Are We a ‘Constitutional Republic’ or a Democracy?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The simple explanation for why MAGA Republicans are so adamant that the United State is a constitutional republic rather a democracy is it’s a form of debate nullification. It gets MAGA Republicans, who are fucking fascists, a retort against liberal-progressives who talk about how MAGA Republicans are a “threat to our democracy.”

MAGA Republicans hear this so much that they have come up with, “Oh yeah? Well fuck you, the United States isn’t a democracy in the first place, it’s a constitutional republic!” Then it becomes obvious that the two people talking can’t even agree on the terms they’re using and the conversation trails off to something else.

There is so much wrong with the growing insistence by MAGA Republicans that we can’t defend democracy because, lulz, the United States isn’t even one to begin with. They have a number of talking points thought out about all of this, everything from “Are you going to challenge the wisdom of the Founding Fathers?” to a garbled, misinterpretation of Alexis de Tocqueville.

That this is even an issue, is also something of a tell as to the agenda of MAGA Republicans. That they get so wrapped up in this dumb conflation about the nature of our Constitution tells us that they don’t believe in democracy and they want to establish a white Christian ethnostate. Or, more specifically, rather than work within the bounds of our democracy and change their policy agenda to win elections fair and square, they’re so fucking racist that they want to play lesser democratic elements of the Constitution like a xylophone so they can establish an autocracy and that will be that.

The point is — another reason why this is a tell is the idea that the United States is a “constitutional republic” is not mutually exclusive with it being a democracy. It’s both and has been, to varying degrees, since its conception. It’s only now, when MAGA Republicans are looking for some retort to evil libtards that the two equally true concepts have been muddled by MAGA Republicans’ partisan needs.

I would note that “What form of government does the United States have?” is following the same path as any number of other hot button issues where the two sides are so far as apart that they can’t agree on the basics. If you bring it up MAGA Republicans laugh at you, use a joke they heard on some fetid MAGA podcast and then you spend all your time not talking about the issue, but wading through bullshit designed to make it impossible to even debate the topic at hand in the first place.

It’s happened with gun control. It’s happened with the Green New Deal. It’s happened to a variety of topics and it’s happening with the very basic idea of the Untied States being a democracy. If that’s not a sign that at some point between now and spring 2025 we’re going to have a civil war, turn into a MAGA autocracy or have a military junta, I don’t know what is.

This is where I have to bring up the great irony of this bullshit. I have people in my family to believe “the United States isn’t a democracy.” I love them dearly, even if I’ve actively given up debating politics with them because of shit like this. The irony is that given that I’ve made it very clear that I’m not going to ever stop ranting about how much I fucking hate the MAGA Republican movement, should the United States turn into an autocracy, it’s inevitable that I’m probably going to be sent to a camp.

THEN, of course, my Traditionalist conservative relatives will sit up and take notice and have to figure out how to get me out of my concentration camp. Once things get personal — their only red line other than violence in the streets — then they will start to get upset about America no longer being a democracy. Then, of course, it will be fucking too late. This is not an abstract to me. I’m never going to be a “Good German” and any shift on the part of the United States into autocracy poses real risks for me, personally.

But my Traditionalist relatives scoff at these fears or just don’t want to talk about it. They hate the soft power of the “woke cancel culture mob” SO MUCH that they willing to give up their American birth right of democracy so they can live in a white Christian ethnostate, even if it puts my life in real danger.

Gaming Out An American Military Junta in Late 2024, Early 2025

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I write a lot about the possibility of autocracy or civil war in late 2024, early 2025. And, yet, there is a third option that I’ve written about some, too: military junta.

How exactly what that happen? Well, it’s still too far to game out, but one possibility would be that Blue States begin the process of leaving the Union and the military finally steps in to kind of cool things down until, maybe, a Constitutional Convention can be called.

The other scenario is, of course, is the U.S. Military is forced to step in because, well, lulz, we have no idea who POTUS is — or, at least, can’t agree using political means who should be POTUS.

I think we have to give the idea of a military junta serious thought because history has shown us that that is often the route that modern democracies go when they finally fail. It happened with the French in the 1960s and it could happen here in a few years.

In my fevered imagination, I could see someone like James Mattis being named “acting POTUS” for a few months while we sort out exactly what we’re going to do about a National Divorce / secession crisis / certification crisis. The U.S. Military is the only remaining institution in America that would have the means to keep the country together if there was a severe political crisis.

