Today’s Pontificate – If you listen closely to the political, social, economic, and pandemic climate, or rather.. just listen to the ReTrumplicans turning the current political scene into a crazy free-for-all for the GOP… you might hear something nasty brewing for 2022 and/or 2024…. maybe.
As the vaccines are now flowing through our veins (for some of us) and some measure of a life is returning to something resembling the “good old days of pre-2020”, it’s easy to drift into a relief complacency of personal routines. While all that’s a welcome relief we best not drift too far away from keeping watch over the reality of the precariousness of our national politics possibly affecting our democratic processes. In other words, Trump and his ReTrumplicans are still very much a part of continuing the politics the rest of us define as being simply…. crazy. The GOP is in identity turmoil. The once hidden extreme Right Wing of domestic white evangelical nationalism has been emboldened by Trump and is not so hidden any more, common civility that once was the political negotiation and compromising process of Congress has all but vanished, and hate, fear, and a bias toward authoritarian power rules the day. Lies, conspiracies, and vilifying fellow Americans as not only moral enemies of Democracy but also enemies of a spiritual mantra that somehow justifies certain unconstitutional means to remedy with violence, hence the not-so-subtle mumblings of a civil war.
Where The Hell Did All This Come From?
Here’s a not-so-very-brief explanation. Basically, Trump has been the trigger.. not the cause… in the percolating Right Wing looking for someone to wave their flag of white male political dominance. One could go back to post WW2 when the enemy became Communism. But the Right Wing of the more moderate GOP had been seething for years under Roosevelt with the huge expansion of social services and size of government in general… the usual Republican party theme. So when the threat of Stalinist Russian Communism consumed Russia’s neighbors and formed the Soviet Union, and Communism overtook mainland China, North Korea, and then began the incursion into French Indo-China (Vietnam), the domino effect became apparent and Communism became the enemy of democracy and an enhanced effort in nationalism. A more volatile Right Wing came forward in the 1950’s with personalities like Senator McCarthy who fomented the “Red scare”, and grass roots efforts like the nationalist John Birch Society. Suddenly the Right and Far Right had some voice given the united “hatred” toward Communism, and that unless we stop it now it will engulf democracy. Churchill’s depiction of the Soviet “iron curtain” would close around the world’s democracies.
While more moderate Republicans were typically and historically running the party in Congress the Right Wing was continuing to be frustrated in what it saw as unconstitutional government control-gone-wild and spending run amok that favored free money to the poor and minorities that smacked of Socialism. Barry Goldwater of the early 1960’s, a fervent anti-Communist with a McCarthy-like perception, disliked all of Pres. Johnson’s civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965 as being reckless spending on unnecessary programs… which then attracted attacks that he, Goldwater, was racist. He lost in 1964 largely because of that TV commercial inspiring fear of a nuclear holocaust as a result of his war-like anti-Commie fervor. But Barry created what was to become the Southern Right Wing base by selling fear to Southern whites, garnished with a subtle racism.
With each subsequent election cycle Republican presidential candidates would wave the Conservative banner but ended up compromising far too much with Dems on additional social programs that simply took the nation into deficit spending, grew government in size and control, a gave free handouts to people perceived as being fully capable of work. Nixon sang the Conservative tune but once elected was no better in initiating the sweeping Conservative change the Right base was hoping for. Reagan seemed to be a version of solid Conservatism but he also proved to deliver no radical Conservative transformations. To the Right Reagan was no better than the rest with government growth programs, even though he talked the Right Wing language. The Bushes were the same. This amplified the current animosity over the eastern, or even urban, “elites” not being sensitive to the political mores of the comparatively less educated rural heartland.
The rise of our current political Conservative mood came with Newt Gingrich during the Clinton administration. He pushed a “Fight Club” mentality of no compromise. That opened the way for a rising FOX media, representing what they saw as a lucrative viewer demographic of “pissed off”, disenfranchised Right Wing Conservatives… pushing the role of moral “victims” and grievance. But what ticked off the Right more than anything… Obama… the first black President, and way too Liberal to boot.
When Trump showed up with his conspiratorial claims of a vanishing America at the expense of a burgeoning government, slowly removing the Bill of Rights in favor of pushing the wealth around with giveaway programs, and running up the national debt, he was more like a Goldwater on steroids. The Far Right had found their man… finally.
Trump has pushed from the beginning that the contemporary Right Wing Conservative ideology is the perception that an ethnic and racial minority population is displacing white dominance, which had to be the result of illegal and out-of-control immigration policies. This “mis-regulated” and illegal immigration policy process was then siphoning off tax dollars via social programs that fed the unqualified masses of freeloaders… and of course, letting druggies and rapists into the country. His MAGA mantra was all about returning to the 1950’s of economic prosperity, white entitlement, white political and social dominance, and no Spanish translations.
