By Ernest Kearney — I am confident, as confident as one can be in this Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot world we seem to have tumbled into, that Donald Trump will lose the presidential election in 2020.

After all, he lost the election in 2016.

Well, he lost the popular vote. But this was back when Trump still had the advantage of being bathed in the luster of the public’s ignorance. Trump was a wild card to some, an unknown factor to others.

Mystery offers a “freshness” that evokes a sense, rightly or wrongly, of optimism, hope and promise.

Mystery bestows on both individuals and products, a quality, which has seduced most of us at one time or another, and has contributed to a certain laxness in our critical thinking. Those major players — whether they ply their crafts on Madison Ave or in D.C. — who are concerned with marketability label this quality along with the allure it bestows as “shiny.”

It is “shiny” which has often lead individuals to surrender to that “hope springs eternal” sentiment; a sentiment lodged in most Americans’ chest and one which can trigger the “impulse buying” syndrome— that which typically results in toxic “buyer regret” in the flummoxed consumer.

In the marketplace, this accounts for the initial sales of the Ford Edsel. In the political sphere it led to Jimmy Carter winning the presidency in 1977.
Well the “shiny” of Donald Trump has worn off to be replaced by a sinister glow associated with Chernobyl and mutant space predators.

The list of Republicans and former supporters who have turned against Trump grows daily:

Will George
Admiral Mike Mullen (former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff)
George W. Bush
General John Kelly (former Trump Chief of Staff)
Jennifer Pritzker (heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune and a transgender woman she contributed $250,000 to Trump in 2016)
Colin Powell (former Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff under George Bush)
Peggy Noonan (Author, former Presidential Speech Writer)
Michael Cohen (former personal lawyer)
Senator Ben Sasse (Nebraska)
H.R. McMaster (former Trump National Security Advisor)
Anthony Scaramucci (former Trump Communications Director)
Matt Borges (former chairman of Ohio Republican Party)
Rex Tillerson (former Trump Secretary of State.)
Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Ann Coulter (who wrote “In Trump We Trust”)
Bill Kristol (co-founder of The Weekly Standard)
General James Mattis (former Defense Secretary for Trump)
John Bolton (former National Security Adviser and mustachioed coprolite)
Senator Mitt Romney (Utah)
The Lincoln Project (Republicans spending $10 million on anti-Trump ads)
Right Side PAC (formed by Scaramucci & Borges in support of Biden)

So who still supports Trump? For whom is the loss of Trump’s “shiny” either not thunderingly obvious or of no concern?

1) Those Kool-Aid guzzling loyalists with their wobbly self-esteem entirely invested in Trump, those “True Believers” about whom Eric Hoffer so presciently warned us.

2) Those whose political and/or social views make up the underbelly of America – White Supremacists, old school John Birchers, Right Wing Christian Nationalists (those about whom Hillary Clinton rather impoliticly, but aptly, labeled as “The Deplorables”).

3) Forty-five billionaires who according to Forbes Magazine have donated $100,000 each to Trump’s fundraising committees.

4) Those Republican members of the electorate whose remorseless apathy towards the Democrats couldn’t make them any blinder to reality if someone broke their white cane in half and shot their service dogs dead.
Have I missed anybody?
I have said this before, and I’ll say it again:

The 2020 Presidential election will be America’s “Brexit”

I believe it is imperative that we remove Donald Trump from office. I also think, going into the upcoming election, we need to agree on a few “Ground Rules.”
Please be aware this is not satire or political-joshing on my part; I am in dead seriousness:


About 46.9% of registered voters couldn’t be bothered to walk into a polling booth for the last election, that’s about a 100 million “Pirroheads” (the technical term for non-voters) who didn’t think their vote mattered, or that the system is rigged, or that there wasn’t a real choice between candidates, or whatever.

One can only hope a majority of these Pirroheads have seen the light of reason. I’m sure many haven’t.

In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.9 million.

He won in the Electoral College by a razor thin margin of 77,744 cumulative votes cast in three states: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Thanks in large part to the Trump election, there is The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact aka NPVIC. This is an agreement among 15 states and the District of Columbia to award their combined electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote. *

Together they have 196 electoral votes which represents 36% of the Electoral College and 73% of the 270 votes needed to give the NPVIC the legal force to elect the president.

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution established the Electoral College as the formal body which elects the President and Vice President of the United States.

Opponents have long claimed this was merely a device to supersede the will of the people, and certain of the founders conceived of the Electoral College as a deliberative body which would act as the saucer to the tea cup in cooling down the heat of the masses.

