The impeachment trial proved Republicans will hold onto power no matter what. I worked in US intelligence and I'm worried

The only way Trump and his associates can prevent themselves from going to jail in 2021 is to remain in power, no matter the actual results of the election

Trump calls impeachment trial 'evil and corrupt'

In the Tom Cruise dystopian thriller Oblivion, a future earth is nearly uninhabited and clearly uninhabitable. Synopsizing an apocalyptic struggle against alien invaders, the protagonist Cruise says, in backstory laydown, “We won the war but lost the earth.” This would appear to be the intent of the Republican Party and the outcome their followers desperately seek – to bring on a war and lose the earth if necessary to achieve their ends. There is no other explanation, to my mind, that fits their strategy and actions.

Republicans seem hell-bent on killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Of course they do not understand that the engine of growth for the US has always been the relative freedom of its people. By deliberately driving a stake through the American dream, shutting off the engine of growth that is immigration, and reducing the commitment of average Americans to the national program, the right is increasingly throttling back that which has actually been positively exceptional about the US, and replacing it with the Animal Farm version. I give it two generations at this rate before total implosion, if the right doesn’t force an earlier apocalypse.

Trump himself is a major vector of the oblivion contagion, with his binary, win-lose deal view of the world. His previous experience has not prepared him in the slightest for the complexity of politics, international relations, or problems such as global warming. No one, least of all his own party, is trying to force him to raise the level of his game, so he simply collapses the complexity down to a cartoon version of the world, and enmeshes his followers in a simplistic, solipsistic worldview.

Thus the right really does believe it is in a war – a war with its own citizens – and with every element in the West that aligns with the liberal viewpoint.

What we should be focusing on now is what we do when Republicans lose the White House and both houses of Congress but attempt to retain power. It should be clear to all based on the impeachment trial in the Senate that Republicans fear losing power more than anything else. I think it is clear to Trump and those Congresspersons involved with his criminal conspiracies that the only way they can prevent themselves from going to jail in 2021 is to remain in power no matter the actual results of the election. With that reasoning, why would they hesitate to support Trump when he declares the 2020 national elections fraudulent, suspends habeas corpus, and tries to politicize the military? Why do you think he is working so hard now to delegitimize the national security apparatus?

Clinton vs Trump acquittal speech comparison

If you think this is fanciful or conspiratorial or better yet apocalyptic, I ask you to look back on how far democracy has eroded in just three years and to get your head out of the sand. Many on the right do intend to bring on the apocalypse – they listen to evangelical preachers and watch rapture movies weekly. Many, like Trump and his wealthier supporters, think we’re all so stupid we’ll just keep obliviously biking like on the “Fifteen Million Merits” Black Mirror episode and hoping the American dream is around the next bend in the video road.

Just because you don’t think apocalyptically — and think those who do are unrealistic and flawed critical thinkers — does not mean that there won’t be an apocalypse. From a global perspective, if the US becomes a failed democracy, then there will be serious ramifications.

At any rate, liberals need to build strong network ties to law enforcement and the military, and get prepared for those inevitable claims about a “hoax” election. November 3, 2020 is an important date. We shouldn’t underestimate how wrong it could go if Trump’s renewed sense of emboldenment gets even more powerful.

Paul Nailer is a pseudonym as the author still currently works on US intelligence-related matters

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