So, my Traditionalist relatives have, on occasion, asked me if I forswear political violence. Which is both dumb and insulting. Of course I’m against political violence! Jesus Christ!
The fact that the MAGA New Right is chomping at the bit to start a civil war makes this question even more idiotic. Even a Traditionalist who has “tuned out” from politics should know by now that there are a number of conservative thought leaders who really, really, want an excuse to murder people like me in cold political blood.
So, instead of worrying about ME wanting political violence, I think my Traditionalist relatives need to get their own home in order. Or is that just “bogus?” For those of you who aren’t into debate nullification when you’re losing, just look at what’s going on with Canada’s trucker crisis.
That crisis is going to come to the US soon enough. And, as I understand it, March 3rd — for some reason — could be some sort of successor to January 6th. I don’t know the details, but that’s what I’m seeing on Twitter. This is a developing and potentially very unstable situation. It could be like January 6th, only much, much worse.
Anyway. We need to be aware that the MAGA New Right may very well force the issue. The question then will be is how receptive people are to fucking shit up when the MAGA New Right decides to see if they can bring down the government through a General Strike or some such. (Especially in the context of this potentially happening — and working — in Canada.)
And the craziest part of all of this is if they would just be peaceful and patient, they could get everything — and I mean everything — they wanted through peaceful political means. Everything is there. All they have to do is just not blow it all by starting a civil war.
And, yet, here we are.
I’m going back to the five novels I’m working on that no one in my family cares about — they won’t even read anything I write even when I ask them to!
A lot of Traditionalists who loved Trump’s racist, misogynistic and autocratic policies but could not defend his tweets love Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. In fact, they want to “vote for him three or four times.” I look at this way — of all the would be autocrats America faces, DeSantis at least would be one of the most adept at normal governing.
He would definitely still be a fucking autocrat who would destroy America and probably tell ICE to murder me in cold blood at some point because I got drunk and called him a cocksucker, but at least he would only gradually become as corrupt as Putin. Every would-be successor to Trump is an autocrat in waiting who will force through some dramatic changes to the Constitution and force millions of center-Left people to leave the country.
Or we have a civil war, nuke ourselves into oblivion and may the best man win.
I really believe this 100% and if you think I’m being “hysterical” fuck you. FUCK YOU. By every metric America is an autocracy without an autocrat and once a Republican is president again, we’re going to be an autocracy. And maybe DeSantis, knowing how weak the center-Left is, won’t do something as ham-handed as change the Constitution, at least at first.
He might be POTUS for eight years, then become Speaker for as long as he likes, just like how Putin bounced back and forth between being Russia’s president and PM for the last 20 years until he finally change the Russian Constitution.
Anyway, the point remains — we’re either going to lose our democracy or have a civil war. It’s going to happen, whatever it is, around 2024 – 2025. Good luck.
The chief reason why I feel we’re Weimar America is the people who should know better — political Traditionalists — will never make common cause against MAGA. So, in a sense, the die is cast. We’re fucked. There’s no turning back.
It was when political Traditionalists finally turned on Nixon that he lost the presidency. And, to date, there is absolutely no sign that Traditionalists will ever, finally turn their back on Trump and MAGA. If anything, even if they are inclined to stop supporting Trump for whatever reason, they are now even more attached the MAGA — despite growing signs that MAGA is real, honest-to-God fascism.
So, when the time comes in 2024 – 2025, Traditionalists will throw their lot with MAGA and it will really be nothing more than luck if we somehow manage to escape either a civil war or autocracy. I continue to struggle to figure out what could possibly prevent us from going one of those two routes.
From my Webstats I definitely get the sense that there is a core group of people — especially from the South — who seem to think a Second American Civil War would be SOOOO COOOL. If you think that, you’re a fucking fool. It would be horrific. Especially if you factor in how awash America is with WMD on military bases. Add to this how Red States would be likely to use WMD more than Blue States and things are likely to escalate quite quickly.
Throw in a race war and, lulz, that would be cool?
It’s tragic how poorly though any support for a Second American Civil War is. It’s little more than a political grunt. Anyway, the other option is autocracy, which I think is what is going to happen.
Traditionalists will be there, however, waiting with baited breath to follow MAGA down either path.
The Republicans Party is now fascist. By definition, the moment they gain power again, they’re never letting it go. Add to this cold hard fact the additional fact that Trump is turning the Republican Party into his own personal dream board and, well, lulz.
We’re fucked — democracy doesn’t die in the darkness in America, it dies in broad daylight because no one is willing to confront Republicans for the fascists they are.
