It’s A Feature, Not A Bug: The Republican Asymmetrical Attack On Our Liberal Democracy

by Shelt Garner

On a macro level, it’s not looking good for America’s liberal democracy. I’ve been reading a series of books about the threats facing our democratic republic and…oh boy.

Several different macro trends are crashing down on us all at the same time and the Republican Party has the wind on its back. The existential fear of the browning of America that is expressed through white identity politics is so severe within the Republican Party that all they have to do is return back to 2017 levels of control and, well, we’re fucked.

And, honestly, I just don’t see any solution to any of this. Something that I could not possibly predict would have to happen to stop America’s zombie-like march into an autocratic managed democracy like Putin’s Russia. The Republican Party is only going to grow more radical and bonkers in the coming years and when they have the power, they’re never letting it go.

I came up with a lot of dystopian hellscape political scenarios during Trumplandia and the more I think about it, the more I was just a few years off. Trumpism isn’t dead, it’s just sleeping. And if you want proof of that, just look at how badly “establishment” Republicans want to memory-hole the Dec. 6th Insurrection.

They don’t want any accountability. Much like the dynamic that happens after a mass shooting, they want us to just move on and forget out what just happened. As such, Trump would REALLY have to bungle his impeachment trial in the Senate for it to mean anything in the long run.

Not that he isn’t capable of doing just that — he is a massive self-own artist, after all — but as of right now, it definitely seems as though what happened with Trump’s first impeachment will happen with this one. The two sides will only grow farther apart and, in the end, the Republicans will come roaring back in 2022 and 2024.

Then the real “fun” begins.

I would leave the country if I could. But I’m just a broke-ass aspiring novelist. At least I’ve come up with some sort of gameplan when President Pompeo (or whomever) finally strangles American democracy and starts a war with Iran in hopes of bringing Jesus back.

Mixed Media — The Significance of Music In This Novel

by Shelt Garner

I have no idea what I’m doing with this novel. I’ve been working on it for about three years now — so long, in fact, that the era it was meant to rant about is over — and the one constant has been I want music to be an important part of the storytelling process.

It’s so important to me that I’ve come up with a rather elaborate — if intuitive — reason for music to be something that ties the hero and heroine together on an emotional level. And, really, the only thing I worry about when it comes to this aspect of the story is not everyone will know the songs I reference simply from their titles.

This is a novel, not a screenplay I’m writing, after all.

But I’ve gone out of my way to use songs that are either so well known that the average person wouldn’t have to look them up or their titles are pretty much self-explanatory in the context of how they’re referenced. At least, that’s what I’m thinking about as I pick songs. I see this novel as something of a High Fidelity meets The Girl Who Played With Fire in how important music is to the progression of the plot. And given that I’m writing this thing with “woke Park Slope moms” at the forefront of my mind, I’m hoping that will be something the audience really gets into.

The more I grow consumed by developing and writing this novel, the more I continue to allow myself to be the “delusional” phase of development. I am finally, however, allowing myself to admit that at a minium I’m not going to embarrass myself with this novel if I just keep going and do the hard work.

The musical aspect of the novel is one that I’m including because of how personal this novel is. What gets me is I’m throwing myself completely into this novel and it’s not even meant to be literary — it’s just meant to be a fun thriller that uses subtext to rant about the Trump Era.

But the Trump Era is (hopefully) over and, as such, I have to use the Lady Bird Gambit to keep it relevant. Yet I have to admit that even though I feel some serious existential angst about any of this, I feel as though maybe, just maybe, things are going to move a lot fast with this novel.

The Best Person To Defend Trump At His Impeachment Trial Is Himself

by Shelt Garner

Ugh. Where to begin with this one. It’s so easy to think up crazy-like-a-fox autocratic things Trump can do. Then he, being just an idiot, manages to bungle any tactic that any other autocrat would see as obvious and use with great gusto.

Take impeachment, for instance.

Trump apparently is having problems finding lawyers to defend him at his Senate impeachment trial. Now, remember, impeachment is, by definition, a political act. Trump has no need of lawyers. He already has the MAGA-Qanon base of the Republican Party welding absolute control over the Republican Party. Why not lean into that by defending himself?

