Thu, 09/17/2020 – 20:40
The upcoming election may be the most important in US history. At least as important as that of 1860, which led directly to the War Between the States.
In 2016 I believed Trump would win and placed a money bet on him.
This time I’m not so sure, despite Trump’s “incumbent advantage” and the fact the Democrats could hardly have picked two worse candidates.
I see at least six reasons why this is true, namely:
Moral collapse of the old order
The Deep State
The consequences of a Democrat victory will be momentous.
Let’s look at why it’s likely.
1. The Virus
Despite the fact COVID is only marginally more deadly than the annual flu, and the fact it’s only a danger to the very old (median death age 80), the hysteria around it is changing the nature of life itself. It’s proven much less serious than the Asian flu of the late ’60s or the Hong Kong flu of the late ’50s. And not even remotely comparable to the Spanish flu of 1918-19. None of those had any discernable effect on the economy or politics. COVID is a trivial medical event but has created a gigantic psychological hysteria.
The virus hysteria is, however, a disaster from Trump’s point of view for several reasons. None of them have anything to do with his “handling” of the virus—apart from the fact that medical issues should be a matter between a patient and his doctor, not bureaucrats and politicians.
First, the virus hysteria is severely limiting the number and size of Trump’s rallies, which he relies on to keep enthusiasm up.
Second, more people are staying at home and watching television than ever before. However, unless they glue their dial to Fox, they’ll gravitate towards the mainstream media, which is stridently anti-Trump. People who are on the fence (and most voters are always in the wishy-washy middle) will mostly hear authoritative-sounding anti-Trump talking heads on television, and they’ll be influenced away from Trump.
Third, older people have by far the heaviest voter turnout, but roughly 80% of the casualties of the virus are elderly. And over 90% of those deaths are related to some other condition. Be that as it may, fear will make older people less likely to vote in this election. The COVID hysteria will still be with us in November. Older people tend to be culturally conservative and are most likely Trumpers.
Fourth, in today’s highly politicized world, the government is supposed to be in charge of everything. Despite the fact there are thousands of viruses, and they’ve been with us thousands of years, this one is blamed on the current government. Boobus americanus will tend to vote accordingly.
2. The Economy
Keeping his voters at home is one thing. But the effects the hysteria is having on the economy are even more important. The effect of COVID on the economy should be trivial since only a small fraction of the relatively few Covid deaths are among people who are economically active.
Presidents always take credit when the economy is good and are berated when it’s bad on their watch, regardless of whether they had anything to do with it. If the economy is still bad in November—and I’ll wager it’s going to be much worse, despite the Fed creating trillions of new dollars, and the government handouts—many people will reflexively vote against Trump.
In February, before the lockdown, there were about 3.2 million people collecting unemployment. Now, there are about 30 million. So it seems we have over 30 million working-age people who are . . . displaced. That doesn’t count part-time workers, who aren’t eligible for unemployment but are no longer working.
The supplementary benefits have ended. If they return, it will be at lower levels. The artificial good times brought on by free money will end too. It will be blamed on the Republicans.
Worse, the public has come to the conclusion that a guaranteed annual income works. This virus hysteria has provided a kind of test for both Universal Basic Income and Modern Monetary Theory—helicopter money. So far, anyway, it seems you really can get something for nothing.
An important note here: Trump—whatever his virtues—is an economic ignoramus. He’s supported both helicopter money and artificially low-interest rates since he’s been in office. But especially now, because he knows it’s all over if today’s financial house of cards collapses on his watch.
I’ll wager that, out of the 160 million work-force Americans, 30 million will still be out of work by voting day. The recognition that the country is in a depression will sink in. The virus hysteria was just the pin—or sledgehammer, perhaps—that broke the bubble. But that’s another story. What’s for sure is that the average American will look for somebody to blame. As things get seriously bad, people will want to change the system itself, as was true in the 1930s.
