Your humble blogger isn’t keen about having to broach the topic on what might be the next step on the Democratic party escalation ladder in its war against Trump. But we’d be remiss in not discussing possibilities that may seem like tail events…but as we know from Nassim Nicholas Taleb that tails are fat.
And given the state of Internet thought policing (see our link today in Links on GoFundMe stealing nearly $90,000 from The Grayzone and its donors), it seems prudent to introduce one scenario for where Trump opponents with institutional connections might go next via Tucker Carlson, who is rich and has no need to worry about monetization, and has too big an audience for him to be easily shut down. Remember that Tucker has blown hot and cold on Trump:
TUCKER ON TRUMP: “We are speeding towards assassination obviously. — They have decided that there's something about Trump that's so threatening to them, they just can't have it”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) August 30, 2023
It’s not as if this is the first time Tucker has brought up the possibility that Trump could be assassinated by members of the power structure, see in his Trump interview starting just after 7:10:
Ep. 19 Debate Night with Donald J Trump pic.twitter.com/ayPfII48CO
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 24, 2023
There is plenty of aghastitude on Twitter over Tucker’s remarks as the worst sort of sensationalism:
Tucker Carlson in his sit-down interview tonight suggests “they” are going to try and kill Trump. Irresponsible and dangerous.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) August 24, 2023
It’s fair to depict Tucker is a drama queen on this topic, and to insinuate his fans who promote the assassination notion as having seen too many movies:
The wee problem with such airy dismissals is the assassinations of JFK and RFK feature, to put it politely, had too many suspicious elements. RFK, Jr. has said it is “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the CIA was involved in his uncle’s assassination, and RFK, Jr. also maintains that Sirhan Sirhan did not kill his father.
The second wee problem is that the Biden Administration and many of its close allies seem capable only of doubling down in the face of opposition. We can see that in Ukraine. Obama warned that Russia would always have escalatory dominance. Yet even as the famed counteroffensive has failed, US officials are still browbeating Ukraine to throw (increasingly aged) men and machines into a Russian meat grinder. Even worse this crowd either ran or enabled the astonishingly reckless move of bombing the Nord Stream pipeline.
However, another tail scenario seems potentially less fraught. If there were credible or exaggerated threats of violence in the runup to Election Day, my reading (and I welcome correction if I have this wrong) is it could take only declaring martial law or finding a pretext for closing polling stations in a couple of states (say New York and Georgia) to brick the presidential election. As far as I can tell, the Constitution does not allow for make ups or delays for Presidential voting. But that developmet would leave Trump in the picture to raise hell.
I don’t like talking through ideas like this but both Democrats and Republicans are fomenting civil war levels of hatred. And this propensity seems particularly crazy for the Democrats, since their voters live disproportionately in or near large cities where they depend on people they loathe in flyover for supplies. And they assume they will command the loyalty of the military and police when things get really bad, and that is not a given either (recall how the police repeatedly made a show of defiance every time then New York City mayor Bill DiBlasio criticized violent policing).
Perhaps if Biden is maneuvered out of running again, the Democrats will fall into enough internecine combat so as to divert energy from further plotting against Trump. Or perhaps all the prosecutions will wind up deflating Trump’s support, if nothing else by forcing him to spend so much time on legal matters that he can’t campaign effectively.
If the Democrats manage to prevail in the 2024 presidential election without escalating, that’s still not a very good outcome from the standpoint of social stability because all the candidates are so terrible. Oddly, it was Victor Orban who pointed out that the West welcomed Putin becoming President of Russia because another weak leader after Yeltsin was deemed to be a catastrophe in the making. See starting at 4:40:
Ep. 20 Hungary shares a border with Ukraine. We traveled to Budapest to speak with the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán. pic.twitter.com/LOzpMrQNIz
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 29, 2023
So I was Prime Minister exactly at the same time the change happened in Russia. Putin after Yeltsin. Yeltsin was very weak and getting weaker and weaker. And I do remember the fear of that time here in Hungary and in Europe as well, whether there will be new leadership or not. So the real fear here was there will be anarchy in Russia. Putin is out and there is no new guy coming in strong enough to keep together the country, the nuclear arsenal, and the army control and so on. So everybody was happy when we realized that Yeltsin, Putin come [sic] in and started to control the military and the Russian power as a leader. So everybody was happy. I do remember that.
So now Putin is in power for long, long years. We forgot about how dangerous it is when there is no strong leadership or interregnum in Russia. The interregnum is the worst case possible.
Now it may also seem extremely strained to suggest any similarity between the US now and the Russia of the 1990s, with the country suffering a collapse in institutions and even lifespans, the rise of corrupt and often brutal oligarchs, and with president Yeltsin as a drunk with basement-level public support who was nevertheless re-elected due to massive US interference. However, the US is suffering from falling life expectancy, ever-rising inequality, more and more casual and visible corruption, and very weak leadership and bureaucratic competence. It’s not clear how much stress in the form of acute political discord our hollowed out institutions can take.