Or, even more dark, there really isn’t anything we can do to fix this problem short of a civil war. MAGA New Right Republican voters want an autocracy so badly that every election is nothing more than yet another opportunity to lurch us closer and closer to autocracy.
I do not want a civil war — I really don’t! — but a civil war would be a high risk, high reward option to potentially re-found the USA. We could transition from Lincoln’s Second Republic, to a new American Covenant, based on, I dunno, California?
But I just don’t see that happening, at least at the moment.
What’s more likely to happen is around 2024 – 2025, there will be one last death spasm for democracy, and then that will be it. Wealthy center-Left people will leave the United States en masse until the autocratic (whoever that may be) makes that nearly impossible. America will be a shit hole country that continues to grow more inward looking, poorer, less creative and politically dark.
While I don’t think there is going to be a civil war — the center-Left simply has no leadership at the moment — there is a small chance that Trump and the MAGA New Right might bungle the transition to autocracy (willfully?) for no other reason than they want the opportunity to murder people like me for political reasons. They might grow so blinded by their bloodlust that they fail to see that if they just cooled it and were patient, that they would get everything they wanted via political means.
So, I guess what I’m saying is I go in circles in my mind whenever I think about our 2024 – 2025 fate. Just about when I think there is no way we will have a civil war, I say to myself, “but……”
It could really go either way. It really could.
And, honestly, if history is any guide, usually the difference between civil war and autocracy is probably going to be a multitude of tactical decisions — and dumb mistakes one way or another — committed between Election Day 2024 and Certification Day 2025.
Also, as I keep saying — Trump is so stupid and lazy that by definition him running again increases the chances of civil war dramatically. If it’s DeSantis (or anyone else) who is the Republican nominee in 2024, then I can just shrug and start to figure out if I can get out of the country before ICE rounds me up and shoots me in the back of the head.
I’m too lazy to hunt down the details of what I’m about to write — I’m not writing for VOX, after all — but here is a rough outline of what I know about the events leading up to Trump’s January 6th attempted autogolpe. I’ve added relevant text from another post I’ve written to flesh out this post.
Background When the history of Trumplandia is written, two people will stick out as having changed everything by what they did — or didn’t do: Bill Barr and Mike Pence. What makes their actions so weird in hindsight is neither one of them was ever mentioned as the “guardrails” that were going to save us from Trump’s excesses. In fact, they were some of the biggest toadies for Trump — until they weren’t at very crucial moments in time.
First, Bill Barr. Bill Barr — at least in my opinion — had a specific purpose when he was originally hired: end the Mueller Investigation. He wrapped that up and did plenty of really shitty things. And then in the 2020 – 2021 timeframe he did something that saved American democracy for four more years: nothing. He sat on his hands.
So, even though Barr intimately knew on a personal basis how badly Trump wanted DOJ to indict the Bidens, or Hillary or Obama or whomever, he was able to simply slow walk all of Trump’s would-be autocratic moves so they were moot. Without Barr doing that, it’s very possible that all the autocratic things I thought up in 2020 Trump would have done and he would still be president.
It is a testament to what a lazy ding-dong Trump is that in the summer and early fall of 2020 he was not far more aggressive against Biden. Anyone else in Trump’s position would have leaned into the fact that he was now politically above the law and, as such, could do anything to stay in power and it work. If Bill Barr wouldn’t indict the Bidens, then a true autocrat in Trump’s position would have fired him in the middle of 2020 and found someone who would. Trump talked a lot about indicting Hunter Biden or Joe Biden…but it was all talk. He didn’t even simply fire anyone necessary to have something akin to the Second Comey Letter released.
We can only conclude from this that Trump is a historical and political avatar. He’s not a great man, he just kind of drifts through history reflecting the rot of our undead liberal democracy back at us. As such, it didn’t really sink into Trump he might be forced out of office until the moment it was too late to use politics — the moment the election was called for Biden. It was at this moment Trump both freaked out and, on a political level, all of Trump’s options ended.
Thus, Trump would have to use extra-political means to stay in office.
Autogolpe When, on a political basis, all of Trump’s options faded away, he began to freak out and think up ways to stay in office through an autogolpe — self-coup. His first idea was to berate and lean on the people who certified the election results in an effort to get them to nullify Biden’s win that way. He was calling up election officials from all over the country — and even inviting to the White House –in a panicked, desperate attempt to nullify Biden’s win at one of its weakest links.
When that didn’t work, Trump continued to panic. He began to lean on the Justice Department, hoping that they would simply say “the election was corrupt.” That’s all he wanted, just like with Ukraine. He just wanted people with authority to announce an investigation into the “corrupt” 2020 election and then he and Rudy would use the same agitprop techniques of the last five odd years to, through sheer ego and bullshit — force the election into the House and Senate.