The only economic bright spot for Trump is the stock market. But it’s at bubble levels. Not because the economy is doing well, but because of the avalanche of money being printed. Where it is in November is a question of how much more money the Fed will print, and how much of it flows into the stock market. Even then, there’s an excellent chance it could collapse between now and the election.
For reasons I’ve detailed in the past, the economy is now entering the trailing edge of a gigantic financial and economic hurricane. The Greater Depression will be much different, longer-lasting, and nastier than the unpleasantness of 1929-1946. And people vote their pocketbook. Bill Clinton was right when he said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” If stocks fall, it will compound this effect. A high stock market just gives the illusion of prosperity. And, at least while stocks are up, contributes to the atmosphere of class warfare. Poor people don’t own stocks.
Since the gigantic political, economic, and social crisis we’re in will be even more obvious come November, people will want a radical change. Since that—plus lots of free stuff—is what the Democrats are promising, they’re likely to win. But there are other factors.
The last election was close enough, but now, four years later, there are four more cohorts of kids that have gone through high school and college and have been indoctrinated by their uniformly left-wing teachers. They’re going to vote Democrat overwhelmingly.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), and people like her, are both the current reality and the future of the Democratic Party—and of the US itself. She knows how to capitalize on envy and resentment. The Black Lives Matter and Antifa movements have added the flavor of a race war to the mix. Racial antagonism will become more pronounced as whites lose their majority status over the next 30 years.
Nobody, except for a few libertarians and conservatives, is countering the purposefully destructive ideas AOC represents. But they have a very limited audience and not much of a platform. Arguing for sound money and limited government makes them seem like Old Testament prophets to Millenials. Collectivism and statism are overwhelming the values of individualism and liberty.
It’s exactly the type of thing the Founders tried to guard against by restricting the vote to property owners over 21, going through the Electoral College. Now, welfare recipients who are only 18 can vote, and the Electoral College is toothless.
For the last couple of generations, everybody who’s gone to college has been indoctrinated with leftist ideas. Almost all of the professors hold these ideas—as well as high school and grade school instructors. They place an intellectual patina on top of emotional, fantasy-driven leftist ideas.
When the economy collapses in earnest, everybody will blame capitalism. Because Trump is rich, he’s incorrectly associated with capitalism. The country—especially the young, the poor, and the non-white—will look to the government to “do something.” They see the government as a cornucopia.
A majority of Millennials are in favor of socialism, as are so-called People of Color. By 2050, whites will be a minority in the US. A straw in the wind is that a large majority of the people who commit suicide each year are middle-class white males—essentially, Trump supporters. The demographic handwriting is on the wall. Trump’s election in 2016 was an anomaly. No more than a Last Hurrah.
4. Moral Collapse
There’s now a lot of antagonism toward both free minds and free markets. A majority of Americans appear to actually support BLM, an openly Marxist movement. Forget about free minds—someone might be offended, and you’ll be pilloried by the mob. Forget about free markets—they’re blamed for all the economic problems, even though it’s the lack of them that caused the problem. The idea of capitalism is now considered undefendable.
Widespread dissatisfaction with the system is obviously bad for the Republicans and good for the Democrats, who promote themselves as the party of change.
It used to be pretty simple—the Republicans and the Democrats were just two sides of the same coin, like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Traditionally, one promoted the warfare state more, the other the welfare state. But it was mostly rhetoric; they were pretty collegial. Now, both the welfare and the warfare state have been accepted as part of the cosmic firmament by both parties. The difference between them is now about cultural issues. Except that polite disagreement has turned into visceral hatred.
The Dems at least stand for some ideas—although they’re all bad ideas. The Republicans have never stood for any principles; they just said the Dems wanted too much socialism, too fast, which is why they were always perceived—correctly—as hypocrites. Antagonism between the right and the left is no longer political or economic—it’s cultural. That’s much more serious.
Look at the 20 Democratic candidates that were in the primary debates last summer. They were all radical collectivists, dedicated statists. The Republicans were all—with one exception—mealy-mouthed nonentities.
