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Saturday, October 27, 2018

"The Stakes Are Dire"

Josh Marshall:
I have mentioned several times in recent days my anxiety about the election less than two weeks from now, one that is caused less by my sense of the likely outcome than the gravity of the stakes involved.... 2016 can be seen as a fluke. A series of perfect storm factors coming together to make Donald Trump President with a minority of the popular vote and razor thin margins in three critical states. 2018, if it’s a winning election for the Republicans, will be a choice. A ratification of everything we’ve seen over the last two years. That will be a reality we’ll all have to contend with for what it says about the state of the country. It will send a signal abroad that this is now the American political reality and unquestionably accelerate all the geo-political processes Trump has spurred or which drove him to the White House in the first place. Domestically the impact will be worse. The political message will be simple: you can do all this stuff and suffer no political consequences. It goes without saying that the climate of violent incitement against the press will accelerate. The President’s ability and willingness to protect himself and his loyalists from the law will grow and be treated as normal. It is difficult to imagine he won’t find a way to end the Mueller probe. At the end of the day, the only real restraint on officeholders isn’t norms or even laws. It’s elections.
What we're seeing with Trump's GOP is white supremacy and white supremacy is the furthest thing from a "fluke": it defines American history as much as any other single factor and more than most. But, yeah, girl, I kinda sorta see what you mean and we're all there, feeling the stress strobing like a pulse as the days to the election grow short. HRC should have won and nearly did and won a sizable majority of the vote, and some of the worst excesses, the Court shenanigans and immigration crimes and abandonment of international agreements would not have taken place under HRC, tho' to be honest I'm not sure Republicans majorities would not have tried to impeach Clinton by now for who knows what kind of trumped up nonsense yielding something close to the same shit-show we now face soon enough. It's all true, though, what he says. If Dems don't regain the House and enough governnor's mansions to put a check on the latest white supremacist formation of the GOP (not to mention its cruelty, sexism, homophobia, climate-change denialism, macroeconomic illiteracy, belligerence, gun-nuttery, stubborn stupid parochial death-dealing greedhead anti-intellectualism) Trump will treat it as an endorsement, a mandate, an excuse to unleash his worst authoritarian impulses. The world will rightly abandon America as an unreliable partner and fascism's spread will accelerate under the amplifying pressures of climate change beyond help or hope. It remains to be seen what a best-case outcome and its break on this runaway anti-democratizing Trump train can accomplish even if we win... Trump will likely be brazen, Dems will likely be overcautious, the left base is prone to demoralization after an exhausting couple of years of rage and fear, and the stakes in two years will either be higher than they are even now... or by then the election won't quite matter at all and people will be wondering if it's years too late to make an escape plan. In the longer term, demographics suggest revolutionary possibilities, and the realities of climate catastrophe demand revolutionary adaptations. But it feels like this election tells me whether or not I get to live to see those changes or must live through and probably die in a pointless torment of fascist violence and social upheaval first instead as the clock winds down and the Greenhouse storms arise in earnest. 

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