Republicans have an adversarial relationship with reality. As Stephen Colbert put it, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Republicans like to impose their preferences upon reality, calling them “alternative facts”. Mr. Trump’s inauguration crowd was the biggest in history. Climate change is a hoax. The Covid-19 pandemic is winding down. A vaccine will be ready before election day. On and on they go, stomping all over truth like Godzilla stomping on Tokyo.
Sometimes this penchant for an alternative reality is merely pathetic; sometimes, as in the case of Covid-19, it is dangerous. But it could well get a lot worse in the next few weeks.
Republicans are loudly declaring that Mr. Trump will surely win the election. I have bookmarked seven Medium authors who have published stories insisting that Mr. Trump will win — despite scores of polls giving Mr. Biden a huge lead, despite the many analyses, despite the facts. They live in their own bubble world where Mr. Trump is a saint (Yes, one author here on Medium declared him to be a saint. Presumably he’s the patron saint of pussy-grabbers.)
We could dismiss this as the nonsense it is — but there’s a nasty gotcha waiting around the corner. Because if they’re certain that Mr. Trump will win the election, then there’s only one possible explanation for any other result: the election was stolen! The Demonic Democrats Destroyed Democracy! The Deep State (operating from the basement of a pizza parlor on the beach in Miami) subverted the election and is taking control of the country! They’ll turn your wives and daughters into sex slaves and — even worse! — they’ll raise your taxes!
Mr. Trump has already warned his jihadis to be ready to defend America against the depredations of those dastardly Democrats. When it has become clear that he has lost, he WILL blow that dog whistle to the Proud Boys and the other violent gangs to start shooting. He need only say “I just hope that patriotic Americans are willing to defend our precious democracy” and the bullets will start to fly. Of course, for every bloodthirsty nutcase on the right, there’s a bloodthirsty nutcase on the left. Both sides will have their demonstrations, each side double-dog daring the other side to show up — which they will. Bullets will fly, bodies will thump onto the asphalt, and the police will be unable to control the battles.
Reporters will plead with Mr. Trump to issue a statement denouncing the violence, and he will declare his strong support for American patriots. Perhaps he’ll declare martial law. Perhaps he’ll have troops seize the ballots.
Don’t panic. Perhaps, deep down in the hearts of some Republicans, a tiny spark of decency still flickers. It’s more likely that they’ll decide that a civil war wouldn’t be conducive to their incomes. In any case, between Republican politicians and the Supreme Court (they don’t want a civil war, either), we’ll probably see enough pushback to stifle the violence. In the end, we’ll see a body count much, much smaller than Mr. Trump’s body count of Covid-19 victims.
There was a time sixty years ago when paranoid Americans built fallout shelters in their back yards. This time… I don’t know what to suggest. Good luck to all! 😬