And it would make sense, given how respected the U. S. Military is across the political spectrum for them to control the country through some sort of bi-partisan military junta made up of military and political leaders. A military junta might, in the end, be the only thing that stops either civil war or autocracy from happening.

But. And this is a big but — it could be that not even the American military would be able to avoid buckling should the time come. Generally, the officer corp still believes in democracy, while the enlisted are far more likely to support MAGA.

Which reminds me of the coup attempt that Turkey had a few years ago that ultimately did nothing more than allow their autocrat to consolidate power. So, again, I think in the end, America is just going to become an autocracy. Or, to make ourselves feel better, we’re going to pretend we’re a traditional Western democracy when, in fact, everyone and I mean EVERYONE will know that we’re simply another illiberal democracy like Hungary or Turkey.

The only question I have, of course, is — will I cross ICE and endup in a Trump branded concentration camp?

Ron DeSantis Would Be America’s First Autocrat — But For Trump Being A Political Monster Who Won’t Get Out of The Way

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Let me be clear — any Republican who becomes POTUS in 2025 will be our first autocrat. There are a at least a dozen would-be MAGA Republican autocrats waiting for Trump to just get the fuck out of the way. He’s served his political and historical purpose, so if he would just retire our inevitable decline into autocracy could happen unabated.

The person who is very, very, very popular with my Traditionalist is Ron DeSantis. And, really, he fits the bill of the person who would be America’s first autocrat. He will become president and we’ll all wake up in 20 years and wonder why he’s still POTUS. Trump has shown DeSantis — and other leading Republicans — how weak the center-Left is and how easy it will be to establish an autocracy based on minority rule. They just need the opportunity and the rest will take care of itself.

By definition, DeSantis as POTUS means the end of 240-odd years of American democracy. It probably won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. And as it does, millions of wealthy liberals will leave the country. This scenario, at least in my mind, is a forgone conclusion. The only thing stopping it from happening is it hasn’t happened yet.

And, yet, there is Donald Trump.

Ron DeSantis

Trump simply will not get out of the way. He’s so lazy and stupid that baring something I can’t predict, even if he wins the 2024 election outright he could still start a civil war just by being himself. Trump is a massive quirk in American political history. Anyone else in his position — ANYONE — would have never have lost the 2020 election and he or she would not be slowly strangling American democracy in their second term.

Maybe something will happen that will force Trump to get out of the way. If that happens, then America will be full of Good Germans who are thankful that the “woke cancel culture mob” has finally be vanquished and America will, at last be “great” again. Whatever the fuck that means.

It will only be when the policies of our new autocratic government become personal that any of America’s Good Germans will feel a red line has been crossed. Of course, by that point it will be too late for people like me who will probably be in an ICE camp somewhere. Wish me luck.

‘Dark Brandon’ Rises

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Nowhere is it more obvious that we face the existential choice of autocracy or civil war at some point between now and January 2025 than when it comes to Biden, during the 2020 campaign, promising to be a “uniter.” I have traditionalist relatives and they often get really mad that he said this, given that he hasn’t done what they feel would “unite” the country.

Dark Brandon

This is a very murky issue because there is a lot to unpack.

First, if you say that Biden lied when he said that, then you have to address the fact that Trump said 30,000 lies while in office. Then, of course, your MAGA interlocutor will throw up their hands and say this is “bogus” because the “fake news” Washington Post is who collected that figure. Or, they’ll say most of those lies weren’t all that big and, besides, Biden lied when he said he would be a “uniter” and, as such, he needs to be impeached. Or some similar bullshit.

Another element to all of this is probably what was going on when Biden said he would be a “uniter” is he was trying to convey to those 100,000 independent swing voters in 5 purple states that are crucial to winning a presidential election that he would be a more traditional president, one who would governor everyone equally, not demand a quid pro quo for any and every action.

But that’s difficult for MAGA people to process because they’re so consumed with grievance and a fear that of losing status in the context of the browning of America that they’re too blinded with rage to be willing to process any sort of nuance like that.

The key thing to remember, though, is — but for Trump, I would say we’re going to lose our American democratic birthright in plain sight and there won’t be much struggle. If Trump would just get out of the way, after having served his political and historical purpose, then Ron DeSantis could become president and turn us into A Very American Autocracy.

