(Above: a collection of photographs I took in the southern and northwestern parts of the United States.)
So many pieces of writing about this election have used the word “inevitable”. The scariest part of Trump’s ascent as the slow horror has grown into the situation we are now currently living in was this sense of inevitability. When he started to gain momentum in the primaries, he eventually reduced the Republican field to three and then eventually two rivals who were staying in the race by the end with no chance to win in the vain hope it would deny Trump the nomination. Within the Republican party even some of the most loathsome figures of modern politics in some tiny way redeemed themselves by at least putting up some token resistance to his rise.
This “inevitability” was very much a known commodity in the contest; part of what eventually felled Clinton was her own sense that her presidency was inevitable; that nothing could stop it. I wondered aloud while watching the first presidential debate that when Trump was talking she would seem to position her face at a Sam the Eagle 3/4ths tilt, chin up, as though she was play-acting fantasies she was already the president.
This “inevitability” has been in the air for some time. I remember having conversations 5 years ago that in the aftermath of 2008 and the tepid response, the country was going to swing socialist or fascist.
How long has Chomsky been comparing the US to Weimar?
We now know that the DNC was attempting to foist an oligarchic technocracy on voters; that the party’s strategy (as it had been in the Gore and Kerry runs) had been simply to try to scare everyone about the Republican nominee enough to where they would vote for the most tepid possible candidate far to the right of the desires of their largest constituencies. We know this because of the Wikileaks “Pied Piper” e-mail which directly instructed the media to take Trump, Carson, and Cruz seriously so there would be a weak enough candidate for Clinton to win in the general. The fact that the DNC had this sort of direct power over supposed “journalists” is offensive enough but then that they were willing to gamble millions of peoples’ lives legitimizing a man everyone was rightly comparing to Adolph Hitler from the first days he was campaigning ends the party. They played chicken and we’ve all fallen off the cliff. And to think I thought Assange might have been bluffing about having a bombshell publication.
The Clinton campaign apparently has been consulting on every campaign decision with a highly sophisticated simulation algorithm which has proven itself beyond worthless. It turns out that Hillary was in fact part robot.
Our practice of politics in the past couple decades has been dreamy and impressionistic. We’ve been wrapped in spectacle in all directions; many in our society have denied our society even had a politics. The incredibly vehement response by white people to Colin Kaepernick protesting during the national anthem, an as much as 20% drop in the ratings for games, in retrospect looks like the frightening awakening of a slumbering beast.
I remember being one of maybe 7 people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Saratoga Springs, NY. I remember the anger of the white people who shouted out of their cars “ALL LIVES MATTER YOU LAZY SHITS!”
30 minutes away from Saratoga, in Wellsville, NY, graffitied Nazi symbols with Trump signs were found spray-painted on a building today.
There were memes that foretold this all over Reddit. For years.
There is now a very real possibility of a second civil war.
Why this isn’t crazy talk:
1) Donald Trump’s base is devoted specifically to Donald Trump. He can make direct appeals to them and be given the benefit of the doubt by them when things go wrong-they will blame the weakness of “establishment” Republicans (if Trump wants to get rid of someone) or double down on hatred of immigrants/the left.
2) There are 300 million+ privately owned firearms in the US. It’s logical to presume that the people constituting a solid to overwhelming majority ownership of these firearms are mild to obsessive Trump supporters.
3) A portion of these gun owners probably have been indulging in “survivalist” fantasies as a pretense to fantasize about killing people as some sort of great release of personal tension. Remember that a large portion of the country sympathized with George Zimmerman to the point of granting him minor celebrity. Things from the increase in right wing/police shooting incidents/domestic terrorism to the massive proliferation of end of the world narratives in popular entertainment in the past 5-8 years is symptomatic of the larger beast.
4) The combination of Trump’s ability to blame failings on scapegoats because of the psychological profile of his base combined with his ability to increase hardship on target populations through his being the president gives him a nuclear domestic option over the next two years to whip these people into a violent frenzy if he wants to.
5) As per #3, a large number of these gun owners want to be whipped into a violent frenzy.
It seems very likely that given the sorry, sorry state in which the world has been left to us, much of the rest of our lives may be spent fighting this. If we want to preserve whatever chance still exists that climate change won’t wipe out the human race, we have to start now. We have to organize and fight to win. We can’t be invested in stupid lefty ego-trip infighting bullshit or else we lose and the species likely ends, if it isn’t already a lost cause.
It seems like the best plan of attack now would be to focus primarily on obstructing Trump in whatever way possible. We need to win heavily in the mid-term elections with progressive candidates willing to play political hardball to retake the House and Senate. I don’t see any other way currently. The actual left as it stands doesn’t have large enough infrastructure to be able to do this without doing it through the existing Democratic infrastructure, much as I would love to see the emergence of a genuine viable third party.