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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

After Trump Loses, What Happens Next?

For illustration purposes only. These are not my predictions. 
What happens after Trump loses?

Will Trump ally Roger Stone see his prediction of a "bloodbath" come true? Will there be "blood in the streets"?

"I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly," Stone said. "If there's voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government."

"If you can't have an honest election, nothing else counts," Stone said. "I think he's gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath… We will not stand for it." (source here)

If there is violence, what form will it take? A lone standoff in a national wildlife refuge in a western state? A couple of Trump supporters urinating in the face of a sleeping homeless Hispanic man?

Or if there is violence, will it be the steady drip of ugly speech honed to disqualify a potential Clinton presidency? "The election was rigged, stolen. She's not the real president." We saw such rhetoric after Bush's win over Gore, with Obama "a Muslim. Not born in the US." How will such disrespect for the presidency affect our country?

Election 2016 has been a terrific education in how the human mind works, and how, though we may think of ourselves as exceptional, the United States is just as prone to mass irrationality as any other nation.

From the first Republican presidential debate to the last, I discussed them, at length, as they were happening, with other voters on Facebook. My choices were Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, and Rand Paul, in that order. I didn't know much about Trump, but I concluded, based on his behavior in the debates, that I could never vote for him. I came to this decision over time, and posted my reasons in a blog post entitled "I Will Not Vote for Donald Trump; My Top Twelve Reasons" here.

Facebook friends I had previously thought of as rational assessed as attractive the very same Trump behaviors that I assessed as disqualifying. When Trump mocked Megyn Kelly for menstruating, they joined in with period jokes and memes depicting Megyn Kelly as an ugly hag, and a tool of controlling Jews.

One former Facebook friend, Scott, a man who meant a great deal to me, told me that I "eat shit as if it was chocolate pudding." He was referring to the media. The media, he insisted, is controlled by a vast Clinton conspiracy, and brainwashes anyone who doesn't see the bright, shining hope that is President Trump.

I see no such media conspiracy. I see no one publicly raked over the coals as much as the Clintons, and I see Trump receiving soft treatment even as he refuses to renounce support from David Duke, whom he dishonestly claims not to know, and even as he promises that Russia will never enter Ukraine, in spite of Russia's notorious and recent military incursions into Ukraine, that have killed many and redrawn the map of Europe.

Trump supporters can't see what is right in front of their eyes; they can't hear what is spelled out for them. They invent realities – that Trump has demonstrated, over his seventy years in the public eye, that he is a devout Christian, that he loves America, that he is a committed, informed, skillful counter-jihadi, that he is a dedicated family man and a wildly successful businessman.

None of that is true; that none of that is true matters not at all to Trump supporters. They don't even believe that Melania plagiarized her RNC speech. They don't believe that Trump mocked a physically handicapped reporter. They don't believe that Trump insinuated that gun-owners could assassinate a President Clinton or her Supreme Court picks.

You can show them the videos. They deny all. It's … an education in how the human mind works.

Pollsters have discovered that Trump supporters are more likely than the general population to believe in conspiracy theories.

How will conspiracy-theory fueled, reality-averse Trump supporters (which is not all Trump supporters) react when their man loses? Will they realize that their primary vote for Trump, not Ted Cruz, was a huge mistake that cost the Republican Party an election it should have won and could have won?

Will the scales fall from their eyes and will they apologize?

Will they turn on their Pied Piper who lead them, their party and their country so far astray?

I doubt it. I think they will merely pull the cover of conspiracy theories over their eyes and slip deeper into their walking slumber. I think they will become angrier, more defensive, and choose to close ranks and interact with a tighter clique of fellow true believers. I think it would hurt them too much to realize that they have been duped, that they have been the pawns of an erratic, personality-disordered billionaire who couldn't care less about them; who gave them as much thought as a leech gives its host.

I think it would hurt them too much to acknowledge that their primary votes delivered America into the hands of another Democratic administration, with all the negatives that that implies: No rejection of deeply flawed Obamacare, more Black Lives Matter Fergusons and Baltimores and demonization and castration of police officers, leading to yet more crime for black inner cities. More refusal to come to terms with the reality of jihad. More refusal to honor and pass on the gift of Western Civilization. Yes, Trump Republican Primary voters, you gave us that. Will you ever come to terms with it? Will you ever apologize? What happens to the inside of your heads after Trump loses?

