Let me state from the beginning that I don’t have all the political, psychological, sociological and even historical insight that I need to properly tell all of this, but I am a more than casual observer of American presidential political history and so I’m going to give it a go.
Having said that, it is clear to me that Trump — or someone like Trump — was inevitable at this moment in our nation’s history. It is obvious to me that what caused Trump was that while we were all enjoying Obama’s pleasant, scandal-free administration the Right was going completely insane. Tribal politics and its associated hatred of Obama for being the nation’s first black president made it so it was inevitable that we were going to have a completely bonkers Republican president at some point.
Add to this the headwinds of historic weakness of Hillary Clinton as a candidate and the election meddling of the Russians really the only way Trump would not have won was if he hadn’t run in the first place. But, really, if you looked at who was likely to get through the primary system at the time, it is highly unlikely that Jeb Bush was going to be the nominee. He was completely detached from the national Republican Party and everyone else who might have won was in some ways worse than Trump because no only were they insanely conservative, they were competent and had an ideology they were willing to defend to boot.
But Trump has his own unique set of bonkers qualities than make him extremely dangerous to the Republic. While he may be too lazy, unfocused and incompetent to be a true authoritarian, his complete lack of adherence to political norms may cause lasting damage to the American political landscape.
So, the issue is, there were and are structural problems with the Republican Party that the average person simply was unaware of unless they happened to catch FOX News one night. When about half the political electorate lives in an insane bubble of surreal conspiracy theories and race-induced rage, it’s inevitable that once they get their opportunity to run the country we’re in for a whole lot of trouble.
The truly tragic thing about all of this is there is no easy fix. The tectonic political, economic and demographic forces that led to the creation of the cancer that is the modern Republican Party aren’t going anywhere. It could be 20 to 30 years before things work themselves out and by the time they do the Republican Party will have turn our once independent judiciary into a bastion of Right wing nutjob hacks whose entire reason for being on the bench is to give old, wealthy white people as much power as possible.
What’s more, there’s a real chance of a civil war. There’s a real risk that we’ve gone beyond the point of no return and we’re going to have an actual civil war in the United States within the next 20 years. I have no idea if it will actually happen or not, but it’s something to worry about.
It will definitely be interesting to see what happens.