All he has to do is rant in the well of the Senate at every opportunity and Republican Senators will be so in abject fear of the MAGA-Qanon base that they will let Trump off simply to shut him up.

But the thing about Trump is he is such a lazy idiot and not an autocrat, that he just doesn’t have the abstract thought necessary to pull such a stunt off. He’s just going to find some knuckle dragger lawyer and hope for the best. Idiot.

Time To Do Preemptive Triage

by Shelt Garner

On a macro level, the United States is doomed. We have a very stark choice ahead of us — fascist autocracy or civil war / revolution. The election of Joe Biden simply punted the crisis down the road about four years. And that punt happened because of one person and one person only: Donald Trump.

Trump is such a lazy idiot that the very thing that any other thug in his position would have done, he didn’t do. If Tom Cotton or Mike Pompeo was president in 2017 I probably wouldn’t be writing this now because I would be locked up in an ICE concentration camp — or worse. Every republic has to fall and so here were are — the United States is an autocracy without an autocrat.

No one is going to save us. We’re doomed. The Republican Party will grow more radical and powerful over the next four years, not less so. And, so, in the end, the only real question is how violent will the transformation from liberal democracy to fascist autocracy be. Will there be a civil war / revolution as we transition, or will it be such a historical sucker punch that when the media is purged and people like me are snatched off the street will anyone even care?

I’m talking about macro trends here. On a macro level, the United States is fate is sealed. It’s over. The forces of white identity politics are simply too strong. Someone like Trump was going to rise in the 2016-2024 time frame, it just happened to be Trump. What everyone missed, however, was Trump was strictly an avatar — he was successful for simply being himself. A sizable chunk of the electorate sees liberal democracy as a threat and, as such, they wanted the guy from The Apprentice.

Thankfully for everyone else, when they elected “the guy from The Apprentice” what they got was Chauncey Gardner from Being There.

But this is simply a historical quirk that will work itself out soon enough. We have, in fact, crossed the Rubicon and we’re all in Rome waiting for Caesar’s forces to reach the city. As such, we have to accept that it’s over. America’s decline is set to accelerate to the point that we leave NATO and pretty much pull all our troops from the entire world so we are Fortress America. This is now a historical absolute. Trump simply sliced the seal on fascist autocracy. A big chunk of the American electorate wants a fascist autocracy because they’re afraid of the browning of America.

As such, we have to do triage. As I’ve suggested before, you need a passport. And if you don’t have the means to leave the country within four years, move to a Blue State. When the Final Fall happens, it’s likely to be a historical thunderclap. And, as I keep saying, my only question at this point is literally will there be a revolution / civil war in the 2024-2025 timeframe or will the fascist autocracy be established peacefully?

From my Webstats, I can tell that there is a huge amount of interest in second civil war porn. If my tiny little blog is getting most of its traffic now from people wanting to stroke one off to my dystopian hellscape scenarios, then, well, we got a problem.

Let me be clear — the extremism of the Republican Party is a feature, not a bug. As America grows more diverse, the Republican Party is only going to grow more radical and fascist. And, as such, we have to get woke to what’s really going on — the Republican Party is a fascist party and in the end they either split into the Patriot Party (MAGA) and the Republican Party or fascist Trumpism completely consumes the Republican Party. From what I can tell, it definitely seems as though any civil war in the Republican Party is over and MAGA won.

So, get out while you can. Move to Europe. Or Australia. The United States is rotting from within politically and will buckle soon enough. Something pretty big — something I could never possibly imagine — would have to happen to prevent this transformation. The era of indecision is over. Pick a side. Or it will be chosen for you.

Taylor Swift, Cara Delevingne, Kaia Gerber & The Media’s Construction of ‘Reality’

by Shelt Garner

Let me begin by saying I just don’t care one way or another if Cara Delevingne and Kaia Gerber are dating. I will admit that the such a prospect does make my eyes bug out a little bit, that’s not the point. What those two fine, fine women do with their bodies is their own concern.

