At the end of the piece I posted Sunday I said, "If by some horrific turn of events Trump manages to win on Tuesday, then we get a head start on Scenario 1." What do I mean by Scenario 1? I assumed that Clinton would win and that we would have four more years of gridlock that would force the American people to choose one side or the other to break the impasse:
I think that the only legislative solution to break the impasse is for one side or the other--the the Tea Party Right or Sanders/Warren Left--to win the White House and both houses in Congress. In Scenario 1 the Tea Party Right would win, and that would be truly frightening and world destabilizing. Eventually this movement self-immolates along the lines I wrote about yesterday, but as it goes up in flames there will be significant collateral damage both here and throughout the world. The Bush years will seem by comparison a model of constraint and sobriety. Whatever the legitimacy of the the grievances of the rank-and-file Trump supporters and Tea Partiers, their leadership is demented, even more demented than Dick Cheney and John Yoo.
Scenario 2 would be the Sanders/Warren Progressives controlling the White House and both houses. I thought it was more likely that Scenario 1 would precede Scenario 2, but that it would happen in 2020 after four years of continued gridlock during a Clinton presidency. I am still incredulous that Americans could elect a preposterous thug like Trump; I feared more someone cleverer and shrewder than he arriving on the scene in the future (a more charismatic Ted Cruz type). I never seriously considered Scenario 1 could start as soon as now, but that's exactly what is happening. Clearly, while I took white populist rage very seriously, I underestimated its extent.
So now Right wing extremists will control he White House, congress, and get their guy appointed to the Supreme Court. That, at least, breaks the impasse--but one shudders in anticipation of what they will do with unobstructed control.
And so one flounders about looking for a silver lining. Perhaps one can be found in the idea that because the Trump people are in so far over their heads that they will blunder more than they will do anything deeply destructive. Better a bunch of buffoons now than someone really scary smart later. Maybe their con will be exposed without their self-immolating and dragging the rest of us with them into the conflagration. Maybe. And maybe, just maybe, this lances the infection and allows the rage to drain so that a more sensible choices will be possible in 2018 and 2020. Maybe this creates the conditions that will usher in Scenario 2 sooner. Maybe.
Assuming we have a functioning democracy in 2020, and assuming that the American people realize that hiring the wolf to manage the henhouse isn't really a solution for what ails them, they will sweep him and the rest of the extreme Right out after one term. And maybe, because the Clinton-Neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party has been deeply discredited by this shocking defeat, the Sanders/Warren wing will be able to take control of it in a way that would have been otherwise very difficult. And so it would be they who sweep Trump and discredited Tea Partyism out and put the country back on a sane footing.
As I said, I'm floundering to find a silver lining here--I have no idea how this is going to play out, and there are plenty of scary, crazy ways it could as well. When will they start rounding up the wetbacks?