Here’s something to mull — it’s very possible that our autocracy will come “legally’ when Republicans starting in 2024 always push POTUS elections into the House and Senate. Because Republicans have a majority of House delegations, they will always win. Let me repeat that: They. Will Always. Win. Because this up-to-now obscure element of the Constitution is their ultimate failsafe for winning elections, Republicans will use it to establish white Christian minority rule.
In fact, if America slips peacefully into autocracy, it will be because of that specific provision of the Constitution. It will be “Constitutional” so it will give the liberal media a hook to explain to the average person why they should cool it with talk of a civil war. This development will be framed just like the Bush V. Gore decision and, gradually, it will be such conventional wisdom that Republicans always win presidential elections that Republicans will finally get what they want: people will stop voting.
Of course, Republicans, once they know they can do whatever the fuck they want, will inevitably abuse their power to the point where we’re indistinguishable from autocratic Russia or there’s a civil war. I think we’re probably just going to become an autocracy and that’s it. At the moment, I just don’t see us breaking the seal on civil war.
If civil war happens, it will probably happen directly because of Trump’s personal incompetence at some critical moment in history. If history picks anyone else to shepherd us into autocracy, then it’s a done deal.
Let’s go back to the autogolpe. In the end, what spelled the demise of Trump’s autogolpe plot was how fucking lazy and stupid he was. He came up with all these ideas for how to throw the election into the House and Senate…and he just couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. He just was too deranged to simply fire anyone necessary to get that accomplished.
All the conditions were there, but, in the end, it was Trump, specifically, who fucked up and gave American democracy a few years of breathing room.
Because Trump could not pull the trigger, the last ditched effort of the autogolpe was something like this — gather a bunch of die hard MAGA fuckers near the Capitol, incite them in a speech, and then see what happened. At moment, there is no evidence that Trump knew how successful the insurrection would be, but he and his toadies knew, in general, what was likely to happen. In this respect, Trump gave himself some “plausible deniability” should the insurrection actually be a success.
So, from what I can tell, what Trump wanted was to get the mob to browbeat Pence into not certifying the vote. Why else were they chanting, “Hang Mike Pence?” This would throw everything up in the air and then Congress would get involved and that’s where Trump thought he would win because in the House each state delegation would get one vote and Republicans have a majority of delegations
The specific uses of the Electoral Count Act elude me, but it might have bene the middle step that Trump and Rudy could have fucked with to get a win. But the point remains — weirdly enough, we all owe Pence a lot of gratitude for destroying his political career by doing his fucking job.
Pence is the consummate Trump sycophant. Or, at least, he was until January 6th. After defending Trump at every turn for any and everything he did, no matter how horrible or autocratic, on January 6th Pence gave American democracy a second chance by simply doing his fucking job. (Which in the specific case of certification was simply to announce the certification, he didn’t really have to do anything other than not nullify the certification by going rouge.)
And, so because of the actions of two people everyone assumed would be Trump’s lapdogs, American democracy was spared for a few years. You honestly could not make such shit up.
Anyway, once Pence certified the vote, Trump lost.
Sooner or later, because the Republican Party on an systemic, essential basis is nothing more than modern “Slave Power” we’re going to either live under its jackboot or destroy it.
Now, a number of NeverTrumpers talk about this need to destroy the Republican Party, but they always talk about it in an extremely abstract, rhetorical fashion. And, for the time being, that’s probably the best course of action. But when such MAGA New Right “thought leaders” like Jesse Kelly and the talking heads of FOX News’ primetime up pretty much say we’re headed towards political violence — and it’s all liberals’ fault — something’s gotta give.
Again, let me be absolutely clear — I hate violence. I hate guns. All of my ranting here is done in sort of a “psychohistory” way. I’m looking at general, macro political, economic and demographic trends and making a pretty obvious conclusion — we’re fucked. And, because I absolutely refuse to let a tool like Jesse Kelly intimidate me, I’m calling his bluff. He’s not going to blame ME for the political violence HE glorifies.
I have seen how abstract fears about — essentially — “replacement theory” on the part of the MAGA New Right are destroying our liberal democracy and I feel forced to make my own abstract fears concrete. Hence, my obsessive “doom shit” about the looming existential choice of autocracy or civil war.
I also love scenarios so thinking up the specifics of how we might either peacefully transition into an autocracy or find ourselves destroying the Republican Party as part of a civil war is definitely my bailiwick. So any suggestion of violence is strictly wargaming. I’m a man of ideas and to me running a wargame about how we might defeat Trumplandia is just part and parcel of that.
