by Shelt Garner
I struggle to understand the thinking of people who poo-poo my belief that Something Dark is going to happen to the United States between now and January 2025. I struggle to understand what they see that I can’t.
One possible explanation is they’ve already made the cognitive leap to accepting autocracy. They see Trump’s autocratic leanings strictly through the lends of tactical policy and an overreaction from people like me who reduce to “Orange Man Bad.” They look forward to what, in effect, would be an autocracy and they lulz the whole thing.
They will be getting the America they want and fuck you, lib.
Another explanation is the people who roll their eyes at my growing concern just don’t look at the world in the same way I do. They’re not Very Online and they’re so busy raising their kids and paying their mortgage that the idea that the United States would longer be a democracy is just not something they can process. Or, if they try, then they fall back to the old saw that the United States isn’t a democracy, but rather a constitutional representative republic.
This rationalization will serve them well when, using the quirks of the Constitution, the Republicans manage to stay within the letter of the law, but not its spirit. For them, the dusty portions of the Constitution that Republicans will use to nullify any Democrat becoming president will give them enough cover to shrug and be Good Americans.
Here are some reasons why we won’t have a civil war:
- It’s not in our nature to have a civil war.
For all the hateful rhetoric on the part of the MAGA New Right, it’s possible that in the end, they manage to pull off a peaceful transition to autocracy. In fact, at first, at least, the chance from democracy to autocracy could be so subtle that only a few hysterical people like me even notice. For the average person, it will just be a replay of 2000, only worse: it will simply be accepted that the only way a Democrat can become POTUS is if that party also control Congress. People will say “the system worked” and move on.
- Republicans have gamed the system.
It could be that by 2024 – 2025 the actual administration of elections will be so corrupt that it will be a fact of life that people shrug and take for granted. It will be the first step towards Americans becoming Russians in that they will no longer feel as though the government expresses the will of the people. And that will be that.
- Not Trump 2024
Another reason why we could slip peacefully into autocracy is it’s not Trump who is the Republican nominee, but someone other than Trump. If this is the case, when I honestly don’t see why we would have a civil war. Autocracy is so popular within the United States –and the opposition to it is so weak — that our transition to an actual autocracy will in the end be so easy to pull off that there will be no need to resort to violence. Blue States will get angry, but, lulz, they always get angry, right Mr. Eastman?
- Autocracy is very popular in the United States
A sizable portion of the United States’ electorate wants an autocracy. They want one so bad that they seem like a cult to people who aren’t all that thrilled at the prospect of one. So, it’s possible that they will wrap up the transition into autocracy without any violence at all. By the time people realize what they’ve lost, it will be way, way too late. The United States will be nothing more than a Russia clone with an identical political dynamic. There will be a MAGA-themed Constitutional Convention to “pass a balanced budget amendment” and we’ll still have President DeSantis (or whomever) 30 years from now.
- Anti-MAGA forces are just too weak willed.
Again, it could be that when push comes to shove, the whole thing will be over before it even starts. There will be a lot of angry tweets on Twitter, but in the end, because Twitter liberals aren’t willing to risk anything in the real world, we slip peacefully into autocracy and that, as they say, will be that.
Not until our new Republican autocrat begins to consolidate power and their, specific life begins to be harmed on a personal level will they sit up and take notice. Then, of course, it will be way too late and they will complain in private about how how wrong they got it. While people like, me of course, will be dead at the hand of an ICE agent. Lulz!
Remember, we’re dealing with macro historical trends. Everyone sees the whole differently because what’s going on is just too big. But it definitely seems as though what’s going on in the United States is precursor to a pretty huge shift in American life.
At the moment, I’m very much in the peaceful transition to autocracy camp. But occasionally, there are pings from a far darker future that make me sit up and take notice. Take, for instance, this:
When more people end up dead because of the lies people like @charliekirk11 are spreading, they need to be held accountable. Republicans are legitimately asking “When do we get to start killing people?” It doesn’t matter if they denounce violence. Their lies are inspiring it. pic.twitter.com/6snVbR1OWg— Sayre Peterson (@sayre26) October 26, 2021
Add to such rhetoric the continued grumbling by MAGA New Right “thought leaders” that liberals just won’t leave them alone and, as such are “driving them” to violence and it makes you wonder. Is it possible that in the end, when given the opportunity to peacefully get everything they want, that the MAGA New Right will be so fucking bloodthirsty that they will push the country into a tragic and avoidable civil war?
