by Shelt Garner
A funny thing happened on the way to American autocracy: the man history shone on to be the agent of destruction for American democracy turned out to be a big old goober. All the macro historical forces were aligned for 240 years of liberal democracy to be smothered.
And then it didn’t happen.
Pretty much Donald Trump, by being a huge ding-dong gave us some insight into the interaction between Great Men and macro trends of history. Trump was not a Great Man, he was simply an avatar for macro trends. America just barely dodged a historical bullet because Trump, personally, could not do the one thing history had assigned him to do: kill American democracy.
I keep trying to think up ways to grade Trump on an autocratic curve and I keep failing to think of anything. Would you believe that idiot Mussolini was more of a Great Man than Trump ever was. Trump, in the end, was all talk. What’s more he gave the Establishment two things it wanted from him: young hack MAGA judges and a huge plutocrat tax cut…and then he failed everyone else who supported him using any other metric.
While Trump continues to have enormous sway over the Republican Party and the MAGA New Right base, Establishment Republicans are growing really tired of his shock and jibe. They got what they wanted from him, now they want Ron DeSantis to finish the job.
But what job do they want DeSantis to do?
In general, Republicans now simply want to use the quirks of the Constitution to establish permanent white Christian minority rule. I don’t think they’ve thought beyond that — they just want to “control” the growing power of women and minorities. They want power and as much money as they can get through continued smash-and-grab tax “reform.”
And, yet, there’s a problem.
Such things don’t happen in a vacuum. Once it’s conventional wisdom that Republicans have, using the quirks of our creaking Constitution, form follows function and they’re going to start abusing the fuck out of the complete lack of oversight.
And that’s where things get tricky. Will we peacefully transition into an autocratic managed democracy or will we descend into civil war?
At the moment, I think it will all happen peacefully, because the Establishment has a vest interest in the sheeple being complacent. Gradually, however, as we grow more and more fascist in our governance, even the Establishment may live to regret how easily they gave up.
It’s pretty bad when I start thinking that the one thing I don’t want — a civil war — is the better of two bad options because at least there’s a chance the “good guys” will win.
But back to what’s going on with our undead liberal democracy. Because Trump could not do even the most basic of autocratic power plays in 2020, we are now an autocracy without an autocrat. If you know what you’re looking at, it’s all very surreal. There are a huge number of Americans who want an autocracy so much that they think Fox News is “too liberal.” They are so frightened in the abstract about “Cancel Culture” and “Critical Race Theory,” that they embrace the idea of a fascist state coming to America.
Marinate on that for a second.
We have to admit to ourselves that we’re fucked. We’re totally, completely fucked. Soon enough, voting won’t matter and we either accept that or we have a civil war to make voting matter again. Ugh. I hate even having to think about that. But that’s what we face.
The United States is careening towards a huge historical clusterfuck because Trump, chosen by the Fates to transition us into an autocracy, wasn’t a Great Man, he was just a lazy idiot.
Enjoy these few years — months? — of living in a liberal democracy. Soon enough, that may seem rather quaint.