Roger Stone is now publicly calling on Trump to seize ballots, physically take over polling locations, declare martial law, and do whatever else might be necessary in order to retain power. This has caused a lot of people to express fear today about what might happen. And of course a number of pundits have made that fear and loathing worse, by insisting that we should take Stone’s threats seriously.
Here’s the thing. Roger Stone is a small fraction of who he was four years ago. Back then he was acting as a go-between for the Trump campaign and Kremlin puppet WikiLeaks. Stone was secretly helping to rig an election – and he’d be in prison for it right now if Trump hadn’t commuted his sentence. But in 2020, Stone is a broken man who at one point during his sentencing hid in a bathroom and refused to come out. He also knows that if Trump loses, the post-Trump DOJ will complete the vast criminal case against Stone, and he’ll go to prison for the rest of his life.
So what we’re hearing right now from Roger Stone is a desperate man who thinks Trump is going to lose, is afraid of going to prison as a result, and is publicly begging Trump to do something to stop the bleeding. Here’s the thing. Just because you really want to make something happen, it doesn’t mean you can. I’d really like to play in the NBA, but that’s not happening. Similarly, Trump can’t just magically make these things happen that Stone is calling for.
More to the point, if this were some sort of actual plan to rig the election, it would be happening in secret – just as it was happening in secret in 2016. Stone has been playing this game long enough to know that the only reason to publicly call for this kind of stuff is because there is no plan, Trump isn’t bothering to do anything about it, and Stone is reduced to desperately begging him to ramp up the antics. That’s all this is on Stone’s part; a fantasy.
If you want to know how absurd this all is, Roger Stone made these calls for seized ballots and martial law on the Alex Jones show of all things. That’s right, Alex Jones. We’re not going to suddenly start taking his tinfoil hat ramblings seriously, are we?
There are only two takeaways here. The first is that Roger Stone is giving away how worried the people in Trump’s orbit are that he’s going to lose the election (they know how to read the polls even if Trump doesn’t), and how frustrated they are that the increasingly delusional Trump isn’t really doing anything to try to win. The second takeaway is that if Stone’s hallucinatory ramblings do scare you, the only proper response for you is to spend more time volunteering and phone banking for Joe Biden. Sufficient turnout always overcomes any election antics. Now let’s get to work!
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report