by Shelt Garner
I talk to my far more conservative relatives about the dark path that MAGA is leading us down and a recurring defense they use is sort of, “Oh, that would never happen.” This, in large part, is a function of the extensive permission structure that’s been built up specifically to allow conservative people who are turned off by MAGA to turn around and vote for Trump anyway.
And, I have to admit, that while Trump is definitely “autocratic friendly” in the end, he was just too dumb and lazy to follow through on his more extreme anti-democratic rhetoric.
I feel, however, that anyone who lulzes the dangers of MAGA, ignores how on an systemic level, the Republican Party is now hell bent on establishing a “blood and soil” white Christian ethno state in the United States. Political history teaches us that form follows function and, as such, once MAGA inevitably comes to power again that what Trump only talked about in the past is going to become a reality.
The autocratic forces at work in the United States are just too strong. Historical determinism would suggest that there will come a point when all my dystopian hellscape scenarios are going to come true. And that’s when I wonder how my conservative relatives are going to react.
What I think is going to happen is they will become, at last, “Good Germans.” They will generally be pleased with how they can finally sleep tight at night because MAGA has eliminated any possibility of them being “canceled” simply for being conservative. Any excesses on the part of MAGA will be justifiable because the boarders will be secure, abortion will be illegal and elections “secure.”
I, being an anti-MAGA loudmouth, see things dramatically different. What is nothing more than an abstract for my conservative relatives is very concrete for me. I have no idea what the specifics of any of this will be, but the case could be made that at some point President Pompeo or President Cotton will purge the media in some way and then weaponize the existing ICE infrastructure.
As such, it’s very possible there will come a moment when my conservative relatives will be required to weigh their personal needs with my political transgressions in this new, dark MAGA fascist era. I’ve already told at least one of them to just turn me in. I know that sounds hysterical right now, but I’d much rather be turned in by my Good German relatives than have them beg me to shut up for the sake of the family.
It’s just not going to happen.
I often weigh how long, exactly, it might take for this “form follows function” concept to turn us in to what MAGA wants us to be –an Americanized version of Putin’s Russia. I struggle with this because it’s very possible that for some time after we become an autocracy, MAGA autocrats won’t really touch the one thing that would make people sit up and take notice: the First Amendment.
For some time, they would likely be quite content to weld hard power via law and policy and laugh at Twitter liberals who freak out at this or that autocratic thing that has been implemented. A lot of how this would actually go down depends on the personality quirks of whichever autocrat in waiting happens to finally ascend the throne.
But, my rough estimate would be we would gradually grow more autocratic and then suddenly get REALLY autocratic. My guess right now is this would happen when the MAGA fascist leader we finally elect demands a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balance budget amendment.” They will get their convention, then it will turn around and enshrine MAGA into law for good.
Then things are really going to get shitty for people like me.
Yet, I’m sketching out things that will likely happen at some point between now and, say, 2041. Of course, there is the other option, which is we have a civil war and after we bomb the hell out of each other, we sort things out and gradually go back to the way things were. But that would be a tragedy and I’d prefer not to go through that hell.
Anyway. Good luck, guys.