Trump is a political monster, however, and he won’t retire. And because he’s such a fucking chaos agent there is a good chance that he, unto himself, could start a civil war in the United States. It’s not a big chance, but it does exist.

  1. An Effort to Stop Criminal Accountability
    This is the one scenario whereby the MAGA New Right people who keep coming to this Website looking for a sooner-rather-than-later timetable for being able to murder people like me without criminal recourse might happen. If Trump really felt he might, at last, face some criminal accountability, he could very well begin to rant that Red States need to leave the Union because of how unjust it all is. I suppose he might, in general, demand in his usual dog whistle kind of way general political violence, but I doubt it. When you have an entire party — the Republican Party –with a cult-like devotion to you, why go for general violence when you can get entire states to leave the Union at your behest?
  2. A Ploy to Convict Biden / Harris in the Senate
    In this scenario, it’s 2023 and Republicans have gone nuts. They have impeached both Biden and Harris out of spite. Now, for Trump to actively be trying to destroy the country, he would, of course, need to have some personal investment in it. So, this one only really works if he is the Speaker of the House and he thinks he can become POTUS again early. So, in a bid to scare the living shit out of the Senate, he, as Speaker, begins to demand Red States leave the Union in order to get what he wants. He says this just as a rhetorical flourish, but MAGA legislatures take him seriously and states, probably beginning with Texas, begin to convene Secessionist Conventions. An away we go.
  3. A 2024 Clusterfuck — MAGA Counter Revolution
    This endgame was two parts to it. It could be that at some point in late 2024, after Election Day, it will be obvious to Blue States that the election was stolen and they have no recourse but to begin the process of leaving the Union. By the time Certification Day 2025 rolls around, we are in a full fledged Secession Crisis. The other possibility is that Trump wins outright — even though he’ll cheat no matter what — and by late January it becomes clear that Trump’s second term agenda is so fascist and radical that Blue States begin to leave the Union.

CNN’s Current Transformation Portents The Fate Of US Media Under A Very American Autocracy

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

So, once Trump or DeSantis is POTUS in 2025, what’s going on with CNN right now is going to happen to all American media. The shift will happen subtly, behind the scenes and under the rubric of “objectivity.” But will happen. And what’s probably going to tip the average person of that something has changed will be a mistake or overreach on the part of the autocrat.

The most obvious place for this to happen would be late night TV. While CNN is lurching towards MAGA via “objectivity” late night hosts could just be purged in a rather abrupt manner — probably because the autocrat threatens the broadcast licenses of their networks.

But the issue is — because form follows function there is going to be a point in the near future when the only way Americans can get any news that the autocrat doesn’t want them to know about will be to watch the BBC. The only way this isn’t going to happen, of course, is if there’s a civil war. Then that’s a whole different set of changes.

And, yet, again, the point is — America is careening towards autocracy at an alarming rate. We really are an anocracy and we’re far less stable than people would like to admit.

It will be shenanigans like what’s happening with CNN that is how freedom of speech will initially be curtailed — it will be plutocrats working within the system who chill free speech, not the government doing it. Though, obviously, that will come soon enough once the MAGA SCOTUS overturns New York Times V. Sullivan.

Enjoy freedom of speech while you have it, folks.

2025: The Year We All Become Antifa ‘Radical Moderates’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Trump is not only growing more deranged of late, he’s also growing more and more angry and radical. And he’s not going anywhere. The FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago has caused the entire MAGA movement to lurch into a frothy radicalism that sometimes doesn’t seem to make any sense.

And, yet, at the moment, the center-Left in the United States is so weak that we have to take even this new, bonkers version of MAGA seriously as a political force.

My fear is that by late 2024, early 2025, MAGA’s agenda for the United States will have grown so radical that once they steal the 2024 election and begin the process of consolidating power that what they want to do will shock even Traditionalists and away we go. There really is something akin to a revolution, and a group I call “Radical Moderates” will pop up as they usually do in times of political distress in the United States.

Radical Moderates are people who are usually pretty laid back, but because of the crisis that the country is in, they sudden are willing to entertain concepts that were once considered radical. The most notable example of this was when Lincoln freed the slaves and, suddenly “everyone was an Abolitionist.” The same thing could happen if MAGA flips out and ties to, overnight, turn us into Fortress America.

Blue States will begin to leave the Union as the MAGA counter-revolution begins to happen in Trumplandia. There could be a race war in the Deep South and we might find the United States in a situation comparable to Revolutionary Russia as the Russian Empire began to implode.

