- 06 Nov 20
If you thought things were looking bad for democracy in the United States of America, they may be about to get a whole lot worse – with the makings of a civil war being stoked by Donald Trump and his cadre of treacherous confidants and activists. Over the next few days, things could get horribly ugly...
The United States of America is teetering on the brink of an outbreak of dangerous civil unrest that has been stoked, in the most desperate, mendacious and deliberate way, by the man who for the past four years has been President of the USA, Donald Trump.
We are all familiar by now with the frazzled scenario that has been unfolding menacingly since polling booths closed across America on Tuesday evening.
In the crazy Electoral College system that is used to decide US Presidential elections, events are hanging on a knife-edge, as the count continues in a number of States. Most observers agree that of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win, Joe Biden has currently secured 264 against the outgoing President’s 214. In the past few minutes, The Decision Desk has just declared Pennsylvania as going to Joe Biden, which – with its 20 votes – would give him victory.
There is still a tight battle for supremacy in the other States which still have to declare – notably in Georgia and Nevada. But as the 'pre-result' from Pennsylvania confirms, the Postal Votes have inexorably ramped up the likelihood of a victory for the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.
No wonder Trump is acting like a dog with rabies.
Politics is seldom less than dirty – not least when the stakes are this high. Nonetheless, once the votes have been cast, there is usually a pause, during which the people’s verdict is solemnly awaited. In normal times, with normal people, a kind of post-frenzy dignity prevails.
But not with Donal Trump involved.
The President – for he is still that, either way, until the winner of this contest is sworn in, in January (I know, that’s crazy too) – has gone on the offensive, using the podium in the White House to launch what has been the most astonishing attack on the democratic process by any senior politician in the history of the United States of America.
In a series of addresses, he has unleashed a volley of verbal grenades, alleging corruption, conspiracy, fraud and intimidation aimed at the officials in charge of the count in the different States that remain undecided. His weapons-grade lies have been systematically exposed across a wide range of media outlets.
But the reality is that Donald Trump is aiming not at the media, not at the American people, not at a world that is watching in horror, but at his own baselessly angry and in many cases dangerous supporters – who are being fired up, perhaps even for a potential attempted coup.
The extent of the horror show that is unfolding should not be underestimated.
Trump has already instigated a Stop The Count campaign, which has been taken up, with messianic aggression by his more extremist adherents.
Meanwhile, Trump’s former close aide and strategist Steve Bannon has threatened that, in the event of a Trump victory, he’d like to behead the man in charge of the United States’ battle against coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and also the Director of the FBI Christopher Wray, and have their severed heads mounted on stakes outside the White House as a warning to public servants who are inclined not to obey what will inevitably be increasingly unhinged Presidential diktats, if Trump does remain in the White House.
The offending tweet, linking to the War Room podcast in which the incendiary remarks were made, has been removed by Twitter, and Steve Bannon has been banned from the platform, but you might reasonably argue that the damage had already been done. Like the lies and conspiracy theories being promulgated on Facebook in real time, the idea – and the corresponding image – have been implanted in the minds of fanatics, in a country where every nut on two legs can purchase a gun or a very large knife. Hatchets are cheap and in plentiful supply.
To say that there is a supreme kind of ugliness in the air is to understate it vastly.
That venomous and potentially incendiary mood is being reflected in dozens of different ways, with extremist far right individuals threatening to launch assaults on the ballot centres, protestors ganging together in the streets and the rhetoric becoming increasing violent and bloody-minded.
As we said here already, things could get very dark indeed across the Atlantic.
The reality is that Donald Trump began the drift towards authoritarianism a long time ago. He was – and is even more so now – shaping up for a power grab that would – or that will – amount to a coup d’etat by any other name. It is that serious.
Right now, he and his attack dogs in the Republican Party have launched a blizzard of legal cases to try to deny Joe Biden the victory that seems inevitable – even though it is now clear that Biden will win the popular vote by as many as four million votes and probably more.
“Team Trump" are determined that they can force the issue as far as the Supreme Court, in the hope that the conservative majority that Trump has established there – including the appointment of the extremist Roman Catholic judge Amy Barrett – will deliver the result that the monster craves.
But behind the legal bluster is another, even more insidious and dangerous threat: that of armed violence.
Many people were shocked when Donald Trump described some of the armed white supremacists in Charlottesville as “very fine people” – and when he told the violent, Nazi militia men of The Proud Boys to stand back and be ready.
None of us should have been surprised.
The truth is that, at every step, Donald Trump has been laying the ground for an attempt to hold onto power by any and every means available, including violence.
It is not so far-fetched, then, to suggest that the potential for civil war in the United States of America right now is increasingly, frighteningly real.
Far too many people grossly underestimated the malevolence, the sheer evil, of which Donald Trump is capable. And they missed, too, the fact that many of those around him are as bad – or worse.
Donald Trump is hoping – or rather he is plotting – to create a situation where real, violent chaos erupts on the streets. He wants to declare a State of Emergency. He wants to claim the right to get the army out there, onto the streets, doing his filthy work for him. He craves the opportunity to carry on the racist butchery that triggered the Black Lives Matter protests. He wants to bring the stark divisions, which he has exacerbated, to a head.
He wants to assume autocratic control. If the American people have voted him out, he is hell bent – in a fit of narcissistic high dudgeon – on bringing an end to democracy in the United States, if that is what it takes to hang on like a madman to power.
If there were a God, we’d probably be praying now. But there isn’t. And Donald Trump is proof of it.
No right-thinking God could allow such a lying, scheming, treacherous, dangerous, narcissistic, lecherous, hypocritical, amoral monster attain a position where he might spill the oil and drop the flaming torch that will start a devastating conflagration, with the potential for untold, disastrous carnage, in what people used to call the home of the brave and the land of the free…
To paraphrase William Butler Yeats, "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/ Slouches towards Washington to be born?”
The problem is that he arrived four years ago – and he is not planning to go anywhere fast.