With heartbreaking videos of mass graves filled with Ukrainian victims of Russian genocide, civilians mowed down by sadistic Russian soldiers and apartment buildings pulverized by Russian missiles, there hasn't been much occasion for mirth. But you can count on Trump World to provide some comic relief.

Turns out North Carolina election officials removed former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows from the state's voter rolls after it emerged that Meadows had voted absentee from a North Carolina residence where he had never resided. He not only listed a false address on his absentee ballot application, but his civic-mindedness in exercising his franchise was so fervent that he had registered to vote in two states at the same time.

It was Meadows who teamed up with his former boss to try to pressure Georgia's secretary of state to nullify Georgia's 2020 election results and induce him to fraudulently proclaim that a state that Joe Biden had won had been won by Donald Trump. Meadows is among the esteemed band of Trump aides who, subpoenaed to testify about the Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt, either refused to honor the subpoena or invoked their Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. He's been referred to the Justice Department for criminal charges for contempt of Congress. But the nation owes Meadows a real debt of gratitude for reminding us that the only apparent voter fraud in the 2020 election was committed by Trump's chief of staff.

Witlessness isn't a crime, but it does seem plain that Meadows is no Albert Einstein. Fumbling to come up with something, anything, that would provide a molecule of support for Trump's fraudulent claim of election fraud, Meadows had this exchange with CNN's Jake Tapper at one point: "Do you realize how inaccurate the voter rolls are?" he asked the host without any sheepishness on account of his own voter fraud. When Tapper replied that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, Meadows was ready. "There's no evidence that there's not, either," he said. "That's the definition of fraud, Jake."

With Trump and many of his closest advisers either under criminal investigation, indicted, referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution or already convicted, the prospect of a return to power by the former president and the party that swears fealty to him should concentrate Americans' minds in a most serious way. It is a real prospect. The thanks accorded Biden for steering America through the national COVID-19 disaster bequeathed him by Trump, record economic growth, an unemployment rate of 3.6% and a historic response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is a 39% approval rating. Fifty-five percent of Americans say they disapprove of Biden's job performance.

Just what we need right about now is a Putin loyalist in the White House. Let's face it: As far as Russia's president is concerned, assuming Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is unavailable to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Trump would be the obvious next best choice.

Things don't look promising for democracy either here or abroad if the Party of Trump regains power. "I think NATO is obsolete," pronounced the Sage of Mar-a-Lago about the alliance of European democracies that holds a nuclear Russia at bay and is enabling Ukraine to defend itself. Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton believes Trump would have withdrawn from NATO in a second term. "And I think Putin was waiting for that," Bolton says.

More than 60 congressional Republicans recently voted against a resolution expressing support for NATO. Trump is seeking to bolster the bloc of Republicans happy to sell Ukraine down the river. Last weekend he endorsed Ohio Republican J.D. Vance for the Senate, not long after Vance bragged to former chief Trump strategist and twice-indicted podcast host Steve Bannon, "I gotta be honest with you, I don't really care what happens to Ukraine."

In this season of holidays, as we emerge from pandemic-induced hibernation, it's painful to consider that democracy is on the edge. The next months may determine whether and where it survives.


Jeff Robbins, an attorney specializing in the First Amendment, is a longtime columnist for the Boston Herald, writing on politics, national security, human rights and the Mideast.

(1) comment


LOLOL!!!! Yeah.... "Democracy" is leftism!!! Keep trying to paint the former in a bad light while this country is turning to garbage under your solution. It shows what mental illness looks like.

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