turned off and highly suspicious of such presumptuousness and aggressiveness. Moreover, the country may not like what is planned for January 20th, 2025. It may not align with what Trump or the alternative candidate is saying in a campaign. It is possible that what is being planned is terrifying. As an example, the declaration of a national emergency due to the border, giving the President extraordinary power in that first hour, is the type of terrifying action that may be on the agenda. Fascism first, not America first. Americans must know.

Something feels wrong. This isn’t normal. It also takes a lot of time and resources of the type that would be wasted in what people would presume to be a 50-50 proposition, at best, in any normal setting. And yet they believe it is very much worth the investment. We cannot make any guess as to where this confidence comes from (other than the fear of the SCOTUS case). We only know that these people cannot be trusted.

Democrats must make “finding out what’s wrong” a huge priority and then publicize it everywhere, aggressively, at the most effective point in time, likely very, very, early. Perhaps January 3rd, 2023.

 

 

 

 



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