What bugs me is how the celebrity news business seems to be pulling a fast one on us about what is “real.” This is kind of late, but something about this photo and how it was presented at the time it was released really bothers me.

“We’re just friends.”

Ok, so, this photo is of a two-person cardigan that Taylor Swift gave Cara Delevingne and Kaia Gerber upon the release of her fan-service album “Cardigan.” So far, so good. What bothers me is at the time there was zero indication that this was anymore than just “two friends” getting a kooky gift from their equally famous friend Taylor Swift. I will admit that maybe this is far more well known in New York City than I realize and if that’s the case, I’m sorry. But relative to my media intake, there’s been not even a Entertainment Tonight allusion to this couple’s existence.

It’s almost as if celebrity media simply did not want to do anything to let us know that, uhhhhhh, those two aren’t just friends. It reminds me of how The New York Times was famous back in the day for various wink-wink nudge-nudge euphemisms for “gay.”

This brings up the issue — why does this even matter?

It matters to me because it’s the duty of journalism — even celebrity journalism – to provide context. The couple is out enough that they’re wearing a two-person cardigan, for Christ’s sake, why not just ship them to the public? It’s shit like this that makes people not trust the media.

There must have been some way to simply state the obvious about the picture — Taylor Swift gave a two-person cardigan to Cara Delevingne and Kaia Gerber who are in a romantic relationship. But I guess the reasoning is, being out among the 1% is different than being out with the hayseed rubes of middle-America so celebrity journalists, in a sense, are protecting the couple. I’m probably stumbling across some sort of queer theory concept of how different the concept of being “out” is among different parts of society.

Anyway. It’s just annoying.

But, as I keep saying, I wish the couple well (if they’re even still dating.) I just had to vent a little bit about that picture.

Q Nation: ‘The Velvet Fist’

by Shelt Garner

Of all the House Trump: Next Generation people I’m worried about, it’s Lara Trump that seems the most poised to finally strangle American liberal democracy. I say this because she’s demonstrably beautiful, smart and ambition — and something of a proxy for her much-maligned husband Eric Trump. My current thinking is something like this could happen — Lara Trump wins a Senate seat in North Carolina (because she’s actually willing to, like, work, unlike Ivanka) and after a major primary battle with any number of non-Trump autocrats in waiting, we get ourselves The Velvet Fist.

Lara Trump will be the sunny, beautiful exterior while someone like Mike Pompeo or Tom Cotton is the “fist” while serving as her veep. This would be very in line with how autocrats work. As you may know, one of the ways Putin has stayed in power for about three decades now is he kept bouncing back and forth between President and Premier.

So that’s one of several options when it comes to how the United States finally lurches into its pre-ordinaed destiny of fascist autocracy. We’ll be so busy thinking, “Oh, Lara Trump would NEVER do that, would she…” that we are totally oblivious that Mike Pompeo (or whomever) is the REAL president behind the scenes who is quickly consolidating power in the 2025 – 2027 time frame. I have really come to believe that all my dystopian nightmares that I predicted during Trumplandia will still happen, it just may be Lara Trump (face) that it happens under.

We’re just not prepared as a nation for the historial sucker punch that is about to happen to us. American liberal democracy is going to be strangled by The Velvet Fist so quickly that by the time we process what just happened, the ICE Camps will be packed full of all the people Q Anon thinks are involved in some sort of evil cabal. (Which, oddly enough is pretty much just Jewish people all over again…ugh.)

And, really, Lara Trump instead of Ivanka Trump would square the circle of how Q Nation could start killing The Usual Suspects of Jews, etc without upsetting Ivanka’s tender Jewish sensibilities. She’s so complicit that by the time SHE realizes the monster she’s associated with, she’s going to be sharing a concentration camp with the equally gobsmacked Stephen Miller. Or, put another way, anyone who doesn’t think Q is simply a cover to murder “liberals” who also often happen to be Jewish is an idiot.

