A few years ago, there was an explosion of articles called “If it happened there”, imagining how the American press would cover this or that story if it happened in another country. How are we going to mention government shutdown if it happens in another country? Protested Ferguson? Oregon militia siege? George Floyd was killed? Mike Bloomberg?
Slate’s Joshua Keating popularized the form, but other stores, including Vox, have implemented it. The purpose is to use forms of foreign cover to create a sense of what literary critic Darko Suvin calls the “cognitive estrangement”; – leaving us unfamiliar and overconfident. can obscure our perception of extraordinary events. And so you’ll get leads like, “Pleasant autumn weather disguises a government on the brink. Because, at midnight Monday, the government of these proud and nationalistic people will close down, a serious sign of political turmoil in this poor republic. “.
But the sense of parody gives the entire enterprise a feeling of unreality. America is not a banana republic. It didn’t happen over there. It is happening here, and that is making a difference. To even see the danger, to realize the depths of tension or the possibility of a rift, we must control American exceptionalism, for the tacit belief that we are the United States of America, and We are different.
If the past four years – and the past four days – have proved anything, it is that we are not as different as we believed, not married by the care we had hoped for. Perhaps we are no different at all. We need to cover it up as if it is happening here, because it is.
Donald Trump is trying to discredit an election he’s losing
Joe Biden was elected president. But the current president of the United States, Donald Trump, is trying a coup with clear sight. “I VOTE THIS VOTE BY MANY!” he tweeted on Saturday morning. This came after he asked states to stop counting votes when the total number of votes started against him, after his press secretary shocked Fox News experts by arguing that votes should be voted. legal.
I think the key part of this video is not the clear unethical theory that the Trump administration is selling, but the fact that Fox News anchors are not buying. https://t.co/zauokaYnji
– Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) November 5, 2020
The Trump administration’s current strategy is to go to court to try to get a vote for Biden ruled illegitimate, and that strategy is clearly against Trump’s appointees respecting a debt that the administration, At least, believe they are indebted. One of his legal advisers said, “We are waiting for the US Supreme Court – where the President has nominated three judges – to step in and do something. And hopefully Amy Coney Barrett will overcome.
If that fails, Mark Levin, one of the nation’s most famous conservative radio presenter, will clearly call on the Republican legislatures to reject the election results and no matter what. would also keep Donald Trump as president. After Twitter tagged the tweet as controversial, Trump’s press secretary spoke harshly on behalf of Levin.
That the coup might not work – that it was conducted far away, erratically, ineffectively – doesn’t mean it won’t happen, or that it won’t have consequences. Millions of people will believe Trump, will see the election as stolen. The Trump family’s Twitter feeds, and those of affiliated and allied stores, are filled with allegations of fraud and lies about the process. this essay and his topic is worth reading). It’s the construction of a confusing, but immersive, alternative reality, in which the election has been stolen from Trump and the weak Republicans are letting the thieves escape.
This is, to borrow the framework of the Hungarian sociologist Bálint Magyar, “an autocratic effort.” It was the stage in the transition to autocracy, in which the person would be an autocrat trying to strip his power from the electoral check. If he succeeds, autocratic breakout will follow, and then autocratic consolidation will take place. In this case, the automatic will have less chance of success. But he won’t completely fail either. What Trump is trying to conceive is something like an exile autocracy, an alternative America in which he is the legitimate leader, and he – and the public he claims to be face – has been robbed of power by a corrupt elite.
Political scientist Henry Farrell writes: “Democracy works only when the losers realize they have lost. That won’t happen here.
GOP corruption will outlast Trump’s presidency
Members of the Trump family have apparently, on many occasions, tried to make the acceptance of their conspiracies a test of ambitious Republicans. And it’s working. Reading Republicans elected today – with a few notable exceptions, like Sen. Mitt Romney – is to read with caution and cowardice. Politician after politician signaling, as Vice President Mike Pence did, unite with the president, while not fully upholding his plots. Of course, every legal vote should count. Of course fraud allegations should be addressed. But that’s not what the president is asking for – he is asking for votes against him to be illegal – and they know it.
The media cannot determine who the president is. People do. Once all legitimate votes have been tally, recounted, and fraud allegations settled, we’ll know who the winner is.
– Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 7, 2020
What we don’t see is, in any way, a complete refusal of Trump’s attempt to proxy the election. And therefore, there is no reason to believe that Trump will not continue to hold a majority of the party, and much of the party’s base, in the future.
Further. Republicans will not step back after this battle.
– Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 6, 2020
Even if Trump was rejected in this election, the Republicans defended and allowed him not to. Their geographic advantage in the Senate prevents them from anything but major failures, landslides, and their dominance over biennial redistricting also leaves them. at a disadvantage in the House of Representatives.
That discrepancy almost saved Trump: while the presidential election would not be close to the popular vote, the rate of return in the key states of the Electoral College would be very narrow and the autocrat would be near. back to term. How much greater damage could he do to American institutions and elections in four years? It could have happened here, and it actually almost happened.
Here’s the grim starter: Conditions that put Trump and these Republicans on the horizon could worsen. Republicans retain full control of the states to spur the next regional redistribution effort, and their 6-3 majority at the Supreme Court will free their cartographer more fully. . Election analyst G. Elliott Morris estimates that the gap between the popular vote and the Electoral College cut-off would be 4-5 and the GOP’s control over the redistribution process could push it. 6-7 points next time. .
Saying that American institutions did not completely fail during the Trump era is not the same as saying that they did. They did not, and in particular, Republicans did not. It failed dangerously, dramatically. It is clear that the autocrats will have a path to power in the United States, and if they can go far enough on it, an entire political party will support them and protect them. And it has been insulated from public outrage by a political system that values land over people, and that allows parties to set electoral rules and draw regional boundaries. – and despite losing the presidency, the GOP retains the power to tilt that system even further in direction for the coming years.
What happens when the next autocrat tries this strategy – and what if they are smoother, more strategic, more capable than this strategy?
This is not a story that happened elsewhere. That’s a story going on here, now.