Don’t Blink
Published in

Don’t Blink

What’s at stake in 2020

If the ultimate battle of the future is between open and closed societies, a Trump victory in 2020 would be a critical turning point.

A Trump “win” in the electoral college…would leave our government institutions in a shambles and threaten the American project as we know it.

This will partly be because we’re talking about Donald Trump, not George Bush. (I can’t believe I’m saying this.) But more fundamentally, it will be because the sheer brazenness of insisting on and forcing a second term for a man so manifestly unfit for office after an election that he will so obviously have lost will destroy confidence in our democratic institutions, particularly among the young.

Republicans won’t be able to resist the temptation of Trump’s inexorable authoritarian project in a second term.

Once one tries to get very specific about what would follow a Donald Trump and Republican Senatorial win after a post-election conflict, it’s mostly just rank speculation. Obviously, the guardrails, such as they would have existed up to that point, would be considerably weakened. Trump, having slayed the dragon of his post-petition defeat, would be largely unbound in terms of what he will at least attempt. He would still be giving the Republicans Supreme Court appointments and regulatory relief for their donors, so one would expect little pushback against all but the most extreme things he might attempt. The jury is out, for example, as to what would happen if, as expected, he begins to try to withdraw the United States from NATO. But if there’s true pushback on something like that, he’ll probably realize that he should beat a strategic retreat and bide his time. It’ll be another episode that won’t affect the big picture.

If the ultimate battle of the future is between open and closed societies, a Trump victory in 2020 would be a critical turning point.

Trump will continue to posture the U.S. as competing with and containing China but not as an alternative to its political repression and mind control. China will begin to displace the U.S. in providing leadership on such matters as climate control and the maintenance of an open trading system. Populist authoritarians in the Trump/Putin mold will continue to gain ground worldwide, including in Europe, and China’s ability to keep its economy and society dynamic in spite of enveloping social control will begin to present itself as a genuine if still politically incorrect alternative to the social chaos and political turmoil afflicting the U.S. and Europe. If the ultimate battle of the future is between open and closed societies, a Trump victory in 2020 would be a critical turning point.

--

--

The battle for American democracy will be a contest of will. This serial publication gives a blow-by-blow recounting of one boomer’s nightmare about how the election will cease to be a simple exercise in vote-counting. Part fiction, pure wargame.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store