Here are some reasons why we will have a civil war.
- Republicans have come to glorify political violence
Something you see a lot these days within the bullshit echo chamber of the MAGA New Right is the belief that because “liberals won’t leave us alone” that they are being “driven” to extremism. There’s a lot of leading not-so-vague talk as to what all this would ultimately mean. But it’s clear that for a number of “thought leaders” within the MAGA New Right that they have accepted that at some point in the future, they’re going to have to resort to violence to get what they want.
- Republicans no longer believe in democracy
It is now clear that like any good fascists, Republicans no longer believe in democracy unless it’s for the specific purpose of gaining and keeping power. This view of the system they’re supposed to a part of leads them do extremely destabilizing things that help push the country to the brink.
- Trump 2024
Just Trump being the 2024 nominee would, in itself, be enough to cause a civil war at some point in late 2024 – early 2025. He just has a special knack for “owning the libs” in such a way that if he stole in 2024 election and said the “quiet part outloud” that Blue States would grow so enraged that it would be they, not Red States, that left the Union and caused a Second Civil War. But Ron DeSantis is polling exceptionally well at the moment, so either Trump politically shivs him at some point, or he co-ops him, making him his VP, opening the door to DeSantis becoming America’s Putin at some point down the road a little bit.
- Steve K Bannon.
Bannon and his toadies are actively working to destroy the framework that we use to administer free and fair elections. So, it’s very easy to imagine a situation where this gambit works in ways that Trump himself is too idiotic to pull off personally and it will be so egregious that, again, Blue States leave the Union and we have a Second American Civil War.
- Extreme negative polarization
We’re in for a bump four or so years, no matter what, because negative polarization, on a systemic level, has reached a critical mass. When one of your political parties is fascist and would rather crash the global economy instead of even appear to work for the good of the nation — you got a problem.
- A lack of shared values
As the big blow up on Twitter in the last 24 hours about a Stephen Colbert song and dance gag about getting vaccinated proves — we can’t even agree on what’s funny. A combination of this and negative polarization is leading to the United States being two nations, one Red, one Blue and when we get around to attempting to elect the next president, the system simply won’t be prepared for the passions it will stir up.
- A potentially historic miscalculation on the part of Republicans
It’s possible that, much like European powers in the lead up to WW1, when the time comes and Republicans have a choice between peacefully transitioning us into autocracy or fucking with us all so we want to take up arms, they will choose the latter not because they have to, but because they want to. It’s possible that by the 2024 — 2025 period, Republicans will see a civil war as their only choice to consolidate power, even if it’s clear that they could get everything they ever wanted within the system they so obviously loath.
At the moment, I just don’t know. It could definitely go either way, even though I, personally, think we’re going to avoid a civil war. But I do enjoy running that particular scenario because it makes my abstract fears about political violence concrete and, as such, easier to process.
Some of my uncertainty comes from we’re just too far out from the main event. Usually big historical events, once they happen, are actually decided on a very specific tactical basis. So, going in to the certain to be unstable 2023 – 2025 timeframe, things really can go either way.
It won’t be until Trump makes up his mind about running again or how many times Biden and Harris are impeached by the soon-to-be Republican Congress that we can begin to get a better handle on which direction we’re going to go. So, I can totally see why someone might think I’m full of shit to rant so much about the civil war scenario.
But they are fooling themselves if they think the United States is going to remain a functioning democracy, or even a “constitutional representative republic.” An autocracy is not a republic. And that’s what we’re going to be the moment a Republican becomes president again — an autocracy.
The reason I’m so certain about this is multifold, but boils down to two self-evident metrics. One, autocracy is very popular with a pretty big portion of the electorate. And, two, Trump has made it clear to any Republican worth their mettle that our democratic institutions are undead.
Put those two together and we’re going to become an autocracy sooner rather than later. And the weakest moment for the autocracy will be the moment of its conception — at some point in late 2024 or early 2025. If it becomes clear that Republicans are going to transition us into autocracy and, well, nothing happens, then that will be that .But if Blue States take a stand and start to leave the Union, then we enter a high risk, high reward situation.
And I honestly don’t know which one we’re going to choice. There is the third, far less likely option of military junta, but that’s something that at the moment is something that is only possible theoretically on paper.
But the fact remains — enjoy these final twilight months of traditional American life. The moment Republicans have any Federal power again, some pretty big events will happen one way or another. Either you’re complicit in the rise of fascist autocracy, or you’re not. The choice is up to you.
