America’s descent

In a year’s time, barring some great turnaround, the Republicans will take control of Congress. These aren’t the Republicans of Reagan or Bush, but Trump’s. Across the US in Republican-run states they are gerrymandering boundaries, passing laws to restrict voting, and putting in place sympathetic judges to rule on the outcomes of those elections, should they go the “wrong way”.

Whatever Republican politicians feel privately, the truck-driving, gun-owning, Tucker Carlson-worshipping Trump fundamentalists run the Party now. Any deviation from the Trump line will mean at best being replaced as a candidate and at worst violent threats.

Taking the House and Senate will end any efforts to investigate the January 6th insurrection, that attempted to overturn Biden’s election win. They will promote people like Paul Gosar, who has repeatedly posted videos simulating the killing of a Democrat Congresswoman, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, an evangelical for unfettered gun freedoms that would make Rittenhouse-style armed vigilantism even easier and who has helped elevate Covid denial to a crusade against masks and vaccines. Then there’s Lauren Bohbert, who this week called the few Muslim Congress members “the jihad squad”.

At the very least these Republicans will make the remainder of President Biden’s term very difficult. More likely – given that they want payback for Trump’s two impeachments and believe Biden “stole” the election, they will remove him and Kamala Harris from office. That would make the new Speaker of the House, Republican Kevin McCarthy, President.

Despite rapidly tackling poverty, addressing urgent infrastructure issues, creating jobs and generally not being an unhinged despot like his predecessor, Biden’s popularity is plummeting. Congressional Democrats were never as popular as him, and have fallen into the trap of attacking their own for not being left enough. Right-wing media like Fox, Newsmax and OANN has convinced those already in thrall to QAnon conspiracy theorists and people like Steve Bannon that Marxism is about to seize control of the country, take their guns and usher in Sharia Law.

The storming of Congress was a trial run, organised from the White House rather than spontaneous, and failed through incompetence rather than any safeguards. Trump was willing to see his own Vice President killed in order for him to stay in the Oval Office. A second coup attempt won’t fail.

Even if Trump doesn’t run again, a Trump-style Republican Governor like Ron De Santis of Florida or Greg Abbott of Texas will. State leaders who’ve gutted the abilities of Democrat-leaning communities – Black people – to vote, banned abortion and outlawed any efforts to prevent Covid infections.

A “Trumplican” America may not reach the extremes of Atwood’s Gilead, but it will no longer be a democracy. An ethno-nationalist, insular one-party state where freedoms for many are severely eroded. A Trump/ Republican majority in Congress, on the Supreme Court and the White House will never relinquish power again.

Will it matter to us? There will be no-one left to resist Putin’s global power grab, restrain Bolsonaro’s ravaging of the Amazon rainforest, stand up to Xi’s China, or promote the battle against climate change. And there are plenty in the Brexit/populist group running the Conservative Party who look to the Trump GOP for inspiration and advice.

Author: Warren Morgan

@warrenmorgan

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