Unfortunately, subversiveness is a two-way street.
Former President Trump and the minion of congressional and state political leaders who support him, have long engaged in a persistent campaign of subversion. It is so obvious that I would not mention it except that it has become normalized. Oh, and this is not just about national politics, it is happening right here in Geneva, too.
The latest chapter is Representative Jim Jordan and other Congressional Republicans actively undermining the credibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By all accounts, the FBI is the premier law enforcement agency in the United States. It fights organized crime, white collar crime, political crimes, domestic and international terrorism, espionage, and on and on. Think about it. Without competent federal law enforcement agencies with the capacity to be connected to local and state agencies, and which adds an overarching national and international perspective, we would be left with thousands of ad hoc enforcement efforts with little ability or inclination to communicate. In other words, a chaotic environment that would only benefit criminal enterprises.
Trump has actively worked to discredit the news media, Justice Department, FBI, US Intelligence agencies, the Supreme Court, and even the CDC. It is true that each of those organizations provided him some particularly shining examples of incompetency and misconduct, but none of them is the organized evil he portrays them to be. Why does he do it?
For this brand of Republican, every law enforcement agency and officer is mythically heroic and honorable unless and until someone in their political cabal is investigated. Then, whether local, state, or federal, the investigators are corrupt, evil-hearted, and must be replaced. It is a grand effort to discredit and emasculate any institution or organization with the power to hold them accountable for misbehavior and crimes.
What we are witnessing is the subversion of political, ethical, and legal norms in an effort to grab power for power’s sake without concern for the health or vigor of democratic institutions. The ends justify the means because the end-goal is power rather than the stewardship of democracy. There have always been potential Napoleons, Castros, and Putins inhabiting the American political landscape but never so many, and never so many so close to taking over. When the end-goal is power and ethical stewardship of the democratic system is its victim, the clear and present danger is authoritarianism.
Which brings me to Geneva, New York. The Republican Party in Geneva is doing something that is apparently legal but likewise takes an ends-justify-the-means axe to the electoral system. They have placed Republican endorsed candidates on the Democratic ballot for mayor and city council. Pete Gilotte in Ward 4, James Petropoulous in Ward 5, Anthony Noone at-Large, and Stephen Valentino for mayor are not endorsed by the Democratic Party, and not recognized by them as Democrats. Because turnout in primary elections is usually light, they hope to knock out the legitimate Democratic Party candidates and so sweep the General Election. This is an abuse of the party system, clever though it may be, that places power and control above the common good. It is an intentional effort to subvert democracy and no different from the abusive efforts taking place nationally.
If you are a registered Democrat, more is at stake in this primary election than ever before. Vote, and vote for the legitimate Democrats running for council and mayor.
Sample Ballot that indicates Republican candidates on Democratic Ticket