The 9/11 gambit

Here’s how it’s going to go down.

Trump and his administration will lurch along through the corridors of power, lying and obfuscating, while their opponents rail and froth on the Internet, try to mobilize in local government and in the courts. Some principled, hard-nosed liberals will try valiantly to fight them in Washington without making much headway.

Gradually, the ineptness of the administration will start to become apparent. By November, poor Trump voters in the rust belt may start wondering why Christmas is around the corner and all their jobs haven’t come back yet.

And then it’ll happen.

Somewhere, someone will slip through the net.

A bomb will go off, or a Paris-style shooting spree.

What will Trump’s America do when the smoke clears and we sit, gobsmacked, realizing we just watched multiple heavily armed attackers take hostages at Macy’s in New York — all on Facebook Live?

What will America do when someone takes credit in a YouTube film from the rooftops of Raqqa?

The opposition will melt away under a supernova of patriotic indignation.

You think The Wall is bad? Blocking immigrants from Syria? Threatening martial law because of high gun crime in Chicago?

For now, enough people have the level-headedness to call these abominations out for what they are.

Even more drastic policies will be proposed in those first days when the country is reeling and wounded after a major terrorist attack. Who will stop them then, knpwing they will be branded as “enemies of freedom”?

We’ve seen it happen before. In 2001, when the twin towers went down, America saw a rapid and tremendous expansion of the surveillance state, an erosion of civil liberties, and the beginning of two wars that are still going on. All this under Bush the Younger and the Cheney-Rumsfeld Partnership for a New American Century.

George W. Bush’s administration was right-wing and interventionist. But they knew the rules and conventions of the liberal democratic order, and they played by them.

What will Trump’s America do after it meets its 9/11?

This is my real nightmare.