But this is all very speculative at this moment. It could be that it’s not the Velvet Fist, but the Orange Fist — our good old pal deranged Trump comes back, but only as something of a Trojan Horse. He would come back tan, ready and rested, but with Mike Pompeo or Tom Cotton as he veep. They would, in the background, do all the horrific things I thought Trump would do the first time around.

The point is, again — America is an autocracy without an autocrat. Macro trends just aren’t in our liberal democracy’s favor. Something pretty huge that I can’t sketch out would have to happen to prevent Republicans having another shot at turning us into Q Nation. Again — either get out of the country in the next four years or move to a Blue State.

Things are going to get dark.

‘Q Nation’

by Shelt Garner

I hate to break it to you, but the bad guys are going to win. There continues to be a lot of chatter around that the Republican Party is going to wither away because it’s too growing too extreme and is too consumed with the bonkers Q conspiracy theory.

Sadly, I think the opposite is true — we have to accept that for a sizable chunk of the population liberal democracy is no longer seen as a legitimate form of government. There are a lot — a lot — of reasons for this, but generally I would say it boils down to white blue collar men without a college education not being able to settle down and expect “the American Dream” to be waiting for them as they grow older.

As such, they voted for “the guy from The Apprentice” in 2016, hoping for a Putin-style autocrat. That’s what they wanted. But that’s not what they got. Yes, plutocrats got their massive tax cut. And social conservatives got their hundreds of young hack MAGA judges. But, in the end, when America was spread eagle in front of Trump, he, well, he couldn’t get his figurative autocratic cock up. He turned out just to be an idiot, like Chauncey Gardner from Being There. So, while he had plenty of autocratic or fascist impulses and inclinations, in reality he just didn’t have it in him.

So where does that leave us?

Well, barring something I just can’t predict, we have about four years of something akin to a Weimar Republic ahead of us. Or, even more specifically, we have TWO years of being in political neutral, then another two years of the Republican Party plotting how they can consolidate power once they win back the presidency in 2024.

Republicans now wallow in white identity politics to such an extent that when they do get back to 2017-levels of control, they aren’t going to let the opportunity slip through their fingers again. It will either be the Velvet Fist of Lara Trump / Mike Pompeo or just Mike Pompeo (or someone like him) being full autocrat.

And, really, at this point, the question is not so much if America is an autocracy without an autocrat, it’s when President Pompeo has two years to consolidate power does he cause a secession crisis / civil war / revolution, or do we just slip into an autocratic fascist state without so much as a struggle.

I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.

All I know is the ICE infrastructure is going to be weaponized in about five years and people like me are going to be thrown into concentration camps. All my nightmares from the Trump Era were simply a few years too early. They would have happened if Trump had anywhere near the political acumen that I — and people like The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman — ascribed to him.

The next time around, however, I’m going to be right. And probably starving to death in an ICE Camp somewhere.

My Hot Take On Olivia Wilde

by Shelt Garner

Not that anyone cares, but here’s my take on Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles.. First, I just don’t care. They’re both hot and so what if she’s older than he is. More power to her.

What does bother me about Ms. Wilde, however, is to this middle-aged man, she can come across as too cute by half when it comes to how Hollywood perceives her appearance. Don’t get me wrong — she’s both gorgeous and talented.

But I’ve seen interviews with her where she is shocked (shocked!) that Hollywood casting agents would want her to look hotter. I mean, oh, come on, give me a break. Hollywood is an industry (Double Dees, Double Dees, as SNL would say) and it grates on my nerves that someone as smart as Ms. Wilde would act like it was a big deal that Hollywood — gasp — had sex on its brain all the time.

The whole point of Hollywood is a mixture of sex, money making, storytelling and glamor that allows idiots like me two hours of escape. I really fucking hated Ms. Wilde’s movie Booksmart because I felt it was insulting me for various reasons. From it’s self-conscious selection of a Plain Jane protagonist to the scene where there’s screeching about lesbian sex positions, I bounce from that movie theatre at just about the inciting incident.

But I was shamed by my liberal-progressive echo chamber into seeing it. I left the movie theatre with an overarching desire to watch Heathers again.

