One week out seems like a good time to put some stakes in the ground.
- Irrespective of the election outcome, the 72½ days from the early hours of Wednesday 9 November to noon on Friday 20 January will be unusually dangerous both domestically and internationally. Expect a flurry of presidential pardons (including, quite possibly, one for HRC) and recess appointments, plus some bizarre executive orders.
- The transition to the new Administration will be uncomfortable at best and may descend into chaos, although partially concealed from the public if HRC is the incoming executive (unlikely).
- Adventurism by the usual suspects in the usual theaters of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia seems likely, especially if our domestic weakness is heavily publicized.
- I now think that my earlier prediction that the next President and the 115th Congress would enjoy a period of greater cooperation was not so much wildly optimistic as drastically insufficiently appreciative of the utter incompetence of first-wave Boomers at crisis management. Instead, it now looks like we are about to have the first elected President in our history – again, irrespective of the outcome next Tuesday – who will have no “honeymoon” at all: confrontation from day one. Segue to …
- HRC, if improbably elected, will be the weakest executive since Hoover – or possibly Buchanan, with all that that implies. She will be relatively uninterested in national security and may be unable to perform generally due to either medical issues or technical incompetence, leading to the exercise of Amendment XXV §4 or, more likely, actual governance by an oligarchy of several of the more powerful Cabinet secretaries, her chief of staff, and of course VP Kaine (with an assist, if he is still capable, from the First Husband). The cumulative risks of health problems, impeachment, and terrorism/war make it unlikely that she will serve a full term. There is very little likelihood that she will determine even one ideological Supreme Court justice, much less three. A vote for HRC is a vote for Kaine.
- Trump seems likely to attempt the sort of rule by decree that Obama’s more feverish opponents have been anticipating (and which may in fact be briefly manifested after the election; see above). Expect significant disruption to trade and international travel, ostensibly as needed responses to economic weakness, epidemics, and terrorism. Foot-dragging by Federal enforcement agencies may, in some cases, have an ironically protective effect against this kind of authoritarianism. Trump will also face the obvious risks of impeachment and terrorism/war, so a Pence succession before 2021 is nontrivially likely.
- We may expect, at minimum, open advocacy of secession virtually the moment a Trump victory is announced. I would be moderately surprised if Obama fills the Buchanan role here, but even if he takes a firm stand, that only gains us ten weeks. An irruption of the Californian fantasy of independence, in particular, seems practically inevitable.
- Resistance to HRC, again if improbably elected, will be much more decentralized/less formally organized, but thereby more difficult to suppress. There may be “no-go” zones in some rural areas.
- Trump’s more conspiratorial supporters will obviously regard any HRC victory as fraudulent, but they will also regard any neglect of their priorities during a Trump Administration as further evidence of conspiracy. I address the question of how they will react below.
- The deep divisions in the evangelical subculture over the refugee issue and support for Trump will worsen significantly during a Trump presidency due to strident (American) Jewish opposition and noxious “alt-right” Trump supporters.
- I am sufficiently well-networked and/or live in a sufficiently thin bubble that I know that I will know, personally, extremists on both sides of any upcoming domestic conflict. The Missouri of 2017 may, in that respect, resemble what I would have experienced in the Missouri of 1861.
- My own worst-case scenario is an election that is genuinely close enough to raise doubts in the minds of reasonable/relatively disinterested people as to the validity of the proclaimed outcome. The Silent Generation is nearly gone; the Boomers are the adults in the room now, and their reflexive notion for how to deal with opposition is to exterminate it.
- I will actively oppose secession purely as the result of a presidential election, irrespective of its outcome. There may be adequate reasons someday to permit the dissolution of the United States. This is not that time, notwithstanding that the major parties and their supporters have failed us even more miserably than I would have thought possible. I again call upon those supporters to repent of disdain and scapegoating and utopianism, resist demagoguery, and resolve to continue the greatest political experiment in history.
Finally, something of a Sam Houston moment.
A possibly apocryphal story relates how Houston reacted when the Texas Legislature, very much against his advice, voted for secession: he put up an American flag at the entrance to his property and dared anyone to try to take it down; and no one did.
One of the things we’re about to learn is whether the rhetoric of the “alt-right” and other conspiracy theorists will be matched by action. To be sure, people who hide behind online pseudonyms while using words like “cuck” seem, shall we say, slightly lacking in physical courage – but just in case it isn’t already obvious, I am publicly stating here that I will continue to work for exactly what they don’t want: America as destination; asylum for mankind; friend of Israel; ally and defender of civilization everywhere. (A close corollary of this is demographic dynamism; just imagine what would happen if AA women and Latinas followed the lead of their Anglo sisters and stopped getting abortions.) I wear the “race traitor” epithet as a badge of honor.
And I am not difficult to locate, should anyone feel that … face-to-face discussion is required.