Unlike Trump and the Reps, the Dems actually have a core of philosophical beliefs—and that counts during chaos. It doesn’t matter that they’re irrational or evil. People want to believe in something. The Dems give them a secular religion that promises a better world. The Reps only represent the withering status quo—which is not very appealing.
There’s no political salvation coming from the Republican party. Like Trump himself, it doesn’t have any core principles. It just reacts to the Dems and proposes similar, but less radical alternatives to their ideas. It doesn’t stand for anything. It’s only capable of putting forward empty suits, pure establishment figures like Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, or Bush. Or a nobody like Pence. That’s a formula for disaster in today’s demographic and cultural environment.
Incidentally, I’m not a fan of Trump, per se. He’s an opportunist who flies by the seat of his pants. He’s essentially an American Peron, whose economic policies are disjointed and inconsistent. His foreign policies are dangerous, provoking the Iranians and the Russians and starting a cold war with China that could easily spin out of control and turn into a major hot war.
But on the bright side, he’s a cultural conservative. And that’s why people support him. He wants to see the US return to the golden days of yesteryear, the world of Leave it to Beaver, Ozzie, and Harriet, and Father Knows Best. We’d all like to see domestic tranquility and rising prosperity. But that’s not the world we’re going to be living in, not just for 2020, but the whole decade.
For years, I’ve joked that I planned on watching riots on my widescreen from a secure location, not out my front window. Things have now become so predictable that when I turn on the news, I kill the audio and just put the Stone’s “Street Fighting Man” on a continuous loop.
Anyway, conservatives are completely demoralized. They’re grasping at cultural and moral straws from a bygone era. It’s impossible to defend being a white person anymore; propaganda has made it shameful to be white. If you object to the race-baiters, you’ll be shouted down in the media—especially by white “liberals.” Everything you grew up with and thought was part of the cosmic firmament is being washed away as unworthy.
As an example, recently, in Stone Mountain, Georgia, 1,000 uniformed, armed black men went out of their way to say that they were looking for a fight. “Where are the rednecks that want to fight with us?”
It would have been out of the question at any time in the past, but no rednecks showed up to the party. That’s partially because they’ve been psychologically cowed, and partially because they recognize that if they did when law enforcement arrived, they’d be the ones that were prosecuted, not the black men.
It’s a complete inversion of what would have been the case only a generation ago. Then the blacks would have been too psychologically cowed to turn up for a fight, and the legal system would have railroaded them.
Just to be clear, I’m opposed to any kind of identity politics, regardless of the group. The point is that there’s been a sea change in mass psychology.
The demoralization of the ancien regime is why the destroyers of scores of statues of national heroes, from Columbus on down, are not being prosecuted. Nor do any citizens come out to oppose them. It’s a matter of psychology. Whites and conservatives no longer believe in themselves. When that’s true, it’s game over. Yes, I know it’s not true of all of them—but I believe it’s a fair generalization.
This was spelled out very presciently by late Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov, a KGB agent who fled to Canada in 1970. Bezmenov stated in the mid-1980s that there were four stages of collapse: Demoralization, Destabilization, Crisis, and Normalization. Demoralization takes decades. Bezemov said in 1985 that the process of demoralization—an undermining of a target nation’s values that makes it ripe for revolutionary takeover—was “basically completed already” in the United States. Destabilization, which we’ve seen, especially since the crisis of 2008, is now reaching a climax. I believe a Crisis that changes everything is coming in November.
5. The Deep State
The president is important. But the fact of the matter is that the Deep State—which is to say the top senators and congressmen, heads of the Praetorian agencies, generals, top corporate guys, top academic guys, top media people—really runs the country.
Since the Deep State supports Biden and despises Trump, they’ll do everything in their power to defeat him. You’ve seen this with numerous commercials that don’t sell products so much as promote Woke and SJW ideology. Almost all corporations, universities, sports franchises, and media now make diversity hiring and social activism high priorities.