Proponents of the Electoral College maintained it would serve to protect the country from the election of a person who is unfit for the presidency.

Alexander Hamilton, in expressing his support, voiced concern about somebody possessing the craft of “low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” winning the nation’s highest office.

If that’s the argument for keeping the Electoral College, it’s time to dump it.
Amending the Constitution is a long and laborious process, so The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is the easiest way to end run the founders and get rid of an outdated and injurious political device that was put in place originally to protect the interests of northern merchants and southern slave owners.

(Of course the best way to undercut this problem is just for everybody to vote.)

It is unlikely that Trump could pull off another Electoral College victory at the expense of the American voters but should it come about again, then it is time for the citizens to demand democracy as “one citizen, one vote.” Which is the way it’s supposed to be, as I recall.


If the Putin administration decides to fiddle in our election again – war.

Now I am not advocating strapping the saber to our hip, crying havoc and releasing those dogs of combat.

I am advocating reinstating an adaption of the classic doctrine of containment as espoused by George Kennan. A vigorous and determined redesigned Truman doctrine relying, not on tanks and bombers but, on weapons whose battle ground is the mainframe.

Any action by the Russians meant to inflict harm or ensure confusion to our democratic process is a blow at our very existence and we must retaliate by unleashing from our bow every economic, diplomatic, technological shaft our quiver contains.

Not a resumption of the outdated “Cold War,” their aggression is against too vital an aspect of our society and its threat too grievous to allow for a drawn-out glacial response from us. They shouldn’t expect a frigid and sluggish defense from us in consequence of their choices, but a Jihad of dry ice.

We must make our intentions clear to the world’s nations, that it is not the Russian people who we will hold accountable, but the illegitimate, dictatorial “Putin syndicate” and the oligarchies which support it.

If America must it will return to the “great game,” a contest of national superiority, and we will ask the “Putin syndicate” to remember how well that worked out for them the first time.


I am convinced that Trump didn’t expect to defeat Hillary Clinton. And like that sad little kid on the playground he already started to make excuses why he was going to lose.

“I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged. I have to be honest,” Trump told Ohioan voters at a rally during the 2016 campaign.

“Remember, we are competing in a rigged election,” Trump proclaimed at a Wisconsin rally. “They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common.”

As the election neared its end, he began tweeting:

“Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!”
“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
“Election is being rigged by the media, in a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign, by putting stories that never happened into news!”

At another rally in Ohio he told his supporters:

“I want to make a major announcement today. I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election… if I win.”

There was never the least evidence of possible voter fraud in the 2016 election. In fact just the opposite:

“The Brennan Center’s seminal report, The Truth About Voter Fraud, found that most reported incidents of voter fraud are actually traceable to other sources, such as clerical errors or bad data matching practices. The report painstakingly searched for voter fraud, and found incident rates between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent.

The Washington Post’s 2014 study determined 31 credible instances of impersonation fraud from 2000 to 2014, out of more than 1 billion ballots cast.
A 2011 study by the Republican National Lawyers Association found that, between 2000 and 2010, 21 states had one conviction for voter fraud or other voting irregularities. The other 29 states had none.

In 2012 and 2016 two studies were done at Arizona State University. The first found 10 cases of voter impersonation fraud nationwide from 2000-2012. The second study focused on fraud specifically in five states where their politicians have argued fraud is a wide spread problem. The study found between 2012-2016 there were zero successful prosecutions for voter fraud in those states.

Texas lawmakers have argued for strict photo ID law to protect against voter fraud. Yet in all elections occurring in Texas from 2002 to 2014 law makers could come up with only one conviction and one guilty plea that involved in-person voter fraud.

In 2012, Florida Governor Rick Scott sought to remove all non-citizen registrants from the state’s rolls and drew up a list of 182,000 alleged non-citizen registrants. The process used by the state was quickly shown as inefficient and the list dwindled down to only 85 non-citizen registrants. Most of these were shown to be clerical errors. In the end there was only one conviction of voter fraud out of a total of 12 million registered voters.

Towards the end of the 2016 campaign Trump thundered out to his supporters:

“This election will determine whether we’re a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged. This is reality. You know it, they know it, I know it, and pretty much the whole world knows it.”

And what about after voting, when he had stunned the nation by his victory in the Electoral College, what did Trump say then?

“You’ve been hearing me say it’s a rigged system, but now I don’t say it anymore because I won. It’s true. Now I don’t care. I don’t care.”

And of course, he tweeted:

“I ran for the electoral college. I didn’t run for the popular vote.”