What happens to the Republican Party? The Party of Lincoln? The party of personal responsibility? The colorblind, no affirmative action party of Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Susana Martinez, Mia Love? People who achieved because of their skills, not because of some quota? How does that party ever regain its dignity after having Donald Trump as its nominee?

The Donald Trump who bashed a Gold Star family, whose supporters circulated rumors that that Gold Star family were Muslim Brotherhood operatives whose son's death in uniform in Iraq was merely part of a terrorist sympathy-mongering scheme? The Donald Trump who said that Gonzalo Curiel was not fit to judge him? Gonzalo Curiel who prosecuted Mexican drug cartels so dangerous his life was in jeopardy?

I think of a David Brooks, say, facing off with one of my Facebook friends, an unquestioning Trump booster. I think of those two people running into each other at a bar the day after Trump loses. Who will punch whom in the nose first? You ruined my party … no, YOU ruined my party. Who is left standing?

One way or another, the Republican Party is going to need to take a long shower.

What happens to counter-jihad? I am a counter-jihadi. I believe the case for counter-jihad can be made with rational means, and has nothing to do with prejudice or hate of any kind. Counter-jihad is not about hate; it's about love. Love for Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian tradition. Love for the Yazidis who lie moldering in mass graves just being discovered today in former ISIS territory.

What does it do to counter-jihad that its most famous face, now, is a bumbling fool who can't stumble past the partial incoherence of a drunk?

What happens to the right-wingers who, like Cassandra, warned and warned and warned and warned and were, like Cassandra, ignored, and even vilified?

Michael Medved and Mark Levin stand out. I don't much like Mark Levin. I don't like the sound of his voice and I don't like how angry and insulting he is. But I am in awe of his courageous and insightful critiques of Trump.

Levin is steeped in the Constitution and American history. His every critique of Trump is based, not on personal distaste or tabloid headlines, but on detailed precedent and law. No wonder Trump supporters singled Levin out for verbal crucifixion via his status as a Jew. "Filthy Jew Attacks Glorious Leader" frothed one website I prefer not to name. I won't quote any more anti-Semitic attacks or memes but do the Google search. It will make you sick.

What happens to Cassandras after their worst predictions come true? Do they receive a laurel wreath, or do people just pretend that they didn't hear what Cassandra had said?

What happens on Facebook? I have wondered if Scott would ever be my Facebook friend again. After I came out as anti-Trump, I experienced a mass unfriending. Some left without a word of goodbye, after years of Facebook friendship. Others dropped f-bombs on me in private messages. Others publicly denounced me.

I have to be frank. I feel only pity for these folks. I know that sounds terrible and condescending. I'm not being condescending. I've been fooled, too. I have believed the wrong person. I have blind spots. As I often say, I'm so inept with physical reality that I could be confused by the mechanics of a salt shaker. That's why I constantly have to ask friends, "How does this work? What do I buy? Where do I find this item?" I'm such a lost soul in hardware stores.

The difference is, when I don't understand something, I get it that I don't understand something, and I ask for help from those who do understand.

Trump supporters are surrounded by pundits and friends and opinion polls that shout out to them: "This is the wrong guy," and they don't hear. They are listening, rather, to smoldering resentments. I totally understand their resentments – the left has gone too far for too long. But a demagogue is not the answer. Ever.

What happens with Trump? Some theorize that his connections with Sean Hannity, Stephen Bannon, and Roger Ailes will result in a new, hate-mongering media empire. What rough beast slouches, indeed.

Both the right and left are mongering hatred. The left is mongering hatred against men, against America, against the Judeo-Christian tradition. Trump battened on the stirred up resentments. Team Trump is mongering hatred, too. What happens to all this hate after Trump loses?

America needs a unifying and inspirational leader. I so hoped that election 2016 would produce such a leader. It won't. How much longer can we drift before we crash?


