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Sunday, November 1, 2020

WHAT WILL REALLY HAPPEN ON ELECTION DAY?


There’s probably no way to write a blog or post a tweet or post anything on Facebook this weekend without it being about the damned election. And if you do, who will read it? 

Here in the USA, anyway, I believe the stress of “what will happen” is preoccupying everyone in some way. Some of us are consumed to the point of inertia, or even catatonia. (Fortunately there are leftover Halloween candies purchased for non-existent trick or treaters, so that levels things out a bit.) As for those who aren’t consumed – well, I envy them, even if I believe these must be the yoyos who got us into this predicament in the first place.
 
Let’s be clear about where I stand.  Trump is almost surely going to lose, which means Biden is going to win.
 
So, does that mean that there is going to be a repeat of the year 2000 except on steroids and spanning multiple states, with molotov cocktails thrown in for good measure? Legal hysteria and chicanery and lying and cheating and everything being tossed into the laps of the carefully purchased Supreme Court? 
 
Nope. I actually believe that the Biden numbers are going to be big enough that, for the GOP, winning an illegal hand here and rolling loaded dice there won’t really change things, so all the sold-your-soul Republican lawyers crouched in the starting position are going to have to just sit this one out. I also believe that anyone with a calculator will be able to go to bed Tuesday night relatively confident as to who the eventual winner will be.
 
The Senate will go Democratic and the House will stay in the hands of the Democrats and that is going to be a big relief to a lot of us, me included.
 
So, you ask, what about all the fear of Trump declaring victory and then when that is snatched away (“the red mirage”) his cult followers will take to the streets in MAGA hats, yelling and screaming and waving their Trump flags? No, actually, I don’t believe that either.
 
Because in the end, Trump is and always has been full of shit as a man, and while he poses as a dictator – literally – he is also full of shit as a dictator. And weak, and ineffectual. Pretty much every tough guy thing he’s said he’s going to do to bring about law and order, he’s never done. More than 75% of his threats never happen, and while a bunch of Federal thugs leaping out of rental vans in Portland, bespoke in weekend warrior gear, is awful, it’s still not Castro-level revolutionary troop management. He’s a dud Christmas cracker that doesn’t go off at the table. Remember the wall? Fire and fury?
 
He prefers legalistic road blockage. That’s where he’s comfortable. It’s bloodless, for one thing, and it lets him play out the clock on anything that might threaten his image. I know what you’re asking: so doesn’t that mean the GOP lawyers will be out in force in Broward County? Nope. I stand by what I said above. Yes, Trump is litigious, but he’s also unwilling to engage in battles he will clearly lose.
 
So what’s going to happen?  Well, that’s the problem.
 
First: it’s highly possible Trump just disappears after the loss.
 

I’m serious. 

No one has talked about this that I know of, but we might just wake up one day and discover that his bed in the White House is empty – just as Argentinian authorities report a small aircraft landing in Buenos Aires containing one very orange passenger loaded down with two suitcases of blonde hair dye and Big Macs. And I’m not talking January 20th. I’m talking two weeks from now. Does anyone really imagine that Trump is going to be there and stand beside Joe Biden as he gets sworn in on January 20th???  Ceremony? Continuity? That’s for losers. Chumps. Suckers. So if he isn’t going to be there on January 20th, why in the world would he stick around past, say, November 20th?
 
The only reason I can come up with is that he would want to use his Presidential powers to stack the deck so that he doesn’t wind up on Ryker’s Island. The downside on that scenario, however, is that there are a lot of details involved in all that, and detail has also never been his thing. So Trump might just take the Buenos Aires option instead.
 
So what happens to his followers? What happens to the members of the cult?
 
Well, that’s the problem. That’s the real problem.
 
I truly believe that if Trump wins on Tuesday you can say goodbye to the United States. That sounds hysterical but a lot of things sounded impossible even a few months ago and yet here we are. I’m also not alone in this (apparently John Dean and David A. French agree with me, or I agree with them). And I don’t necessarily mean in terms of the Big Riot. I mean Oregon, Washington, and California forming Pacifica, which if you were into the stock market, would be THE buy of all time.
 
New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and a handful of others could split off quite easily and form their own nation state, Amsterdamia, let's say. They would have to, because in the last year the GOP in Washington has established a concept that the elected President of the Republican Party is the President of only Republican controlled states and will use his power to punish states controlled by Democrats. That’s an entirely new concept in the history of the republic, so merely for self preservation, separation would be required.  And don't think that's a Trump thing, either. Pence endorses it. 
 
The dominos go from there: the nation of the Plains; Gulflandia, and so on.
 
And the reason for this is simple: people really really hate one another. I mean hate. To some degree have dehumanized one another. In Florida, within senior’s communities, if Edith and Bob say they’re voting for Biden, it’s not just that their neighbors and friends at the club turn against them, but they literally burn up their lawn. In these folks' eyes, clearly, Edith and Bob are no longer really people because of their political views. And so on. Right now, more or less, we’ve got a lid on this outside of social media and Fox, but the lid is shaking and shifting. Something is in there and it wants out.
 
So we don’t get along anymore and we don’t share values. Part of the problem is that we’re not sure what those values are – the principles of the founding of America have fallen through our uneducated fingers. I suspect a greater number of 45 year-olds and under can tell you more about the Marvel universe than the founding of the United States. Everyone I know over fifty talks about the economy in terms that are a regurgitation of Fox News. Which is insane. But that’s as smart as we are.  Ask most people under 30 who was the first man on the moon and what nationality. Be ready for the the long pause and the hems and hah's.
 
Then add this idea to it: TRUMP TV. If you don’t think that’s coming – whether broadcasting from Buenos Aires or Manhattan or Ryker’s Island – then you are on crack. And the power of that particular outlet would be beyond imagination. It wouldn’t be Trump with the Presidential gloves on (such as they’ve been on), but Trump with the gloves off, which I suspect would be telling people every morning to pretty much murder their neighbors.
 
I know. This is a ludicrous nightmare scenario. I know about nightmare scenarios, because I’ve just written a very long novel about a nightmare scenario in America, called The Feast of Wolves and Wild Dogs.  In both cases – the novel and these words – I’m trying to paint the worst portrait imaginable to, as conservative David French is trying to do in his book Divided We Fall, say, “STOP! ARE YOU NUTS??!” But I’m honestly not sure if it can be done.
 
The problem, I’m afraid, isn’t political. Joe Biden thinks it’s political, and God bless him for it – believing, it seems, that if we just listen to everyone and come up with enough government programs and include everyone who has been left out that we can cool tempers.
 
But that's like thinking busing worked. I don’t think the problem is political. I think it’s deeper than that. I think it’s some weird anthropological American virus we’ve succumbed to. I believe, at the moment, that many Americans love their hate and divisions more than anything else. It gives them something to focus on. After all, they’re not making Game of Thrones anymore or Walking Dead. So this is what we’ve come up with.
 
If you don’t believe me, listen to the Trump rallies. Listen to the notion that 50% of the country is the enemy and needs to be, basically, exterminated. Biden needs to be put in jail. Obama should be put in jail, or worse. And Hillary?  Definitely worse.
 
It’s hatred. Pure undiluted hatred, and has nothing to do with politics.
 
And that is what is either going to be unleashed once all the votes are counted, or it’s going to go underground and reform itself once all the votes are counted. And if it’s Joe Biden who wins, I hope he and his people are aware of this thing living in the garbage can that's tapping at the lid, that they’re thinking about it and trying to figure out what to do with it. 

Because Tuesday is nothing. 

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