President Donald Trump has always been a winner. Only losers can lose. This is why he will have a hell of a time conceding the election. He is also a man who not only loves conspiracies but has come with a few of his own. This is why his statements that the presidency is getting stolen from him should surprise no-one. The grievances that the vote count is somehow fraud is not shocking. That he is activating the conspiracy-minded base, who are protesting (with weapons) is not shocking.
Some of us expected this. Michael Cohen warned the Congress that this was coming. His niece Mary has explained the psychology at play. Donald Trump is not capable of admitting defeat because he is not a loser. It is simply not his makeup
As I wrote last week we are entering the most dangerous phase of this presidency. There will be violence because there already is. Chiefly, while Republicans did very well, they are still afraid of Trump. It’s very difficult to break away from a sociopath. I get it. But Lindsey Graham suggesting that we need alternate slates of electors to ensure the re-election is bonkers.
keeping the dying flame alive by claiming there was outright fraud (vote counting is not fraud) is dangerous. It is activating the proud boys and another sundry of groups. They are acting like very colorful Brown Shirts.
The Country is Utterly Divided
As I wrote the other day, this is not a south v north divide. This is a rural v urban split. We live in two countries, at each other’s throats. We are in the midst of a cold civil war that only needs a spark because we have plenty of gas. We also have organized militias, who have already taken to the field. The president has been inciting them because they are likely his last hope. No, it’s not the courts. And some have already responded.
The majority of the nation lives in metros, not in the countryside. These metros are forward-looking and younger. They are also incredibly diverse. This is precisely what rural America fears. This is what they see as corrupt and godless. These are places where lots of people live next to each other, share meals, cuisines, and diverse cultures. All this is dirty and threatening.
Rural America has an oversized control of the levers of power. They also do not acknowledge that Democrats and city folks have a right to vote. Why? City folks are the majority, and city folks threaten their way of life. Chiefly, city folks are not Americans. This is the way many in rural America think. So it should not surprise you that Mitch McConnell will throw sand in the gears of a Joe Biden presidency. He represents a mostly rural state. He also represents a state near the bottom of all metrics, from health care to education. Voters are fine because he is defending the caste system they live in.
They also share their sense of deep grievance at liberal coastal (diverse) elites. Since Republicans retained control of statehouses, expect this dynamic where most of the population, action is not well represented to continue for at least another decade. So if you are looking at Kentucky from any large metro, don’t be confused. They like it that way.
Is This Sustainable?
Given the increasingly open talk of civil war, I don’t think so. And I hope to be wrong. We are increasingly seeing talk of civil war, and killing democrats. It DoD not start now. It’s always been on the edges, but this is more mainstream than you think. People are getting radicalized at sites ranging from 8Kun to 4Chan, Stormfront (this is the granddaddy of White Supremacist sites), and others. There are newcomers, like Parler and Gab, and the talk is increasingly strident.
One thing is to talk. However, we are seeing more violence. Whether it is mail-in bombs to media, or attacks on black churches, mosques, and synagogues, or drilling for war. The president is adding lots of fuel to this, and we need is a spark. Could we have the beginnings of a civil war at the twilight of the Trump presidency? It’s possible. More long term, we just may as long as rural members of the House and Senate continue to engage in these conspiracies.
The environment is not that dissimilar from the decade that led to the civil war. We have been building towards this clash with history since Newt Gingrich was Speaker. He started us down this road of grievance, conspiracy, and refusal to admit that Democrats have a right to hold power.
Rural America is holding on to a life that is rapidly disappearing. Urban centers are forging ahead to the future. We are two nations, and one is increasingly imposing a tyranny of the minority on the other. They will use any mechanism to do it. This will lead to violence.
There is a way out. But for that to happen, you need a Republican political class to put the interest of the nation as a whole above that of their very narrow interests. We see no evidence of that. In fact, because of the Republican echo chambers, they are becoming increasingly radical, while Democrats continue to try to reach them. It’s silly to expect voters to punish this behavior because voters are also inside these silos.
Some of us saw these trends starting to take shape in the 1990s. Every decade it gets worse. It also looks that as the world heats up, another threat to Rural America, the right intends to get a tight grip on power. This is not an American tendency. This is likely global.