This makes me want to read a book about the Russian Revolution.

Anyway. There is a greater-than-zero sum chance of mass chaos and unprecedented political upheaval in the United States starting in late 2024, early 2025. But I’m always wrong. Always. I mean, I can’t predict the future. So, it might ultimately get punted down the road a presidential cycle. Or DeSantis becomes president and our decent into autocracy is far more gradual that might happen with Trump.

All I know is — we’re in the danger zone now.

MAGA’s Counter-Revolution Of 2025

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It’s possible that we’ll look upon the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago as the moment the United States began the final sequence of events that either led to autocracy or civil war in late 2024, early 2025. The issue is, I keep hearing respected people within my center-Left echo chamber come so close to understanding the gravity of the situation, only to pull away at the last second.

I’ve heard people ranging from the participants of Deep State Radio podcast to the Pod Save America crew all sort of say, “Well, if this isn’t the end of MAGA, we’re all in a lot of trouble.”

And that’s the crux of the situation.

Barring a severe 9/11 type tragedy that can be directly pinned on MAGA, the rancid, racist MAGA movement isn’t going anywhere. As such, we have to prepare for something nothing short of a political apocalypse. I keep saying — we have a spectrum of things that may happen — on one end you have a civil war and on the other end you have A Very American Autocracy.

And the more the system tries to work, the more radical MAGA becomes and the more likely that whenever they do gain power again that our choice is going to be even more stark — autocracy or civil war.

Now, let’s talk about the Nazis. I’m reading a book about their rise to power in Germany and going into the early 1930s, the Nazis still had to work out exactly what their vision was for the German state. There was sort of the NATIONAL Socialists and the National SOCIALISTS. I haven’t gotten to this exact part of the book yet, but as I recall, the SA wanted a more radical interpretation of Nazism, while Hitler wanted something that could fit within the traditional conservative tradition in Germany.

Anyway, Hitler won this particular power struggle. And it makes me wonder if MAGA, in the end, is going to have a similar situation on its hands. The nightmare scenario is, of course, that Trump grows not only extremely toxic but extremely radicalized by the long arm of the law finally reaching him and when he has the opportunity again he burns the country to the ground. Or, once we become a MAGA autocracy, we lurch into autocratic state a lot closer to Nazi Germany far faster than I might otherwise predict.

But if something happens to Trump and it’s, say, Ron DeSantis who becomes our new MAGA overlord, I think it’s safe to say that our transition into A Very American Autocracy will be more gradual and gentle so there won’t be any chance for Blues to organize any real-world Antifa or secessionist drive.

Yet, like I said, Trump is so deranged and holds such absolute power over the MAGA base that there could very well be something akin to a MAGA counter-revolution around 2025. They literally could end the FBI as we know it and turn it not into the American gestapo, but something a lot closer to the SS. We would become Fortress America and some of Trump’s more radical foreign policy dreams would become a reality. Which, would, in turn, cause WW3.

Or, put another way, Trump is far, far more dangerous than we realize. Things are so uncertain at this point, though, that I can’t game things out. It really could go any number of different ways. The most radical is Trump is re-elected and pushes through a Hyper-MAGA agenda, which, in turn galvanizes the Blues to the point that there’s a civil war. Or there’s a civil war starting in late 2024 when it becomes clear MAGA is going to brazenly steal the election. Or someone like DeSantis is the Republican nominee and we just kind of gradually drift into autocracy.

Or, Trump becomes POTUS again in 2025, but it’s not until his successor that we really see an attempt to establish Trumplandia. I still think Gen. Mike Flynn might be Trump’s veep choice.

Anyway, we’re officially in the political danger zone. Anything could happen at this point, and probably will.

I May Have Discovered A ‘Red Line’ For Traditionalists That Doesn’t Involve People Like Me Being Snatched Off The Street By ICE At President DeSantis’ Direction

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I love my relatives dearly and, in general, it’s always fun to have a political discussion with someone who disagrees with you. That’s supposed be the heart of the politics of a democracy, at least. Until today, I assumed there was only one red line for my Traditionalists relatives — the personal.

That is, me literally being snatched off the street by weaponized ICE at some point after 2025 when President DeSantis finally strangles what’s left of our democracy.

But I was apparently wrong — there’s a Red Line before that: political violence.

