Danger Ahead: A Radicalized Right

There is a reality that we live in. This is a radicalized right with its own media system that at this point is separate from reality and the Constitution they claim to have allegiance to. What they want is to hold on to power, for power's sake. Our institutions have barely held under this coordinated assault from a party that will not recognize the other side right to wield power. Some of this has included the courts, which so far have told them no in all cases, except one. The fact is that Joe Biden will be sworn in President of the United States on January 20th and at 12:01 he will be President of the United States.

In the last case, the Supreme Court found that Texas has no standing to sue other states for how they held their election. Let's be clear, two of the justices said that while they were willing to hear the case, they thought there was nothing to it. . Rudy Giuliani is promising to keep the fight going since this is partly a grift, and people are donating the money they may not necessarily have, to a lost cause. There are parallels to the mythology of the lost cause and the next four years promise to see this mythology take off as full grievance. He said that he intends to find a Texas citizen, likely an Elector, who was allegedly injured by the election in other states to seek to stand before the court. This is the continuation of the grift. The legal case, if there was one, has dissolved into nothingness and the Supreme Court will not save President Donald Trump from the judgment of the American people.

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However, the response to this decision from the Supreme Court has been swift and predictable. The Texas Republican Party rejected it out of hand. The state GOP suggests forming a confederacy of states that “will abide by the Constitution.” Yes, the language is familiar to any student of history, who knows how we entered the critical year of 1860. Apparently, when the third branch of government rejected their claim it was not constitutional. The reasoning the court gave was lack of standing. Why this lack of standing? They have no legal merit. A state cannot question how another state runs its elections. To those who don’t understand federalism, this falls under the 10th amendment. States (and localities) have the absolute authority to run their own elections. The only thing set by the Constitution is the time that it is held, not the manner.

We all need to come to terms with a dangerous reality. Calling this just a delusion is not going to get us anywhere. Grievance politics and status loss fear drives all this. Until we deal with some, not all, of the circumstances behind this, we will continue down this road. Let’s be clear. This is going straight to hell and towards violence. Nor does this mean we should excuse those taking advantage of this, and radicalizing a large part of the American population. Suffice it to say, these are not fringe people anymore getting together at fringe websites, talking some revolution. The large vote for Trump should disabuse us of this. About half of the voting public, slightly less, chose Trump, and believe in Trumpism and his narcissist far-right, grievance laden, racist ideology.

The right has a radically different vision of the country from the mainstream. They have clear fears of losing what they have. At this point, a lot of the grievance is coming because lives have radically changed. These are people who have been left behind by a changing world and a changing economy. These working-class mostly white people have witnessed good union jobs disappear and their livelihood has gone away. They have lost economic dignity. While they vote in what the rest perceive against their interests, they know that this lost world will be restored under the Make America Great Again ideology.

These economic explanations are part of this toxic mix. As long as they feel left behind they will look for hope in radical ideologies. This is what makes them likely to fall under the spell of a populist. This is one reason Bernie supporters in 2016 voted for Trump in the fall. It is also behind the same pattern repeating in 2020 but at much lower numbers. Hopelessness is part of it. We need to grapple with this in order to start doing something about it, or the anger will continue to grow,

It is very tempting to go to hell with them! They are traitors, racists et al. However, we need to realize that for most of these people there is nothing else to do. They know the world is changing and calling them a basket of deplorables just alienates them further. Moreover, countries that have faced this situation in the past have had to find a way to reconciliation because you cannot stay in this divisive state and continue to function. Sooner or later alienated radicalized people who belong to the precariat will have but one choice, and that is to pick up arms, When elections do not lead to a better life, they will, This is why it is critical to rebuilding an economy that includes them, because as the anger subsides and economic prospects improve, most will abandon populism.

The Leadership

Now here is where we enter a very delicate proposition. I have posited in the recent past that Richard Nixon’s pardon is one reason we are in this situation. People can lead little revolutions and openly talk sedition because there is no real consequence to this. Yes, Nixon accepted guilt when he accepted Jerry Ford’s pardon. He kept his presidential pension, and the library at Yorba Linda bears his name. He went on to an angry retirement where he could state his grievances and people still looked him up. These arguably are consequences, but he never faced a judge. He was able to live the rest of his life in comfort. While many in his administration faced prison, he never did. In a way, he got away with it

The Joe Biden administration will have this moral quandary. If they pursue Trump legally, this could lead to uprisings from a loyal group of people who believes a lot of conspiracy from no longer fringe places. If they don’t, Biden’s base will be angry. I suspect Trump is going to self-pardon, and most of his legal exposure is at the state level. However, this will still be an open wound on the body politic, just like Nixon’s never closed. We can forgive Ford for his pardon since he was no seer or prophet. However, we have that history to base our decisions on.

It is not just Trump. The leadership of this far-right movement includes radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Alex Jones. They all have radicalized this white non-college-educated base over the last forty years. We are in the midst of something akin to Radio Rwanda, and open propaganda. Add a dash of conspiracy and half the voting population believes in fantasies that are not even close to a semblance of reality. Due to free speech standards, these people not only have platforms but have used them effectively to change and radicalize politics in the country and create internal enemies in the minds of listeners. We find ourselves in increasing layers of violence.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is part of this movement, but so is current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican leadership in the House. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is also part of this. And then there are media outlets ranging from Fox to OANN and Newsmax. All are committed to a version of conspiracies that lead to people believing half of the country should be destroyed, or the only possible route is civil war or secession. We are very close to major violence because there have been no consequences to this behavior.

My belief is that we need to confront this poison as a nation. Whether we have truth and reconciliation commissions, or we will have to charge people for incitement, perhaps sedition.

They are not alone. Social media companies need to face the music for allowing disinformation to not just circulate, but be weaponized. It is time we confront these demons in our midst. If we fail to hold people accountable, we will see violence. As is, we likely will. But the longer we take to act, the worst it will become.

Our government is paralyzed because we are in the midst of a one-sided, elimination language laden, power-hungry, minority. They refuse to see the other half of the country as humans or Americans. This has been festering for forty plus years. It is time to confront this head-on. Donald Trump is the end result of this process and in some ways a very obvious symptom. We cannot lower our collective guard on January 20th when Joe Biden takes the oath of office.

Written by

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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