To be perfectly clear here… there can be ”some” arguments made for any of these accusations, which should be done via the Constitution and through Congress.. although any representative institution of government, like Congress, is not known for speed. BUT…. many of these concepts feeding the Right Wing are not born from the results of having gathered concise data, research, and evaluation, but rather are spawned from cultural and/or social bias, political, and racial stereotyping… and often with regional and economic partiality. As for the evangelical side to all this…. the national trend in the decline of organized religion in general, and evangelicalism in particular… and most notably the growth in secularism, all added to the grievance of Liberal change. Not to mention the decision on abortion, elimination of school prayer, recognition of homosexuality, and women’s lib. The evangelical Right has great displeasure with the growing immorality of a once-predominantly Christian America.
Ok.. All That Might Explain How We Got Here, But What Happens Now?
In order to see where we might be headed we needed to understand a little bit of where we came from, hence the little trip into history above to provide some context. The title of this post serves to suggest that as a nation our political scene is in a world of hurts for any number of reasons, and this MIGHT result in some really challenging civil unrest come the next two election cycles.
Am I Suggesting Some Sort Of Civil War?
No. That’s not to suggest there are not Americans out there who want to kill fellow Americans for their political leanings (heck, we witnessed the frothing-at-the-mouth nutjobs who were willing to do just that on Jan. 6th ). There are (and there are many) who might privately dream about it as some great crusade to regain what they think is an “old” America. I try to have enough patience and tolerance as a blogger to refrain from overt name calling. But I make an exception when it comes to IDIOTS blathering about some civil war, and some inherent right they perceive exists with the Second Amendment supporting that effort, as if they were going to survive it… and/or… the country will regain its “lost” respect in the world. If there is anything close to some sort of civil war… the country, as it is now, will be lost forever… having been diminished to regional tribes scrounging to survive in a wasteland of rusting technology. If you think you or the country will survive that.. you are indeed an IDIOT. It won’t be about marching off with the family AK-47 after work on a Friday (so you don’t lose work time), kill a few folks and blow things up over the weekend and getting back in time for kicking back on the La-Z-Boy with a Big Mac and a beer by Sunday evening to watch the game… and back to work Monday morning. If you believe THAT then you are an even bigger IDIOT.
So, If No Civil War, What’s The Threat? Where’s It Coming From?
What I am cautiously anticipating is that those emboldened by the events at the Capitol on January 6th just could try and express similar.. uh, discontent.. if there’s a loss to the Dems in 2022 and/or 2024. But wait… didn’t I mention earlier that the GOP is generally controlled by moderate Conservatives? Not anymore. Trump is in control with money and a charismatic persona that attracts the fringe element right up to and including many traditional moderates, who will follow him to the ends of the earth (or into the depths of Hell). He controls this base and therefore has an impact on many voting districts. A recent respected poll reported back that 70% of Republicans believe Biden won the election through fraud. From that alone it appears the moderate leadership of the GOP is not in control anymore.
To illustrate the completely crazy conspiracy beliefs of the Right, that same poll indicated 44% of Republicans think the Covid vaccination is nothing more than Bill Gates implanting a chip into our brains for future mind control and tracing our movements. That poll also revealed that 23% of Republicans think the Democratic leadership, including Biden, are pedophiles engaged in child sex trafficking. These are big numbers, folks. The selling and promotion of crazy is controlling the buying into it like never before. We have to remember that 70+ million voting Americans in this country voted for Trump. So even if we assume 35 million of those folks are “serious” about following Trump (the rest simply not wanting Biden or a Dem as president, or some other reason), that’s still a huge number of disgruntled, grievance-filled Americans… who believe “their” Constitution is being shredded in favor of some Leftist anti-democracy, power-grabbing bunch of fellow Americans who want to spread an immoral and spiritually secularized Socialism across the land.
Let Me Get This Straight… You Think If One Or The Other Next Two Elections Go Against Trump And His Republicans That His Base Will Try Another Insurrection On The Capitol, This Time With A Little More Vigor?
Yeah, there’s that at least on the surface. But we also have a percolating public stress situation that’s been growing along with the pandemic stresses. As I am writing this I am hearing of yet another act of disruptive violence on an airline regarding the TSA mask mandate still in effect. These plane incidents are just illustrative of an overall tense daily environment as Trumpian politics carries over into public health efforts to control the spread of Covid. Trump supporters have been all along interpreting the various health mandates around the nation as some Left Wing conspiracy to control the public and make them submit unknowingly to the loss of Constitutional freedoms. These kinds of incidents of colliding ideologies with health policies are going to accelerate into more public incidents. This can take the form of isolated and spontaneous assaults at stores like the local Walmart, restaurants, and public entertainment venues. It may be part of random shootings yet to come, and other locales where someone’s perceived reality and politics offends another. To add to that, I am also very wary that we might all see a Covid resurgence come late Fall and Winter. This will add to the overall social distress and this is going to erupt in any number of ways.
