Someone shared this FB post on my feed, so I spent the morning reading pro-trump Facebook groups, and it was definitely a little frightening. Trump still has a huge amount of support, because for these people it’s not about taxes or healthcare, it’s about taking America back. From the liberals, from the muslims, from the illegals, from the gays and transgenders.
I don’t really see the appeal of these ideas myself, but that’s probably because I don’t really have a country to take back. However, these people were constantly writing stuff like, “Kill the illegals” or “kill the muslims” and I don’t think they were 100% serious, but I do think that if their President came to them and was like, “Hey, the only solution is for you to pick up a gun and actually go out and kill the Muslims” then maybe they’d do it!
Reading these groups, I was actually afraid. Like, I was afraid that I’d do something to tip them off to my presence, and that they’d target me personally. These people are no joke. And the above-linked FB post is right: they’re here to stay. They weren’t created by Trump, and they’re not going to go away when or if he loses. There is going to be a large, authoritarian, far-right bloc of the American population, and there is a frighteningly large chance that they will usher in a totalitarian dictatorship within our lifetimes.
Democracy is really fragile, particularly within the confines of our specific system of strong executive power. And given that the military and the police are likely to be in the far right than against it, you can easily see the circumstances under which a charismatic and visionary President might tweet, “Hey, the Senate is trying to depose me, why don’t you stop them.” Maybe the military will act to stop him and maybe they want. What’s clear is that once a person like that gains the levers of power, he’s not going to give them up easily.
I’m not certain that Trump is that leader (though I’m also not certain he isn’t), but that leader will arise within our lifetime. And if he wins a Presidential election, then we’re all doomed.