The 2016 election took them by surprise; they didn’t think it was possible. This time they’re going to be organized, and the Deep State is going to be working actively against Trump’s reelection. Whether it’s through active “de-platforming” by Google, Twitter, and Facebook, or the more subtle influence of how they present things, this time, they’re going all out to derail Trump. They have immense power and can use it in many ways.
They didn’t do much in 2016 because it hardly seemed worth the trouble; the election was thought to be in the bag for Hillary. This time it’s going to be different.
The first five factors are important; they represent megatrends, tidal size influences. But let’s be candid. This election is going to hinge on who cheats the best. And the Democrats have, over the years, developed far greater expertise in cheating than the Republicans. I grew up in Chicago, and it was a joke even then. Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” wasn’t written for the kind of people who vote Republican.
For one thing, there’s now an emphasis on mail-in votes, which makes it easier to cheat. You can register dead people as voters. You can register your dog as a voter. You could probably register 50 million Nigerian princes and get away with it. If the fraud is ever even discovered, it won’t be until long after the election. Which means it’s likely to be a contested election long after Nov 3rd.
That’s only part of it, though. A high percentage of voting machines are computerized. Fraud by hacking voting machines is apparently easy to do—and it’s pretty untraceable. It’s just a matter of planning and boldness.
One of the consequences of these widely acknowledged dysfunctions is to delegitimize the whole idea of voting. That’s possibly not a bad thing. Mass democracy inevitably degrades into a system where the poorer citizens vote themselves benefits at the expense of the middle class. Basically, mass democracy is mob rule dressed in a coat and tie. But if the populace loses faith in “democracy” during a serious economic crisis—like this one—they’re going to look for a strong man to straighten things out. The US will look more and more like Argentina. Or worse.
Remember what Stalin said: “Who votes doesn’t count. What counts is who counts the votes.”
But what about the idea of democracy itself? What does it matter the US starts to resemble a Third World country if that’s the will of the people? I’ve got to say that I don’t believe in democracy as a method of government. I understand how shocking that is to hear. Let me explain.
There’s something to be said for a few people who share traditions and culture and generally agree on how the world works, voting on who will speak for them when it’s appropriate. That’s one thing—and it can make sense. But it’s very different from a gigantic agglomeration of very different, even antagonistic, people fighting for control and power.
Winston Churchill said two things about democracy that are apposite.
One is that “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” I would argue that’s simply not true. The alternatives are worth discussing.
The other thing that he said was, “The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” He’s absolutely right in that quip.
Getting back to cheating: Will foreign interference in US elections be part of the cheating? Kind of. There already are millions of foreign citizens—illegal aliens orchestrated by the left—interfering directly in the outcome by voting. That’s much more of a change than some random Russians making political comments on Facebook allegedly during 2016. Although the Russian thing isn’t even a tempest in a toilet bowl. So what if some Russian kids played around on their computers to see what they could do? It was totally trivial and meaningless.
In a way, it just proves the old saying, turnabout is fair play. For many years, the US government has cultivated regime change in foreign countries by interfering very overtly in their elections.
Why should Americans act surprised if it happens in the US?
A Counter Argument
What are the chances Trump could win, despite the six points I’ve just mentioned? There are two factors I can think of.
One is that the Dems may have overplayed their hand by first supporting, and now not denouncing the “mostly peaceful protest” (aka, riots), Defund the Police, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and the like. People can approve or not—but they don’t want to be scared or have their lives disrupted. It may send the silent majority to the Republicans.
Second is the immense enthusiasm of Trump’s supporters. When he goes somewhere, they disrupt their lives and line-up, waiting for hours to get into the venue. It seems Biden and Harris can barely fill a coffee shop. Millions of middle Americans support Trump as if their lives depended on it. And in a way, they do.
If Trump loses the election—or more exactly, if the Democrats win—it is, in fact, going to change the nature of the US drastically and permanently. Unfortunately, that’s going to be the case even if Trump wins.
Next week I’ll follow up with what’s going to happen after the election. Stay tuned.
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Author: Tyler Durden
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