by Shelt Garner
America definitely has a Soviet Union in August 1991 vibe to it right now. If my Webstats are any indication, a lot of people across the country think — hope? — that we’re going to have some sort of Second American Civil War soon.
I generally don’t think that will happen now, but rather sometime in 2024-2025, but for one thing: Donald Trump. There are any number of different ways Trump could force the issue of a civil war as he attempts to stay in power. Now, we have to put this in perspective: Trump has done none of the prep work to do anything extra-political or extra-legal to stay in power. In other words — if he does stage a coup of some sort, it will be because he’s bonkers.
Also, if he makes any type of significant power grab, it would be, at last, a self-evident proof of what people like me have said about Trump all along: he’s a tyrant. To date, Trump has enjoyed a lot of negative-polarization support from conservatives-who-aren’t-MAGA because they like his policies but don’t like him. They just don’t feel they have any option — they support Trump because of things like cancel culture which they think will destroy them for simply being conservative.
The great irony of the Trump Era is the context of the whole thing may change in its waning days if Trump pulls some sort of extra-political or extra-legal stunt in a one last death rattle. If Trump could just control himself, then the entire Trump Era would be value free to huge swaths of the American politic. We would snap back to the political assumptions of the late Obama Administration and that would be that.
But if Trump goes transactional on Twitter in some way and real people begin to get hurt then those conservatives-who-aren’t-MAGA are going to, at last, have to face tyrannical behavior on Trump’s part that isn’t abstract. It can’t be dismissed as just Trump Derangement Syndrome. If Trump makes a power grab, it will be very difficult to say “both sides.”
Or, put another way, conservatives-who-aren’t-MAGA are going to face an existential decision — are they MAGA or not? Are they willing to support a tyrant because they fear cancel culture or not? There will be some who will realize they’re MAGA after all. But enough conservative-but-not-MAGA people will, at last, get woke and join some sort of United Front against Trump at the very last moment that Trump is going to destroy himself politically at last.
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