Anyway, I think I wouldn’t be so upset about Booksmart if it was a better story. I just wasn’t the audience. I went into the movie without any expectations and when it became way to self-aware about the Male Gaze and the patriarchy, I said fuck this. There is this thing called “subtext” where you can rant about such things all you want and still tell a good story.

But having said all that, Ms. Wilde is great. I wish her luck. I would take it easy on the browbeating audience members like me with the idology, though. Try to tell better stories. The rest will come naturally.

Post-Rona Media: Idle Rambling About The Need For A Successor To Gawker

by Shelt Garner

Because of all my obsessive ranting about Gawker over the years, its founder Nick Denton has blocked me on Twitter. I have to say that one kind of hurts — even if, from his perspective, I can see I kinda deserve it.

Now, let me be clear — I’m working on a novel (which is going well, thank you) and so this is just me letting off some steam. Absolutely no one, but NO ONE, listens to me. I really am, for the time being, just talking to myself on this blog. I’m a complete and total nobody. But occasionally, I like to think, I do write something interesting on this blog.

And I know I’m writing some pretty interesting things in the novel I’m writing. Some of them are pretty thought provoking, in fact.

Regardless, I’m old enough now to have some perspective .Looking back on what I’ve experienced, it definitely seems as though occasionally a New Era pops up that changes things in a big way. Thinking back, it seems as though there were big shifts in mass perception just after Watergate and in the 1991-1992 era.

It seems logical to me that…maybe?…the fact that both Trumplandia and Rona are set to end at just about the same time might be enough to reset things? A New Modern era? Young people will reference THIS as “the modern” going forward?

A lot depends on the economy and how stable things are on an economic front. Though, of course, you could say that the next four years may be the last gasp of America as a liberal democracy, so, as such, we’re ripe for some Weimar Republic levels of creativity in a short burst before ICE agents begin to patrol Broadway looking for “non-American themes and ideas.”

I wish I was joking.

But the point is — where’s our new Gawker? It would be fun to have a new Gawker-like site that would follow in the traditions of Late Night with David Letterman, Spy Magazine and Gawker. I know what’s going on — the Internet is just as mature as the rest of media, so the start up costs for a Gawker-like site would be staggering.

The dynamic just isn’t there for a site to grow organically anymore.

As such, I think we’re in for just more of the same. The economics of the infotainment industry as such that we’re just going to have bland everything from here on out.

I’m doing my part to create something fun and different with the novel I’m working on, but it just takes time. Be patient.

Preparing For America’s Inevitable Descent Into Fascist Autocracy

by Shelt Garner

So, here we are. If ever there was reason to believe the Great Man theory of history, this particular moment in time is it. But for the sheer stunning stupidity and incompetence of one Donald John Trump, America would be little more than a managed democracy like Putin’s Russia. Existing ICE camps would begin to welcome liberals (or anyone who’s generally a loudmouth like me) and we would continue our steady march towards Fortress America.

But Trump just wasn’t up to the task.

As such, as I keep saying, the United States is now an autocracy without an autocrat. About half the population longs for the white security of a Christian Entho state that re-assures them that they will always be the most politically powerful race in the United States, no matter their dwindling numbers in real terms.

I keep saying — America’s future is South Africa’s past.

There are a few — but significant — unknowns on a macro level for the United States as we stumble into our very own Fourth Reich. Will there be a civil war? How violent will the process ultimately be? How long will the Fourth Reich last and who, specifically, will be the craven thug who finally pulls the plug on the First American Republic?

For me, one question that looms large is — how does one prepare for this dystopian hellscape?

Since we have about four years to prepare, I would first suggest you get a passport if you can. Also, I might suggest you take concrete steps to connect to like-minded people who will be willing to risk things in the real world. When the Fourth Reich comes into existence, it will be so quick as to be something of a historical suckerpunch.

And, really, I might even suggest if you have the means that you make sure you’re living in a Blue State by 2025. That way, should the American autocrat of 2025 bungle things and the Blue States are able to bounce from the Union before he finally consolidates power, at least you’ll be in the right place.

Otherwise, you’re on your own.

Good luck.