UPDATE: The column below was written the morning prior to the breach of the US Capitol, a historic moment that will leave its mark, for better or worse, on the political climate in Washington, DC.
It was a moment anything but anticlimactic. While the GOP still has considerable soul searching to do, the primal scream of outraged Trump supporters on Wednesday signals that they will not go quietly, and they will not bear the burden of rejoining the fold in a representative democracy that they believe to be wholly compromised just as the Capitol building was.
Original story below:
What a difference two weeks makes.
With a bleak outcome likely in the Georgia Senate runoff—and the apparent powerlessness of ethically-minded election overseers to prevent it—the sense of calm and balance I wrote about two weeks ago has been entirely supplanted by alternating currents of tumultuous alarm and cynical ennui.
The Georgia race is likely to end with decisive victories for both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff—whether legitimate or illegitimate—at the same time that President Donald Trump addresses the throngs of supporters in Washington, DC, and congressional Republicans make their last raucous stand on Capitol Hill to press claims of massive vote fraud.
But those events, for all their fanfare, seem anticlimactic, to say the least, in an era where Republicans can do nothing to overcome the corruption that was glaringly obvious for miles away and months in advance.
This too shall pass, but the questions before us now are when, and how bad will it get.
When reflecting on what we’ve recently witnessed and what lies ahead, three pop-culture prophesies come to mind:
1. The first is W.B. Yeats’s “The Second Coming“—a widely referenced, apocalyptic poem that vividly captures our Bataan march toward cultural entropy with its images of a falcon spiraling out of control and a “rough beast” slouching toward Bethlehem.
There is not a single phrase in Yeats’s modernist masterpiece, first published a century ago, that doesn’t seem to resonate with our own times.
“I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords,” news anchor Kent Brockman says in the oft quoted meme—which, itself, was spoofing another master of dystopian predictions, author H.G. Wells.
Not only does Brockman convey the current sense of grim resignation in the face of impending disaster, but the line from a 1994 episode correctly foresees the utter capitulation of the Fifth Estate when a hive-minded enslaving force threatens to overthrow our cherished democratic institutions.
3. Finally, the third so-called prophesy comes from the Messiah himself, former president Barack Obama, who predicted in 2008 that red-blooded, blue-collared Americans would find themselves “cling[ing] to guns or religion or antipathy.”
A friend’s words of consolation following Tuesday’s defeat led me to realize that, increasingly, it is God and guns that we turn to for comfort when facing the prospect of a total systemic collapse.
At the time, though, Obama’s apparent condescension missed its mark.
His reductive dismissal of opposing viewpoints was, of course, a red flag for his own way of reasoning. It revealed his rationale for driving a partisan wedge deeper into the polarized seams that democracy had barely stitched together, in order to pursue his radical, globalist agenda.
Yet, as well as diminishing the robust intellectual debate that flourishes on the Right, Obama failed to accurately capture the many other lines of defense that “deplorables” (before they had such a name) would use to fight back.
That fight, over the past four years, has show the desperation that anti-American leftists feel for their own impotence, and their willingness to tear down—literally and figuratively—anything of value in the path to regaining power.
They did just that in 2020, bringing the collateral damage to such a level that many so-called Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to stake it in the fight for freedom.
Thus we’re left with our two final trump cards: the knowledge that a higher power still holds the reins and that, once a critical mass of citizens in the silent majority becomes fed up with the Democrat affront, they will drive back the stranglehold of tyranny—by force, if necessary.
In the meantime, Georgia’s losses make clear that its no longer prudent to rely solely on the power of outrage, which carried the Trump presidency, as a political solution.
Appalling though it may be to know the truth behind the Democrats’ intentions—and the origins of the resources pumped into the state from oligarchs like George Soros, Chinese election interference and other outside bad-actors—two radical-leftist candidates still delivered upsets in key races that were the GOP’s to lose.
The early returns were, in a sense, far more instructive than the final results from corrupt counties like Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb and Chatham.
Not only were Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler unsuccessful in overcoming the margin of fraud in urban, blue-dominated parts of Georgia, they likewise failed to turn out enough voters in their own base—the rural areas—to stave off Democrats’ more earnest and above-board get-out-the-vote initiatives.
The president’s greatest weapon—his stage presence and charisma—did not carry over to candidates who actively lacked those qualities while trying to stand on their own, whether despite or because of the fact that they were largely sidelined by Trump’s vote-fraud crusade.
And even while Trump’s presence will continue to loom large in the political arena, a reminder of the old wounds, his role in the new reality—however he chooses to define it—will be vastly different.
Thus, while factoring in the Trump constant, Republicans must recalculate the other variables in the equation to find the winning formula before the 2022 midterm.
In order to persevere, they not only must find ways to re-unify amid deep philosophical divisions within the party, but also to focus on what was the linchpin of Trump’s appeal—his drive to expand the base by breaking the rigid mold of the party platform.
After being unexpectedly cast into this rebuilding season, a bit of post-mortem reflection and soul-searching is certainly in order.
Follow Ben Sellers on Parler at parler.com/profile/Sellers.