HOW THE GREAT REVOLUTION ENDS
Back at it: We seem to be living in a peculiar political time. Many people, who think of themselves as Republican, really do believe that the infamous invasion of the Capitol on January 6th was to some degree justified because the presidential election was stolen. They believe that Donald Trump really won, that all those officials in all those states who were responsible for counting the votes were, and are, lying. Many of those same people, who went to our schools and are presumably sane, do appear to believe that somehow Donald Trump will magically return to the presidency in the period just ahead.
Several million of those people also claim to believe in the QAnon conspiracy. They believe that there is a secret cabal of satanic cannibalistic pedophiles who run a global sex trafficking ring. Those evil people, Democrats all, will be put down in a war known as the “Storm”. That war will be led by Donald Trump who will be in a position to do so when he is returned to his rightful place in the White House. The believers in that conspiracy went to our schools too.
It is reasonable to blame Donald Trump. He did bring many of those people into Republican politics. If it were not for him most of the people who believe in those amazing conspiracies would have remained completely politically inactive. If they had voted at all many would have voted as Democrats. Their movement to the Republicans was a kind of political accident.
That “accident” was a product of the Donald Trump campaign. Trump appears to have begun his campaign not because he expected to win but because he hoped to improve his brand. He had moved from being a builder to being a famous public icon who sought contracts to put his name on the projects of others. That meant that for his personal gain a run for the presidency made sense. To understand his campaign it is important to know that he never intended to win.
Therefore he didn’t need to really prepare (the preparatory research created by Chris Christie was sent away in dumpsters unread). He did need a maximum of news coverage. He also loved to perform in front of mass audiences. Those rallies provided for him a maximum amount of news coverage. His problem was that because he knew so little audiences might be too critical. He would be publicly embarrassed.
So, the answer was to find audiences who didn’t know much either. Audiences who would respond to the anger symbols he would hold up (Hillary Clinton would hardly be grateful). He could also concentrate on subjects that required no real knowledge of government (think about his “great big beautiful wall”). He could also do a lot of swearing (those audiences liked someone who talked like they did).
Donald Trump’s rally goers were looking for someone important who seemed to be concerned about people left behind. That response was hardly unreasonable. Those audiences had reason to believe that no one was really concerned about them. Donald Trump, though, did seem to really respond to them. The fact that they finally had a candidate who responded to them helps to explain their remarkable loyalty.
The end result of the Trump campaigns has been the involvement in our politics of people who never may really fit into a democracy. For now at least, they have introduced a potentially indigestible authoritarian threat to our whole multilevel governing system. Those people newly politicized by Donald Trump pose a particular problem for the Republican Party.
Republican office seekers face an impossible dilemma. They have become dependent on very wealthy business oriented contributors. At the same time they feel that they have to cater to Donald Trump and his angry followers to whom they offer nothing. In the meantime traditional Republicans who are often hardworking economic strivers have been set adrift. There is no one in the national party who dares to really respond to their concerns.
So what is the answer to the problem posed by the now aroused non-democratic element that Donald Trump brought to life with his quixotic mission to improve his brand? The answer like the original problem probably lies with Trump, for despite his best efforts Donald Trump’s political dominance will begin to fade away.
He talks of once more being the Republican presidential candidate in 2024. If he does not run others will certainly try to take his place (read Florida governor Ron DeSantis). If he does manage to escape the legal problems awaiting him and wins the nomination, he will lose. For too many thoughtful voters, the problems his candidacy would create after four years away will be just too great.
By then, his rallying supporters with all those red hats will begin to tire of the whole thing. It will dawn on many of them that following the Trump dream has led them to a kind of dead end. Others, even Democrats, will realistically seem to offer them more. Many of his most dedicated followers will once more recede from political activism.
When that happens the Republican Party will somehow gather itself together and move on. By then the excesses of the Democrats in power will provide real economic and political issues to bring a renewed Republican Party to life. And, except for a few of the truly troubled, QAnon and all those pedophiles will have disappeared into the mists of the past.
The great reverse revolution will be over!