Doug Mastriano is running an incompetent campaign for governor by any standard measures of political competence. He’s not raising money. He’s not moving to the center or at least tempering his most extreme positions. He’s not talking to the press…which is how politicians get their message to voters.
He may yet win. Though he is down in the polls by a lot, there is continuing reason to believe that polls understate the vote of Trumpist candidates because their supporters don’t trust pollsters and answer their questions, because some of their supporters, upper middle class Republicans, are reluctant to say out loud that they are voting for creeps like Trump and Mastriano, and because polls don’t measure likely turnout well. Candidates like Trump and Mastriano motivate devoted followers who, like them, are angry and frustrated at what they see as the direction of the country and thus come out to vote.
Perhaps Mastriano’s campaign is doing what it has to do to appeal to his base to get them to come out to vote and that give his limited financial resources this is the only way he can win.
But there is another possibility that just occurred to me. What if Mastriano does expect to become governor by conventional means? He not only continues to claim that the Biden did not win the 2020 election but a Washington Post story today includes him as one of the Republican candidates who has not said yes to the question, “Will you abide by the results of the election if the vote goes agains you?”
Mastriano has reportedly written a doctoral dissertation about a liberal putsch overthrowing the US government and that government being restored military officials. He regularly speaks as if he is the agent of God. He’s taken part in press conferences in which he and othere’s say that God’s law should be paramount in our country.
What if Mastriano is running a campaign that’s designed as much to build a movement to take power by force as much as by the ballot box? What if he’s focused on his base to the exclusion of all other voters because he’s preparing to stand at the head of an armed violent mob marching on Harrisburg?
Yes, that sounds incredible. So does most else that the Trumpers have done in the last six years.
Yes, it seems crazy that an armed mob could overthrow the government of Pennsylvanian. But who is going to stop them? We have a national guard and state police force. But we know that Oath keepers and other right wing extremists are found through out police forces in the United States. We know that many of the Pennsylvanians who joined Mastriano on January 6 had law enforcement ties.
So it is not inconceivable that the state police and the national guard would not act quickly or effectively to block an attempted coup in Pennsylvanian. It is not inconceivable that many of the members and even some leaders of those forces would join with Mastriano.
President Biden would presumably nationalize the PA guard in order to stop Mastriano. But if the PA national guard that has fallen apart due to insubordination in the ranks and leadership, it would be of no use. So the president would have to use federal troops to stop Mastriano’s coup.
That would bring civil war to PA. And, perhaps to other states as well if they have similar circumstances or right wing extremists movements that take action in support of Mastriano’s coup.
Yes, I know this all sounds crazy. But what i wrote before January 6 about the threat of violence to keep Trump in office sounded crazy, too. But my warnings were prescient.
It’s hard to write all this, not just because I know some people will think it’s crazy but because it is profoundly scary—which is a reason many of us don’t even want to think about it.
But we have to. I have no doubt that Mastriano, whose narcissist self-glorification and identification with divine right is obvious, is dangerous enough to contemplate and carry out these actions. And we need to be prepared.