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

There was never going to be any voter fraud in the 2016 election.

And despite all the studies, reports and investigations showing voter fraud doesn’t factor into American elections, Donald Trump shouted the 2016 election was rigged because his fragile, pathetic little ego couldn’t bare the possibility of losing.

Now, after only 6,000 supporters showing up for the Tulsa rally he predicted would draw 100,000 – After his approval ratings plummeting to historical lows – After being discarded by any Republican with a brain, a soul or a shred of patriotism…

Donald Trump is at it again.

Just this week Trump Tweeted:

“Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED election in our nations history.”

“NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. This will be a Rigged Election.

“The United States cannot have all Mail In Ballots. It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history. People grab them from mailboxes, print thousands of forgeries and “force” people to sign. Also, forge names. Some absentee OK, when necessary. Trying to use Covid for this Scam!”


Now some people have such staggeringly fragile egos, such feeble self-esteem, such an anemic psychological constitution that the act of admitting they were mistaken or wrong, or accepting defeat graciously would be too shattering for them, and they distort the reality that threatens them.

When Trump bellows “fake news” or praises himself as a “very stable genius,” his supporters, a majority of whom suffer from their own issues of encumbered self-esteem, sees this as him “standing his ground.”

They don’t realize he’s not “sticking to his guns” but desperately clinging onto the driftwood of his own self-delusion.

We saw this in his insistence that the crowds at his inauguration were the largest ever, despite the photographic evidence.

We saw this after he mistakenly said the state of Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian when he displayed a weather graph that had childishly been doctored with a Sharpie pen to loop Alabama in the storm’s path.

And when he loses the election he’ll claim he really won by a landslide and that the “bad hombres,” the “haters and losers” stole it.

And of course, this is all for that whimpering little ego of his –
However, there is a danger here, that we must consider.

Those “Deplorables” we spoke of earlier? Those White Supremacists, old school John Birchers, Right Wing Christian Nationalists, and others…?
They won’t understand that Trump’s claims are bogus. They will see Donald Trump’s defeat not as a legitimate expression of the will of the people through our traditional electoral process.

They’ll see Donald Trump’s defeat exactly as he wants them to, as an insidious plot by the “Gay, godless, race defiling, Un-American, treasonous, liberal feminist one-worlder Democrats” and their fellow-travelers.


I would like to think I am over-reacting here, and that I will be proven wrong.

But I’m not and I won’t.

Donald Trump needs to understand immediately the consequences he faces if he continues to bolster this patently unfounded lie about rigged elections.
He needs to understand that if he is defeated, he is advised to behave as our political tradition expects. No baseless accusation of voter fraud. No claims of millions of “illegal aliens” being brought into California to stuff the ballot boxes with fraudulent votes.

Of course, if Trump has solid evidence and proof to corroborate his charges, facts that undeniably support his accusations of voter malfeasance it is his duty to bring these to the American people. And if he produces such evidence, I will be the first to admit I was wrong and that he is the “savior of the Republic.”

But he doesn’t get to make these accusations based on his “hunches.”

He’s not allowed to claim he has people investigating voter fraud who “cannot believe what they’re finding” and then never produce either those “people” or what they found.

He may not engage in a campaign of hearsay claiming “other people” have told him or “I’ve been hearing” or “everybody’s talking about” voter fraud, not without all these sources coming forward.

Donald Trump needs to be aware, that if bombs do go off, if people are injured or worse die due to his false claims that the election was rigged or stolen –
That he will be held responsible and brought to trial.

As is often pointed out, there is free speech in this country, but that doesn’t mean someone can yell “fire!” in a crowded movie theatre.
Donald Trump by defaming our electoral process and undermining confidence in the democratic system is doing far more damage than merely shouting “fire” at a midnight showing of “Godzilla: King of Monsters.”

In fact the audience for that would probably be thankful for an excuse to run screaming from the theatre.
And lastly –


What Trump offers to a large portion of his base is a façade of strength in which they may vicariously conceal from themselves their own genuine sense of powerlessness.

They feel cheated, unjustly ignored, entitled to a respect and a position they have not earned. Deep down, they are frightened. And Donald Trump is their security blanket. Donald Trump is their night light in the darkness of their own anxiety. And to keep that dismal light glowing, to protect themselves from the monsters lurking in the darkness of their own souls they will give their all to “the Donald.”

The irony of this is that Donald Trump will finally fulfill his promise to make America great again –

When we throw his a** out of the White House!


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* (author’s note: ) Colorado’s support for the Compact is presently under challenge.

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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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