Friday and already under attack from QAnon cultists annoyed by my piece yesterday where I’d called QAnon a cult. I knew I should have just called it a “nutty cabal”…
I should have seen this coming. Commenting on American politics from a distance, I sometimes forget that there are a lot of people seriously invested in this mendacious crap. One of the few solaces in life at the moment is that America is so borked (and getting worse) that it makes me thankful that I’m in the UK. Of course, then I turn my attention to UK politics and wish I lived in America…
The irony I that, when I write about American politics, I try my hardest not to drift into emphasising the worst-case scenarios. The media often make things to be worse than they are or, alternatively, underplay things which aren’t convenient. This is the very nature of bias but trying to be objective and fair can also be difficult.
Take, for example, the Kamala Harris “birther” story. I stick it in inverted commas because I’m not yet sure it’s entirely birther. Well, okay, it *is* birther because the Republicans are playing their old games. Yet I think it’s important to note that these aren’t the same malicious smears that were directed at Obama. Having now read the Newsweek article, this argument appears to be grounded in some rather esoteric phrasing in the Constitution. Myself, I don’t for a moment believe that Harris isn’t qualified, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if Republicans don’t pursue it. Around Obama, it was absolute bullshit. Around Harris, there does seem to be a legal argument that they could (and probably will) exploit.
Balancing between those two positions – outright rejection of the claims and complete belief in the legal argument – is difficult. Having said that, I do fear where America is heading. I love history but the beauty of history is that most of it is in the past. Living through momentous events can be frightening and that’s especially true when the world’s great democracy sits on the cusp of authoritarian rule. Perhaps descents into totalitarianism always look the same in the moment they happen and it’s only the perspective of history that makes them look so obvious and calculated.
But surely, David, you don’t believe this?
Well, I do. Trump and the Republicans are now intent on stealing an election, destroying the postal voting system so a ballot can’t be held. That’s why the US postal story is so big and only going to get bigger. If Donald Trump successfully destroys the postal voting system in the US, then he hugely disadvantaging Democrats who wanted to use it because they live in population centres where COVID remains a danger. He is also giving even more power to the rural places where polling stations will be safer. America, you have to remember, is already a democracy that’s stacked against one side. Democrats have to significantly outdo the Republicans in order to achieve parity – it’s why Hillary and Gore both lost despite having the most votes.
If there’s no legitimate election result, Trump probably thinks he can’t be ejected from office, but that argument is for the end of the year since the Constitution makes no bones about the end of a presidential term. We have to see what legal tricks the Republicans have open to them, though I suspect that the ballot, if broken in the one-sided way it appears to be broken, could yet produce a Trump victory. It might be illegitimate but Trump won’t mind if its illegitimate in his favour.
I’m not so naïve to think this is the end of the Republican Party but I suspect much of this has to do with the demographic apocalypse that faces them. A party that has largely devolved into one that defends white America is facing the reality of an America is no longer white. Either the party changes or it dies. For the moment, they have one chance to hold onto power and that is to abandon any pretence they had towards democracy and, ultimately, The Constitution. Whatever is left of the GOP after this year, it will be a smoking husk.
I’m not sure what I’m doing today. I’ve done a stupid amount of work this week and today was meant to be the day I was looking forward to. It’s the 14th of the month when I hoped, indeed prayed, that I’d get the email from Amazon informing me that I sold some books this month and that my self-publishing efforts might be worth pursuing. The date is never exact but it either has to come soon or it won’t come at all.