The Danger to the Republic is not Over

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Americans rejected Donald Trump in the elections, but not Trumpism. Donald Trump was a poor tactician and strategist when it comes to imposing fascism, which is what we are facing. Our institutions have barely held, under an unrelenting attack that I predict will not be over once the president leaves stage left. . There is no guarantee that with a polished fascist they will hold.

There are many Americans who are still ready for the message of a past that was glorious. They are willing to accept the promises of a great day to come, within the constraints of fascist ideology. They want that nation that returns us to a caste system, and perhaps ethnic cleansing. Trump and Republicans continue to do great damage to our institutions as they burn all on the way out.

This matters, 70 million voted for Trump. His main areas of support are rural and working class. They do include minority voters who understand he is a racist but believes coastal urban elites are wrong and are trying to speak for them. These are also people who may, or may not agree, with the civil rights struggle of our age. This is not new. A similar dynamic happened in the 1960s. Though it was not as obvious. This brings up the obvious point. No ethnic group is monolithic.

This sense of betrayal from the elites is not limited to Trump voters. It includes very bright people who have fallen to the spell of QAnon and older conspiracy theories. For example, they are angry that the US is still giving foreign aid to Israel and only Israel. They tend to ignore the full package, which includes a lot of countries, not just Israel. This is antisemitic as hell, but there is no talking to this sub-group of people. (The day they start complaining about foreign aid to Egypt, for example, I will take them more seriously.)

Then there is the belief that if we cut foreign aid, specifically to Israel, all issues in the United States would be solved. Fun fact, if we cut all foreign aid tomorrow. It would maybe pay for maintenance in a small section of Highway, or for a local program to house the homeless in a small town. All foreign aid is literally the change in the nation’s couch. But the complaint is not about foreign aid. It is about Israel.

This bubbled up from the fringes to the mainstream in both the far-right and whatever passes for the left in the United States. Jews are blamed for the ills of the world, and the idea that they control all is not far from the surface. It is not like it was gone. But now it’s become accepted and you will hear people use zionist to stand-in for Jew. It is not something people at times are aware of, but at this point, I chose to break those friendships.

This is a problem. Since people are still in their information silos and less willing to talk to each other. This will increase as the country continues to divide. This is not limited to the far right. We are seeing some of this in the progressive left. It is as if both edges of the American Oberton window are liable to embrace conspiracy and reject normalcy. Which brings me to the next step.

QAnon

QAnon is best described as a conspiracy of everything. While it first emerged in far-right circles and is very popular with fans of President Trump, it’s far from limited to them and the far-right.. Elements of Q are present everywhere partly because it incorporates a lot of conspiracies into a grand theory. For example, double loyalty and antisemitism is at the heart of QAnon, as well as blood libel. This is now part of American life. It is a symptom of the dislocation and distrust many Americans have of their political leaders and a deep suspicion of the foreigners in our midst. The Pandemic has not helped. Q has grown by leaps and bounds since people have had time to watch youtube videos and read posts on social media.

Q started as a game in 4Chan during the latter days of the Obama administration. This was a bunch of people playing a role-playing game, that went from a non-political board to /pol and expanded from there. It was also monetized and weaponized At this point is very dangerous since it is radicalizing people. This was not the original intent, but it also tells us something about the United States. We are a nation on the threshold of something very serious. It also includes internal terrorism, at this point.

It is not just the far right that is attracted to this. Many on the left, especially those on the far end of the progressive left, are attracted to conspiracy. The forces driving them to the warm embrace of QAnon are very similar to those of the right. They see a world that rejects them, with a deep state that will never change. They see corruption everywhere, but in particular in the DNC and how voters select candidates. While there is corruption in the United States and within political parties, it is not to the extent that they believe. They perceive a system that will never serve the people but reject getting involved and do the slow slog required.

There is another group that is also rejecting the mainstream and embracing the conspiracy. These are natural living, crystal embracing, yoga-practicing, clean eating, anti-vaxxers. It is not that being any of this means automatically you will fall into the clutches of this level of crazy, but there are good chances. Why? Many of these include a paranoid mind that will find some of the meta-conspiracy of Q attractive. Once you fall for it in one aspect, it is easy to go from there. It is a rabbit hole that is deep, dank, and dark. The pandemic accelerated this process. People who feel out of control tend to easily fall for these movements and follow cult leaders. The conspiracy gives an illusion of control. In the case of Q, it includes an oath, websites, and a saying. (Where we go one, we go all.) The pandemic upended society and the world of work. There are millions of Americans who find themselves at the food bank for the first time in their lives. All this is disconcerting. Falling for QAnon and other conspiracies is not unusual since it gives people an illusion of control.

