The Tyranny of the Minority

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Civil War Casualties

The Constitution has mechanisms in it to protect the minority from the abuse or tyranny of the majority. It was designed with care, so there are some protections for a political minority. However, George Washington warned the country against the danger of faction. He was not alone, and the rise of early political parties led to some really bad fights.

The modern-day Republican Party is interested in only one thing. This is maintaining power. The nation is not something that matters to them. What people think of them does not matter. They are a political minority and as years pass, they are becoming more so. Why? Partly they have embraced market fundamentalism above all else, as well as white supremacy.

The GOP knew that the only way to reestablish dominance, long term, was to take over the courts. They never pretended that they wanted conservative judges. What they want are radical judges to radicalize the judiciary. This is why, to the surprise of many progressives, they have ignored every presidential picadillo. Whether it is a small one, or it is a large one. Cooperating with a foreign power to install a radical right autocracy is not limited to the president though. The GOP is getting foreign help, and we know Russians are heavily involved in active measures against the United States.

What Republicans are doing is not just immoral, but could be illegal. At this point, the Donald Trump campaign is doing something that could trigger that civil war I keep writing about. This is according to Barton Gellman in the Atlantic.

The worst case, however, is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress. He could prevent the formation of consensus about whether there is any outcome at all. He could seize on that un­certainty to hold on to power.

Trump’s state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for postelection maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states. Ambiguities in the Constitution and logic bombs in the Electoral Count Act make it possible to extend the dispute all the way to Inauguration Day, which would bring the nation to a precipice. The Twentieth Amendment is crystal clear that the president’s term in office “shall end” at noon on January 20, but two men could show up to be sworn in. One of them would arrive with all the tools and power of the presidency already in hand.

This will make the Bush v Gore contest look like a minor thing. It is that decision that sets the groundwork for the kind of challenges we can expect from the Trump team. For example, I expect Trump to be ahead on election night. Why? All the votes that still need counting. I expect Trump to try to stop the count in multiple swing states. He stated that the election result will be known on election night.

Remember, they stopped the count in the federal court in Florida, superseding the State Supreme Court. This was highly unusual. At the time the decision was supposed to not create a precedent. This is not unlike Mitch McConnell saying he would not hold a hearing for Merrick Garland ten months from an election, but will now do, it’s the same idea.

What we can expect is a Battle Royale in courts, and other venues. Donald Trump will not leave power peacefully, and I suspect more than a few of the militias are ready to go to war. This can go several ways. I have written in the past that we are already in the midst of a cold civil war. So I will not be shocked if we have violence in the streets.

The question is how bad will this violence is? But in my view, this is already baked into the cake. Why? Trump started to form a Trump army months ago. It’s nice that Forbes noticed finally what many of us have. I wrote this piece over a year ago. It was a piece I penned after the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

I have written a few pieces on how this radicalization is happening. And now some of these ideas, and I am not the only one to notice, are slowly creeping into major media. Forbes detailed the Trump Army this way.

President Trump’s campaign website, Army For Trump, encourages his supporters to sign up to help the President win reelection. But as concerns about post-election violence grow, does the provocatively named website have a more troubling purpose?

The website, which launched this spring, uses highly militarized imagery and language, calling on Trump supporters to “enlist” in a variety of activities to support the campaign. Volunteers are asked to join the “frontlines” and work alongside “battle tested Team Trump operatives,” promising to promote followers to be part of the “field staff” of the Trump army.

While I did mention this army in a few pieces already, it is clear that finally, this is seeping into major media. The threat is starting to congeal. Let me tell you something. The next year will likely be the most dangerous since the civil war broke out.

If Trump loses big, in my mind that threat will still be there, but we could still see internal terrorism. An insurrection is not unlikely. If Biden loses, I think we are heading to one as well. Why? It is what the campaign will do. And also once people realize that the voting booth, which we think is sacrosanct, matters not, then there is very little choice. You either submit to the new regime and go as well as you can in that dark time, or you fight back.

Will this be open warfare, in the way people foresee a civil war? Nope. Armies taking territory is not going to happen, or at least not early on. Nor do we know what side will individual units in the armed forces, and national guards will take. For that matter, what happens with the police? Many are allies of far-right paramilitaries already.

Unlike the first civil war, I do not think the United States will survive as a nation. We will have at least three successor states, but five to six is not that crazy. These successor states will follow some logical ideological and geographic lines. We may even see an attempt by white supremacists to finally create an ethnostate somewhere in the midwest. And yes, I expect ethnic cleansing, with what this means.

Is this etched in stone? Predicting the future is a fool's errand. However, the trends, meta events, leading to this point, started in the mid-1990s, at the very least. This is when Republicans decided that Democrats had no right to achieve any political power. We have had several points where we could have turned back from what is likely coming. As the first civil war, people also knew it was coming. Fort Sumter was not a surprise.

The tensions in American streets are exactly the kind of events that precede a hot civil war. The politicization of the Justice Department by the president is also part of that pattern. So is the QAnon lunacy. In fact, that could provide a recruiting base that was not radicalized even ten months ago.

Regardless, Republicans are attempting to take the whole enchilada, and this means the end of civil rights, working rights, union rights, and even environmental laws. This far-right movement is a nihilist in the extreme and only cares about money and power. I guess they think they can take it to the great beyond. They are willing to go to war, literally, to achieve their ends.

Some of us have warned of precisely this moment going back decades. People told me I was crazy, and I lost friends over this. Part of the reason is that Democrats are still in denial as to how serious this is. I admit, I hope I am wrong in the extreme, and we have a very peaceful election, and Trump leaves if he loses. But I am not delusional enough to expect that to happen for sure. All I can say at this point is that you should learn to listen to Cassandra.

Oh, and I am not the only lonely voice in the wilderness any longer.

Here

Here

And here for example.

There are others of course. But I am just linking right now to authors on Medium.

Written by

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

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