by Shelt Garner
Two major historical events come to mind when I mull how the Trump Era — should it come to a close soon — will be viewed. One is Watergate. Not only was it the crucible through which America entered the modern era, it was all around a big old tragedy.
If anything, Trump has taught us a very crucial lesson about Watergate. We thought Watergate established a gameplan for how a president might actually be removed from office if his or her crimes were bad enough. In fact, Watergate was a very specific event with very specific characters that was not really any sort of gameplan at all. It was simply a fluke.
Or, put another way, it was a construct of the era in which it came out of. People in 1972 – 1974 had some sort of shame. Some sort of sense of honor. Two qualities that absolutely no one in the Trump Administration has.
The point is, however, that nothing was the same after Watergate. The Republican Party became the part of the people who were Nixon deadenders. That core group of people — in the guise of Reagan — would come roaring back in 1980 as part of the Reagan Revolution.
The Reagan Revolution is the other big event that the Trump Era gives us some insight into. The reason why Reagan’s election was so important was many of the problems that would lead to Trump first began to form. The Republican’s obsession with SCOTUS. It’s obsession with cutting taxes and social programs. It’s hatred of anyone voting. The list goes on.
The key issue of this moment in time, however, is how it was a psychological break from the past. The entire country began to take for granted a number of what were previously far Right concepts.
So, here we are in the Trump Era.
It will be the biggest shock of my adult life if not only the Russians let Trump lose, but Trump doesn’t somehow start a civil war just out of spite and a fear of going to prison should he leave office.
But should Trump miraculously leave office and a Biden Administration start, I just don’t see how things snap back into place. Trump isn’t going anywhere. He’s still going to be an ex-president. He’s still going to demand a spotlight and he’s still going to have a Twitter account. What’s more, he’s probably going to salt the earth on the way out the door.
One subtle change, however, the thing that we’re all going to have to deal with, is Trump single handedly radicalized much of the center-Left the way the Obama’s second term radicalized the entire fucking Republican Party. We were sucker punched by Trump’s time in office and so a lot of the native goodwill that many center-Left people might give Republicans simply doesn’t exist anymore.
In a way, both sides are now equally radicalized and suspicious of each other. The only real difference between Republicans and Democrats is the latter actually believes in liberal democrats norms. And Democrats have some sense of shame. Republicans, meanwhile, don’t give a shit. They are so fucking craven, so blinded by ideology that they were more than willing to fucking destroy the whole country if they think it might give them just one more young hack MAGA judge.
But I still just don’t believe Trump is going to lose. He’s an autocrat and autocrats never lose. Never. It’s going to be the Russians. Or SCOTUS. Or some combination of both that allow Trump to “not lose.”
And I just don’t see Americans having it in them to do what would be necessary to force the issue and drive Trump out of office — a General Strike. I believe TrumpBarr will simply grow more radical as necessary, invoke the Insurrection Act and that will be that.
As I keep saying, on a strictly political level, Biden is doing quite well. But Trump is an autocrat — if a very incompetent one — and, as such, will never fucking leave office. And if he does leave office, you had better be sure he’s going to demand a pound of political flesh.
So, in the end, even if Trump is out of office, everything will be different. Our expectations have changed. There’s likely to be a Trump Deep State that will aggressively work to bring down the Biden Administration at every turn. The Fox News faux outrage machine will constantly be looking for different ways to recapture the glory of the Trump Era.
Trump will be the Republican Party’s new Reagan. Everything they do, everything they say, everything they believe in will be relative to Trump. They hate democracy and see it only as a means to an end. About half a dozen would-be younger, brighter, more focused autocrats are already chomping at the bit to finish the job Trump has begun.
Remember — even after the disgrace of Watergate, the Republicans just barely lost to Carter in 1976. Barely. It was one of the tightest elections in history. And they came roaring back just six years after Nixon left office in disgrace.
Should Trump physically leave office, we’re probably going to have three to six months to enjoy it before Republicans will shit on it all.
But I still, still will be completely flabbergasted if Trump loses. Too many powerful people — including Trump himself — will fight dirty to ensure Trump stays in power as long as he likes.