[*This piece has been updated]
By William H. Schneider
President Donald Trump’s ascendancy plus the Republican Party’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy has set the stage for America’s final plunge into chaos, violence, and utter devastation of our “Great American Experiment.”
It’s a given (as it is with virtually all autocrats) that regardless of 2020 election results, Trump won’t leave office willingly. He’ll probably lose the popular vote as he did in 2016, this time by a bigger margin, but an electoral college victory can only be guaranteed by lying and cheating, with infusion of lots of dark money, and even more Russian meddling than during the 2016 campaign.
Other foreign powers will also attempt to interfere, as they observe how this administration pretends it isn’t happening (although the Mueller Report provides overwhelming evidence to the contrary). This will send millions of enraged citizens nationwide to the streets in protest, causing Trump quickly to declare martial law.
On the other hand, if he should lose the electoral college vote, he won’t concede. There will be no peaceful transition of power. Trump will pronounce the election invalid and declare martial law when the country’s betrayed citizens explode. Bottom line; either in this scenario or the one described in the previous paragraph, the last pieces of establishing a dictatorship will fall into place. Goal achieved.
At such a point, America’s fate will be left to the CIA or the American military, as one of the few American institutions remaining to confront him — and to protect us.*
In the event that Trump declares martial law, senior U.S. military officers will have to decide whether or not to defy an unlawful order given by a corrupt and illegitimate president to fire on American civilians. They, too, have the means and their Constitutional oath to back them up.
Whatever the case, the America that emerges from either of these scenarios will not be recognizable and will put us in a “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” environment that we cannot begin to imagine, and where no one’s survival is assured.
The ultimate irony of all this is that even though Trump may effectively be wrested from office and his ugly, dishonest rhetoric muted, the consequences of the efforts required to do so will guarantee destruction of the Democratic Republic we’ve maintained for 243 years.
That’s what the “Birther King” has been working on since his descent down the “royal escalator” in 2015.
William H. Schneider writes from Mechanicsburg, Pa.