Anyway, back to the point — there is going to come a point where just like during the Civil War slave power pushed us to the breaking point and ultimately caused its own destruction, so, too, is it likely that if the MAGA New Right doesn’t turn us into a Russian-style managed democracy that we (e.g. Blue States) are pushed into a historical corner and we have to destroy them on the field of battle.
And let me stress – I don’t want any political violence and I sure as fuck don’t want a civil war. Unlike the MAGA New Right fucktards I actually am aware of how fucking horrific a civil war would be. It would be massive, epic tragedy that would likely leave billions dead because the entire post-WW2 liberal order would collapse and WW3 would happen.
But on a macro historical level, I just don’t see how we don’t avoid either autocracy or civil war. And if those are my choices, I won’t say I “pick” civil war, but that’s the high risk, high potential reward option that is a lot better than living under an autocracy. The reason why all of this is personal for me is I’m a loudmouth kook and I know that having the luxury of living in a free country like the United States has been — to date — is the only reason why I can rant about what a fucking cocksucker Mike Pompeo is without risk of being pushed out a window by ICE. (I talk about this a lot, I know, but it’s just a rhetorical flourish. A running gag, if you will.)
Any time you’re talking about leaving politics behind and settling things but killing people for ideological reasons, oh boy. War is hell and unpredictable and should be avoided at all costs. But, if I HAVE to think about it, the Blue States are a lot like the North — it might take a little while for them to get their shit together, but in the end they can vanquish their rival vision of America. A lot would depend, of course, on what California did.
If it simply leaves the Union at the onset of a Second American Civil War, then, lulz, welcome to Trumplandia.
It’s times like these where I wish I went to Harvard and worked at VOX so I could get paid to figure out what to tell you to do at this point. As it is, I’m at a loss.
Zeroth Law A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. — Isaac Asimov
The most powerful nation in the world is careening towards an existential choice: autocracy or civil war. I hate violence. I hate guns. Hell, I hate conflict. But we’ve approached a historical moment when the average self-aware American needs to do a gut check: what are you willing to do to maintain and, if necessary renew, the American Covenant?
As such, I feel forced by the human, American equivalent of Asimov’s “Zeroth Law” to say that given that I would rather die on my feet a free man than live on my knees a slave to MAGA that maybe we should begin to prepare for civil war. This is an extremely risky option.
There are no assurances that we, “the Good Guys” would win. A simple glance at the first Civil War is a huge warning not to think about it — from 1861 to 1863 the CSA had a very, very good chance of winning. That’s one of the many things about war that sucks so bad: you just never know. You could end up killing a lot of people and still not achieve your war aims. Just ask the multitude of Iraqis and Iranians that died in the early 1980s.
But at the same time, the MAGA New Right is telegraphing their objectives. They want the United States to be an autocracy, a managed democracy. They are doing this in broad daylight. If you look at the Twitter feed of people like Jesse Kelly, it’s pretty much full of the exact same things I rant about, only from the exact opposite end of the political spectrum.
What I fear, he wants, and vis versa.
I’m not proposing you buy a gun or anything — please, for fuck’s sake don’t — but I am saying you have at best about four years (January 2025) to get your affairs in order before we either slip peacefully into a Russian-style autocracy or we have a civil war of some sort.
If you have the means, buy a passport and get out while you still can. If you’re like me and don’t think you’re going to have the means to leave, you need to start to game out what you’re going to do. In some respects, a lot of this is macro and out of the hands of any one person. The choice of civil war or autocracy isn’t really in my — or anyone else’s hands.
But if we do have a civil war — which I pray we won’t — freedom loving people have to get over themselves and start thinking on an existential level how they can help the war effort. I know myself well enough to know that I’m probably going to throw myself into the revolution should it happen. I’m a good writer, speaker and organizer.
Should history decide to give me the opportunity to help save the United States, I’m going to answer the call.
Or, put another way, don’t let yourself be cowed by the civil war talk of the New Right. Rather, call their bluff and start to game out what you might do on an individual basis to combat those fucktards when the moment comes. The Blue States have a huge advantage when it comes to their economies, political unity and concentration of population.
The issue is, just like with the early days of the first civil war, if the Blue States will have the wherewithal to fight fire with fire. It could be that the Red States will sucker punch Blue States and while they’re recovering simply strangle what’s left of American democracy while Blue States recover from the inital blow.
But the Zeroth Law tells me, on a personal, abstract basis what to do.