Some in our population, no matter what side of the political spectrum, are more likely to fall down the rabbit hole. Anger at our present condition does not help, especially when faced with a system that seems uncaring. See foreign aid for example. While it isn’t a large part of the budget, the fact that 40 billion are given to other nations angers people because they believe this money should stay in the US. There is no understanding of how small this amount actually is. When only Israeli foreign aid is pointed to, we are talking of antisemitism.

The national budget is at 4.8 trillion dollars. Again, I am rounding up. So forty million is a very small amount. It barely registers in charts. However, foreign aid, as I wrote above, has become symbolic for the conspiracy-minded, and it is evidence of the swamp. These are the same people who do not understand how a budget is written, or that money is needed to pay for programs they wish. If we lived in a system that did not require money, then it would be a different conversation. We do not live in the world os Star Trek, for example,

The Transition

While Trump lost, he is having a hell of a time admiring this. He is an extremely damaged individual and saying the words “I concede” may be impossible. We were warned by many who know him, ranging from Micheal Cohen to his niece Mary. Instead, he (and some of his friends) are busily delegitimizing the process because Trump could not lose, short of fraud. He is embracing the same conspiracies he creates, as part of his persona. This is extremely dangerous and it does the job for Russia and China. However, these have also been embraced by mostly the far right, with some in the progressive left.

There is more. Many Americans, not just those in the far right are retreating to information bubbles where they can tell each other fantasies. Trump won and the election was stolen. It is far from the innocent building of the resistance, though democratic means. They are fleeing Twitter and Facebook for Parler and Gab. Both claim to be free speech zones, where all views are welcomed. Like Stormfront and 4chan before them, this is fantasy. They will ban anybody who rejects the ideology, even a little.

They are fleeing to these spaces because other social media giants have had it with the conspiracy theories and hate speech. It’s that simple, so they are going to platforms where hate speech is the order of the day. Like other efforts to further radicalize the right, Parler got funding from the Mercers. They were also behind Cambridge Analytica. This is a multidecade project to transform American democracy into an autocracy, a right-wing one.

The Mercers, and a few others, have been trying to manipulate American elections for decades. They intend to make this country libertarian heaven, perhaps a fascist autocratic nation. The rubes are following like they always do since they see themselves as part of the movement and a rejection of elites Never mind the Mercers, and others are part of a right-wing elite, that despises them.

Trump’s refusal to cooperate with the incoming Biden-Harris administration is adding fuel to this fire. This is also what is behind the inauthentic stop the steal marches. Trump is attacking institutions and creating more tension on his way out. He is also doing other things to make it very difficult for Joe Biden to succeed. You want examples of how this is radicalizing the right or rather further radicalizing, a few posts on places like GAB tell the story. Some in the far right are ready and willing to take up arms, including the Proud Boys and the Boogaloo Boys. Trump enjoys hurting people, so there is that. For Trump, this is not about the truth or the American way. This is about his ego. But there are millions willing to follow him down this rabbit hole, no matter who gets killed.

At this point, he is willing to hurt the enemy that refused to vote for him. He is turning on the country that rejected him. There are those who follow him that will take matters into their own hands, this is the danger. We may be on the knife's edge of not just isolated violence, which we already have seen. Or for that matter plots to attack the enemy, which we also have seen. Are Trump followers willing to go to war? This is not an idle question.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic, which incidentally many of Trump's base still believe is a hoax, even when dying from it. f a smooth transition means that people will die who should not. This is the ultimate hurting of the people who Trump swears he protects. There is irony in there, but that is another story.

For the moment the Trump administration is still blocking the professionals from meeting with the experts in the incoming administration. This will only lead to the unnecessary deaths of Americans, because of the anger of one man. Think about this, his ego is preventing the whole of government from working with the incoming administration, and transferring the government in an orderly manner.

His party is not willing to call him on it, even at this late hour. They still fear him, and his increasingly unhinged Twitter feed. Senator Lindsey Graham is going down a very dangerous road as he pressures Secretaries of State to throw away legal votes. So far the system is holding, but it is under great strain.

Written by

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

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