  1. Off-topic: Take care what with TS Hermine, and let's hope it dissipates and turns out to be "nothing" further north.

    On topic:

    I think Trump has an "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me" effect (yes, like Reagan's; feel free to groan). So I think there are plenty of Trump supporters who do not care if "their primary vote for Trump...cost the Republican Party an election it should have won and could have won"...because they don't care about the Republican Party, they care about Trump / what he represents to them.

    I think that Cruz, as a member of a very different subculture of Americans and wing of the Republican Party, at best just doesn't appeal to, and at worst actively repulses, a subgroup of Trump supporters. There are people who consider Cruz a "creepy religious fanatic" and would never vote for him or anyone who sends the same subcultural signals he does. These would again be the "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me" types...with perhaps also some "Rockefeller Republican" secular conservative types.

    And Walker sends the "bleep bloop I'm a glibertarian" subcultural signals to this group, who would never vote for an apparent member of that subculture either.

    ...come to think of it, poor Cruz somehow manages to send signals of *both* subcultures. Which is why he so powerfully repulses the "Trump is just a standard New York liberal...and so am I, unlike that neocon Clinton!" contingent.

    ...your comment about people disagreeing on how to interpret videos reminds me of the famous (or famous among law buffs anyway) Supreme Court case about the car chase where the majority was sure the dashcam spoke for itself --

    :web search:

    -- Scott v. Harris --

    but as the existence of dissenting opinions within the Court should have shown them, actually it did not speak for itself. Different people interpreted the same video differently. The Supreme Court ended up posting the video online "to assure its availability to the public." But when video-watchers were polled...they disagreed.

    Famous article on the topic:

    We all know some people who are really timid drivers and some who are reckless drivers. Should we really be surprised that it turns out people watching the same video disagree on how dangerous the driving was?

    More, different people have different bodies of life experience, which affect their interpretations of the same facts. If you read the article, the two main contingents were "The situation was Harris' fault for fleeing a police officer while driving dangerously, so Scott had a right to stop him by any means necessary, even if that meant ramming him"; and "It was Officer Scott's fault for scaring Harris into fleeing dangerously, so he should have dialed it back, so that Harris no longer felt the need to behave so dangerously in order to flee."

    In other words, they actually agreed that the video depicted dangerous driving. They just disagreed on whose fault it was. That topic is a matter of opinion and worldview, and not something the video could ever address.


  2. (Part 2...)

    I think if anyone dismisses either opinion of the driving video as "just denial"...they are the ones in denial. The reality is that people have different enough backgrounds and worldviews that they can agree on the facts but still strongly disagree on their interpretation. know, this reminds me of Sarah Hoyt's recent blog post on (among other things) counter-jihad ( She says that people who think counter-jihad is not necessary are in denial of exactly how different different human worldviews can be.

    Anyway. To take the 2nd Amendment comment as an example: I can see why some people thought it was a veiled reference to assassination. I can also see why some people thought that of course it was not, and that anyone who would think so must be motivated by dangerously extreme misanthropy, or else by hatred of Trump and/or 2nd Amendment supporters. ***I really don't think most of the second group has that reaction due to supporting Trump. I'm convinced it is generally the other way around: these are people already prone to having that reaction, and that is why Trump has been able to gain their support.***

    I think Trump is probably saying these things on purpose to get reactions that many people will interpret as signs of dangerous misanthropy, hatred, and/or insanity (and who as a result may begin to support him). It's like a reverse "dog whistle"--instead of the standard political interpretation of that term, which is something like, "insinuations only the politician's base / the uncultured bigoted rubes can hear"...Trump instead makes insinuations only the cultured establishment types can hear. When they go crazy reacting, they look...well, everyone else.

    I recall this from my schooldays as a standard tactic used by bullies: The bully will say things that sound benign but that the bully knows will especially hurt the target. Then when the target tries to fight back, the bully claims the target was "overreacting," and the target is the one punished.

    Of course, especially sensitive kids (that is, kids who do "overreact") often tend to get targeted by bullies...often because the bully knows the rest of the class is sick of having to walk on eggshells around the sensitive kid, so they won't defend him...

    ...just some rambling thoughts.

    Battening down for Hermine. Again, good luck.

    1. Thank you for these interesting and thoughtful posts! I esp like your theory of Trump's dog whistles and comparing him to a classroom bully.