Trump’s annus horribilis
leads to mad desperation

Louis deJoy’s incompetence, Steve Bannon’s fraudulent scheme, Qanon, and other disturbing developments

By Byron Toben

Borrowing the phrase from Queen Elizabeth’s 1992 annus horribilis, I have listed in previous articles several developments during Donald Trump’s 2020 year that have grown from troubling to disturbing to cascading into mad desperation. The whole reminds me of Greek Tragedy.

Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.

– Sophocles (441 B.C.) and later reiterated by Benjamin Franklin (1768) and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1893)

Just when I thought the torrent of unfavourable news had peaked, several recent developments have become a waterfall of bad omens. Let me count the ways.

Voter suppression and intimidation

Voter suppression has had a long history in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation from slavery was declared in 1863, it wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th amendment to the US Constitution was adopted, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race. But before the 19th and in various ways after, “Jim Crow” laws sought to eliminate this right by “poll taxes”, literacy tests, elimination from voter registry rolls and the like, even up to the present day.

Probably nobody has tracked down these abuses in excruciating detail as Greg Palast whose recent book How Trump stole the 2020 election exposes the nitty-gritty details and urges voters to steal it back.

A recent documentary film, Capturing The Flag lays out similar arguments. In particular, Trump’s attempt to eliminate potentially Democratic votes has escalated in three ways, whether by in-person vote or mail vote.

In-person votes

Polling places have been greatly reduced and/or relocated in Democratic districts. Trump has called for military or police to be stationed in front of all polling stations (illegal in many states) which can intimidate voters.

Mail votes

Louis deJoy -

Louis deJoy – Image: DonkeyHotey via

Trump appointee Postmaster General Louis deJoy has removed hundreds of sorting machines and reduced overtime for all employees. He has investments in companies that would benefit from converting the U.S. postal system into private companies. In heated testimony before Congress, he revealed that he has no experience in postal matters and has not studied up on it.

Aside from delaying or disposing of vote envelopes for the November 3 election, a slowdown would disrupt the delivery of pharmaceuticals, social security cheques and other key documents, especially in rural areas and to seniors.

A former Postmaster General, Ronald Stroman, also criticized DeJoy`s actions.

False claims that mail votes invite fraud

Trump has justified his own use of “absentee ballots” by claiming they are “good” but that “mail vote ballots” are “bad”. Examination shows that they are essentially the same form but may differ only in that the voter may request one without reminder and in the other, the State may send a reminder asking if the voter wishes one.

Nine states and the U.S. military have been using 100% mail-ins for years. University studies (MIT and CIT) indicate a fraud rate of 0.00006%.

Steve Bannon scandal on wall fund

Steve Bannon -

Steve Bannon – Image: DonkeyHotey via

Longtime Trump advisor and 2016 campaign manager Steve Bannon has been indicted for fraud in a scheme he organized to raise 25 million dollars from Trump supporters to build the wall that Mexico was to pay for.

Sister Maryanne Trump Barry’s comments

Trump’s niece Mary Trump taped a family conversation where Trump’s sister Judge Maryanne Trump Barry stated he had paid one Joe Shapiro to take the SAT for him to apply for admission to the University of Pennsylvania. She also volunteered that Donald has “no principles” and that “you cannot trust him”.

Failure to disavow a Qanon supporter

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Trump supporter running for Republican House delegate from Georgia, and an enthusiastic proponent of Qanon, has not been disavowed by Trump. (Qanon is an Internet cult with a faceless leader known only as Q, which states that Democrats include Satanists and cannibals who eat children.)

Attempts to ban others from Twitter

Trump has sought to have Twitter ban others who oppose him from Twitter. The Supreme Court has ruled against an appeal from a Twitter denial by a 7-2 margin.

New expose books in 2020

You’re Fired: The Perfect Guide to Beating Donald Trump by Paul Begalia
The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unravelling of the American Story by Joy-Ann Reid
Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams
The End of Denial by Ibram X. Kendi
It Was All A Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump by Stuart Stevens
True Crimes and Misdemeanors: Investigation on Donald Trump by Jeffrey Toobin

And forthcoming soon…

Disloyal: A Memoir by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, despite government attempts to prevent publication, expected out on September 8.

Feature image: DonkeyHotey via
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Read more articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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