The evidence continues to build that Trump was his own worst enemy when it came to the events of January 6th. If he wasn’t such a fucking IDIOT, his attempt at a self-coup or “autogolpe,” would have been successful. The crux of the issue is — the whole plot was done in a frenzied panic.
It gives one pause for thought to think that it isn’t that Trump isn’t an autocrat — he is — it’s just he’s so fucking lazy and stupid that he couldn’t pull it off even though he could have.
Or, put another way, the Hand of Fate pointed at Trump and gave him the opportunity and motive to stage a successful autogolpe in the United States. What he didn’t have was the means — he’s a barely cognizant man child who was simply playing himself.
This brings me to something I’ve found myself thinking a lot about of late: Trump is not a “great man.” He’s just an avatar. Right time, right place kind of guy. Hitler, or Stalin or whomever weren’t just playing themselves, they had agency — they warped history through sheer ego.
That avatar, not great man, element was in full display with Trump’s attempted autogolpe. Someone like Hitler wouldn’t have let the process get as far along as Trump did. And if Hitler was in such a situation, he would have used whatever means necessary to make sure he never had to leave office.
But Trump, oh boy. What a fucking moron.
Having said all that, there is the issue of Trump single-handedly, through sheer incompetence, forcing us into a civil war. It would happen either because Cyber Ninjas “proved” he “won” Arizona or he becomes Speaker when Republicans take the House in 2022 or he runs again in 2024 and there’s a nullification crisis when a MAGA Congress refuses to certify a Biden win.
Again, any of those scenarios would involve Trump being nothing more than a historical empty vessel. Any other autocrat would deftly transition the United States from liberal democracy into autocracy given any of those opportunities. But Trump is a fucking idiot so he could just crash into history and cause Blue States to bounce or Red States to bounce and cause the whole country to come crashing down unless the military decides to step in with some sort of temporary junta.
What I’m saying is — while we’re all going to be forced to take Trump both seriously and literally when the history of the United States is written, in a sense we dodged a huge fucking bullet (at least for the moment.) Almost any other person in the same political spectrum as Trump would have successfully destroyed American democracy.
Shelt Garner @sheltgarner I’m on one of my regular writer’s retreats and I went to a nearby bar for dinner. The bartender was very vocal about everything he thought was wrong with America.
It soon became obvious to me that in 2016, he was the guy who supported Trump and Bernie Sanders equally. He was just angry in general about “the Deep State” and felt everything would be fixed with term limits and tort reform.
Once I got over my shock at what I was encountering, I decided to use him as an “in” to the the angry mob that elected Trump president in 2016. I’ve been toying with the idea of if I was Steve Bannon, who would I pick at the next Trump. The only person I can think of at the moment is Chris Pratt. He’s personable, conservative (for Hollywood) and would be easy to use as the type of Trump-like empty vessel that Bannon loves.
Now, there are a few problems.
The biggest problem is much of the nation is once bitten twice shy when it comes to that type of candidate. So, it makes sense that that gambit is no longer viable. From a political operative perspective, you probably need to spend your energy on Pompeo, or Hawley or Cotton or DeSantis. You just can’t get away with running a Trump-like dingus again.
Anyway, the fact that I actually talked to a guy who in April 2016 would have been equally interested in Trump and Bernie kind of blows my mind. All I know is, he fit the bill of that type of mythical voter.
I saw this on Twitter and had to comment. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just talking into the aether when it comes to my fears that at some point between now and January 2025 the United States is going to face the existential choice of civil war or autocracy.
So, when I read the above imagine on Twitter I almost gasped — this is just the type of talk that one would expect from a modern antebellum America. On a basic level, I just don’t know what exactly California is doing to Texas that is so bad to warrant bloodshed on a mass scale.
All things being equal, the United States — Texas and California included — is a stable and prosperous nation. There’s no need for the individual states of the United States to be at each other’s throats. Also, as I have mentioned repeatedly on this blog, there’s a big difference between being in peace afforded the luxury of being a latte sipping soyboy and having to put your blood on the line to defend your personal freedom.
As such, at the moment, it’s easy to see why a ding-bat Texas nationalist might think California would collapse like a “rotten door” as Hitler might say. I would suggest that if the United States actually buckled AND California felt it was in its self-interest to fight the good fight against seditionist Red States that we would all be very impressed with how well they will fight.
A lot of what the MAGA New Right thinks about places like California is complete self-serving bullshit that once put to a test is going to come back bite them. In other words — California has a huge population and economy that could easily be converted to a deadly weapon of war should it be put on a (civil) war footing.
And, yet I doubt anything can stop the momentum, the dead hand of history, that is hurdling us towards civil war or autocracy.
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