Macro trends are not on America’s side. As I keep saying, 2024 is going to be it. It’s the year when either the United States turns into a Russian-style “managed democracy” or there’s a civil war. Now, this isn’t going to be a complete list of the 50 states, but I am going to highlight some of the states that may be more problematic should a Second American Civil War erupt.
The state is really two states and, as such, is probably going to be a major flashpoint in any Second Civil War. What’s likely to happen is Portland will buck any attempt at a putsch on the part of bonkers Right wing nutjobs in the rest of the state and, as such, either there’s a really blood struggle in the state or there are a massive amount of political refugees from the Portland area as the rest of the state sides with MAGA.
Again, this is really two states. There’s the NOVA-Richmond-Hampton Roads urban corridor and everything else. It’s very easy to imagine a situation — especially with Virginia’s historic ties to the first Civil War — where the state implodes as we grow closer and closer to a Second Civil War. Too many good old boys in the rural areas of Virginia might get wrapped up in the “Lost Cause” mythos and decide to seize places like Danville (the last capitol of the Confederacy) or Richmond (another Confederate capitol.) If nothing else, simply because of the larger population of the “Blue” parts of the state, there will be significant violence and political refugees as the Blues consolidate power.
I don’t know as much about this state, but it definitely seems as though once the pre-war process of coups and political consolation begins that there will be at least a coup attempt on the part of the Far Right. Again, don’t underestimate how once you actually start murdering people that the dynamics of things change significantly. It’s very possible that there would be a coup in the state, it would fail, and there would be significant political violence as the state’s Blue population fought back and put the state firmly on the Blue side.
Yet again, we have a situation where once politics fails us that the otherwise banal regional differences in a state tears it apart. New York City is far more progressive than the rest of New York State and, depending on how things work out, it’s possible that New York City could become a revolutionary hotbed to the point that is tears itself away from the rest of the state and proclaims itself a Free City. This almost happen during the first Civil War. If nothing else, there will be a serious jiggling of the relationship between NYC and the rest of the state to the point where it aligns itself in any Second Civil War with New Jersey and Connecticut in a way that update New York does not. Or, again, there could be significant political consolidation as Blues from all over the northeast flee to New York and the MAGA-friendly natives of the state flee elsewhere.
I really don’t know that much about this state other than a vague belief that the northern part of the state is far different than the southern part. It’s very easy to imagine significant consolation in the state one way or another as people flee to it as the rest of the country buckles. The state is big — if sparsely populated — and it’s strategic location near the Canadian border might be enough for it to be the home to large refugee camps.
Texas would be in an odd situation as the country fell into civil war because its long-term political trend is shifting Blue, but it’s part of the South and a lot of people consider themselves Southern and MAGA. So either it simply buckles into its own intra-civil war or the MAGA cocksucker fucktards push out all the Blues who flee to Blue States nearby. The end result would be a lot of pissed off former Texans who would be of great benefit to the Blue cause.
In a sense, the whole fate of the United States rests on what California does. If it simply bolts from the Union, then that significantly hobbles the Blue cause on the ground. California sitting on its hands and become its own nation in the event of a Second Civil War makes it far more likely that either Red states win or there is some sort of half-ass balkanization of the United States. But if California stays and fights, then they could provide not only the necessary economy and population for a Blue state victory — after many, many dead — but also something of a vision for what America would look like after we’re finished bombing ourselves into oblivion.
The Deep South
It’s very easy to imagine at the onset of a Second American Civil War most of the old Confederacy on a political level getting extremely excited and having a massive amount of momentum to either leave the Union outright or support the Republican controlled Congress’ attempt to brazenly steal the election. Then reality would sink in — all of the Southern states have significant African American populations and once politics is no longer a viable method of solving problems then the far more brutal dynamics of realpolitik would kick in. I just can’t imagine millions of African Americans lulzing a return to the Confederacy, no matter how badly the white political establishment of those states may want it. So, even though the South has a lot of people and a big economy, it would be, on a regional basis, too busy fighting a race war to really help the Red cause all that much. If things really grew as radical as I fear they will — probably because WMD are stolen and cities start to get vaporized — it’s the Deep South where you’re most likely to see some WW2 level atrocities as radicalized whites begin to murder blacks en mass.
As for the rest of the states, their ability to pick one side or the other is probably far easier and their biggest problem would be dealing with political refugees.