Sad to say, but it doesn’t matter how the vote turns out in the next election:
Trump-infused Republicans will win either way. If the vote shows they’ve lost, they will challenge it pathologically as they have done for the 2020 Biden victory. And if they win, they will continue to put in place the building blocks for an enduring fascist autocracy frosted with a culture of denunciation, as Timothy Snyder put it in his excellent book “On Tyranny.” That will amount to rule by one party regardless of what the broad electorate voted for or wanted. So we are currently caught between a rock and a hard place, firmly behind the eight ball, exactly where the extreme right wing (which is virtually all Trump Republicans) want us.
Now many may not think that a particularly big deal, but they would be wrong. Of course, those many may not think at all, and I suspect that to be the case. As was true of Hitler in the Germany of the 30’s, and Stalin in the 30’s and 40’s, and Putin from 2014 and since then, and Trump since 2016, voters who allowed these despots power were mesmerized by them, hypnotized really by their slick talk of Germany or Russia or America first. Slick talk of how they alone could solve their problems. Slick talk of how immigrants and foreigners and Muslims and Jews and Blacks and gypsies were the cause of all the problems. And slick talk of “getting rid” of these interlopers who were out to “replace” white Christians.
We’ve seen their tactics first hand now in the United States. That culture of denunciation that Trump and his allies have used to smear the reputations of their opponents as much as McCarthy did in the early 50’s. It’s scurrilous, to say the least, but it’s a tactic that works in America, sticking in the brains of gullible people, only to be spit out in gossip and misinformation passed on to their friends, relatives, and even children. Extreme right wing lawmakers and TV personalities perpetuate these lies, adding credibility to such toxic conspiracy theories such as QAnon, Replacement Theory, and the Big Election Lie bandied about since 2020.
Republican leaders have made sport of denouncing Joe Biden and his program to bring the country back from the ravages of the Trump era. They started with Bill Clinton, went on, via Mitch McConnell, to disparage Obama mercilessly, and then attack Biden without missing a beat. Let’s go, Brandon is a slanderous dogwhistle never heard before for a sitting President!
At the same time, they’ve set in place an infrastructure of suppression: via gerrymandering, voting restrictions, culture wars, books that need burning, strict guidelines as to what teachers can teach, and even stacking ballots with election officials with the power to reverse the decisions of the electorate, if need be. If you read a history of Germany in the 30’s and 40’s, it’s all been done before right after the Reichstag burned.
Now the figurative guillotine seemingly draws closer to Trump’s head. But will it drop? Trump senses danger so has lined up all his lawyers, all his cult members, all his loyal legislators, all his lackeys in a phalanx of suppression, innuendo, and a continued avalanche of lies. One of the Capitol police officers battered by the Trump legions thinks he will get away with all his crimes against the state. Teflon Don has a way of getting away with things, all the way back to his bullying childhood days. His father taught him well. We know that from Mary Trump’s depictions of her uncle.
So, sure, go ahead and vote. Go ahead and send in your hard earned money. Go ahead and write stuff like I do. Go ahead and rant and rave to your sympathetic friends and relatives and avoid your Trumpster relatives like the Covid plague. But I believe the die is cast. The coup is well plotted. January 6 was just the first salvo in a larger battle. That was just to get the saliva flowing from the bellies of the beasts.
I am sad, yes, but more so, angry. Enraged even. Our great democratic experiment is crumbling. And it doesn’t have to be that way. If we’ve learned anything from the past, it is one glaring fact: the Napoleans, the Alexanders, the Caligulas, the Attilas, the Hitlers, the Salazars, the Mussolinis, the Stalins, the Bolsonaros, the American white supremacists, the Xis, the Francos, the Uns, the Putins, and…the Trumps must be nipped in the bud and stopped cold in their tracks before they can dig their claws into their bid for eternal power–power fueled by their chronic hunger for greed, hatred, and delusion.