Of course, it would have to be MAGA who started the political violence for my Traditionalist relatives to finally, finally be willing to say enough is enough and to maybe (?) make common cause with the center-Left for the sake of the country. If both sides were involved in the violence or if the center-Left did it, then, no, not even political violence would be a Red Line for my Traditionalists relatives because they could just write it off as the woke cancel culture mob being mad because they weren’t able to turn every last person in the world gay.

That’s their sentiment, not mine — I’m just the messenger.

Anyway, I think it’s a testament to the political temperament of Americans when it comes to political violence. Republicans, if they do, in fact, at last freak the fuck out and start murdering people in cold political blood really risk losing the Traditionalist vote.

That would cleave off a sold 18% of their electoral support.

But I think, in practical terms, that if things have gotten so bad in the United States that there’s actual political violence in the street then, lulz….it’s going to be too late by that point. It won’t matter which side Traditionalists are on in real terms. We’d be going to the show.

Political violence has a dynamic all its own and once you let that out of its tube, there’s no fast and hard answers as to where it might stop.

Life During Anocracy: On Edge

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Ever since the January 6th Insurrection, the United States has been classified by political scientists as an “anocracy” rather than a democracy. And given how absolutely hysterical the Right has grown with the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, we’re lurching towards a new, disruptive moment in this new historical and political phase in American history.

I will be shocked — but not surprised — if there’s major political violence at any moment. An terrorist explosion. An organized attempt to “eliminate” any number of high profile government officials. And you know that Fox News, after about 24 hours of “thoughts and prayers,” will come roaring back with talking points about how “America has a mental health crisis.”

They will go right back to be insane and goading their views to hurt people for political reasons.

If my fears come true — remember, I’m almost always wrong — then it would happen in the context of the 2022 midterms and then the 2024 presidential election. I will be flabbergasted if we make it through the 2023 – 2025 timeframe without significant political violence. Like, the worst political violence since the end of the First American Civil War.

It’s going to be very scary and either it’s the starting off point of a National Divorce or it’s how we start our autocratic journey. Because those are our two choices — autocracy or civil war. I suppose you might say we could have some sort of military junta….but that’s just on paper.

The passions of the late 2022 – early 2025 era will just be too much. No more middle ground. Everyone is going to have to pick a side, or a side will be chosen for you. And, in the end, I think we’re just going to slide into autocracy. Poors like me will have to either shut up or get shot in the back of the neck by an ICE agent while wealthy Blues will leave the country en masse for various corners of the globe.

Don’t know what to tell you other than — if you can, get your affairs in order and get the fuck out of the United States. We’re going to either implode (autocracy) or explode (civil war.) And in either situation there’s going to be a Great Reset with WW3 involved.

At least with the Second Civil War option, I suppose there’s a chance that after WW3 happens a few billion people die, if the Good Guys win that Humanity will unite and we’ll be able to address global climate change.

But that’s a big if.

When We Become ‘A Very American Autocracy,’ It Will Be Legalistic In Nature

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

We’ve given up. While the exact timetable of when the United States becomes an autocracy is still up in the air, the fact that we’re going to become one is now a political and historical absolute. (Or, of course, we have a civil war.)

But given that whatever type of autocracy we have will have its own American spin to it, I suspect it will be a lot like the Russian style which is very legalistic in nature. Putin likes to go through the whole rigmarole of getting passing a law or getting “permission” to do this or that thing, but, in the end, it’s all a sham. And I think that’s what American autocracy will look like.

As such, when Trump or President DeSantis arrests their 2028 opponent on trumped up charges, they will have so crammed the government with their toadies — a “Deep State,” if you will — that the folks on Morning Joe will struggle to prove what everyone will already know: the arrest was political in nature.

And that’s because all of the legal requirements for the arrest will have been met, but the context will be totally different than what it would have been now when the United States is an anocracy, not an autocracy.

The whole point is — we’re fucked. It’s over. Get out while you can. Poors like me are going to probably get shot in the back of the head by ICE because we won’t shut up about how President DeSantis is a cocksucker, while wealthy Twitter liberals will flee to the south of France and wax poetically about how Mueller, She Wrote just wrote a Twitter thread that “destroys” the autocracy in America.

I can’t predict the future, so I don’t know when exactly all of this is going to happen, but, in general, I would suppose that it will happen starting around 2024 – 2025.