Keep in mind that Trump supporters are feeling a fair amount of peer pressure from friends and family who do not agree. So in general there is a struggle for promoting their Trumpian opinions in trying to give it legitimate reasoning around the dinner table. In other words, yes… their representation is “loud” but it is still not any sort of majority. It’s one of the reasons GOP state legislatures are trying to pass voting bills that tend to usurp local authority under the guise that they are making future elections more honest… when they already were and it’s nothing more than fomenting The Big Lie of election fraud.
Returning to the idea of a future insurrection attempt… any Trumpian defeat will likely be interpreted as a “continuation” of election fraud and further incite rage. It’s not difficult to imagine one or more “marches on Washington”, and it’s not too difficult to presume one or more of these will result in some assault on government buildings. As to whether or not there would be an actual attempt to storm the Capitol with the expressed intention of disrupting the conduct of government, that remains to be seen. Any future Capitol assault would be met with quick-response actions, barricades and barbed wire, and a lot more law enforcement and military standing in the way of any frontal assault by an unruly, or organized, crowd. Also.. more guns. Whatever might happen could definitely turn into a shooting confrontation this time around. But should the animus increase as the result of any Republican/Trump election defeat it’s very possible other areas of the country might experience certain violence against government areas of a more “softer target” nature.
Also keep in mind the general denial of the ignorant, cowardly, and self-centered Trumpian Senate GOP fools to setting up any sort of Jan. 6 commission for fear it will assign blame to Trump. In their zest and zeal to just blow it all off as “just another day of normal tourist activity” for their own individual continuance of power, they will also be sending a message to those Right Wing insurrection thugs that it’s ok to do it again another time. Next time likely more guns. Very sadly, if The Big Lie lives… the election denials, the sham post-election counts, the continued crying of fraud…. then very likely the insurrection will live again. Adding to this idiocy, a recent poll shows up to 28% of Republicans believe in Q-Anon and their conspiracies.. among which is that an uprising to restore Trump to power is in the future. 28%!
All That Sounds Pretty Grim. Is It Inevitable?
No.. none of my predictions or anticipations are inevitable as there are any number of situations that would change the threat… matrix . The following are just a few scenarios that could affect outcomes. Others surly are lurking out there.
- Trump/Republicans actually win one or both elections. They win.. ReTrumplicans are happy.
- Biden becomes incapacitated thus forcing Harris into the Presidency. This could force out more Dem voters for her election to a second term… and make a Dem victory even more apparent. Same Trump supporter voter fraud anger will likely still prevail.
- Trump becomes incapacitated for a medical malady or his demise from too many Big Macs. Very possibly there is no good scenario to this because any harm occurring with Trump’s health will be regarded as some Liberal clandestine assassination attempt… and revenge then enters the possibility for violence.
- Trump’s legal baggage could get too worse to carry. No question all the impending court cases and grand juries will give him sufficient ammunition for continuing the “poor me-I’m a victim and so are you” blather to continue the fund raising contributions. But there might be a point of diminishing returns as the GOP might decide to distance themselves from Trump to try and win their various elections without the Trump legal problems.
- Similar to the above… Trump could end up just plain losing face and/or credibility among his “rightious” supporters. Not likely.. but plausible.
- As mentioned earlier… the pandemic itself could come back and add to the public distress which completely changes the political tapestry and maybe the voting effort.
- A flexing economy for the worse as a result of the pandemic could be a heavy load on top of any other of these situations. National stress levels would just amplify all the other pressures.
- Certain unpredictable international events could change the field of play regarding a Trump/GOP win or loss in the next two elections. China, Russia, the Middle East.. the usual trigger points could enhance the impact of any domestic events.
Hold Your Breath….
Now, with all this crystal ball look into a possible future it doesn’t mean I want any of this potential for future violence to manifest itself into reality. I simply do not have a lot of optimism that we’ve seen the last of this armed militia nonsense keeping their weapons locked up at home should Trump and his minions lose in 2022 and 2024. But what we do know is that events seem to be fluid right now and subject to any social and political tremor… and in the meantime the Republican Party is a complete mess.
A late update, and a bit of irony. No sooner did I make this post and I saw the attached article on CNN’s site, similar title, and similar speculative content. I am apparently not alone in my perceptions. HERE