Texas v. Pennsylvania et al. did not deny setting rules for the 2020 election contrary to the Constitution. On December 10, 2020, the Supreme Court discounted that. By refusing to interfere as Americas ruling oligarchy serves itself, the court archived what remained of the American republics system of equal justice. That much is clear.
In 2021, the laws, customs, and habits of the heart that had defined the American republic since the 18th century are things of the past. Americans movements and interactions are under strictures for which no one ever voted. Government disarticulated society by penalizing ordinary social intercourse and precluding the rise of spontaneous opinion therefrom. Together with corporate America, it smothers minds through the mass and social media with relentless, pervasive, identical, and ever-evolving directives. In that way, these oligarchs have proclaimed themselves the arbiters of truth, entitled and obliged to censor whoever disagrees with them as systemically racist, adepts of conspiracy theories.
Corporations, and the government itself, require employees to attend meetings personally to acknowledge their guilt. They solicit mutual accusations. While violent felons are released from prison, anyone may be fired or otherwise have his life wrecked for questioning government/corporate sentiment. Todays rulers dont try to convince. They demand obedience, and they punish.
Russians and East Germans under Communists Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in the 1970s lived under less ruling class pressure than do todays Americans. And their rulers were smart enough not to insult them, their country, or their race.
In 2015, Americans could still believe they lived in a republic, in which lifes rules flow from the people through their representatives. In 2021, a class of rulers draws their right to rule from self-declared experts claims of infallibility that dwarf baroque kings pretensions.
In that self-referential sense, the United States of America is now a classic oligarchy.
The following explains how this change happened. The clarity that it has brought to our predicament is its only virtue.
Oligarchy had long been growing within Americas republican forms. The 2016 election posed the choice of whether its rise should consolidate, or not. Consolidation was very much in the cards. But how that election and its aftermath led to the fast, thorough, revolution of American life depended on how Donald Trump acted as the catalyst who clarified, energized, and empowered our burgeoning oligarchys peculiarities. These, along with the manner in which the oligarchy seized power between November 2016 and November 2020, ensure that its reign will be ruinous and likely short. The prospect that the republics way of life may thrive among those who wish it to depends on the manner in which they manage the civil conflict that is now inevitable.
From Ruling Class to Oligarchy
By the 21st centurys first decade, little but formality was left of the American republic. In 1942, Joseph Schumpeters Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy described the logic by which government and big business tend to coalesce into socialism in theory, oligarchy in practice. But by then, that logic had already imposed itself on the Western world. Italys 1926 Law of Corporationsfascisms charterinaugurated not so much the regulation of business by government as the coalescence of the twain. Over the ensuing decade, it was more or less copied throughout the West.
In America, the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Acts authors had erected barriers against private oligopolies and monopolies. By maintaining competition between big business, they hoped to preserve private freedoms and limit governments role. But the Great Depressions pressures and temptations led to the New Deals rules that differed little from Italys. No matter that, as the Supreme Court pointed out in Schechter Poultry v. U.S., public-private amalgamation does not fit in the Constitution. It grew nevertheless alongside the notion that good government proceeds from the experts judgment rather than from the voters choices. The miracles of production that America brought forth in World War II seemed to validate the point.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had come to understand large organizations that feed on government power and dispense vast private benefits, was not shy in warning about the danger they pose to the republic. His warning about the military-industrial complex that he knew so well is often misunderstood as a mere caution against militarism. But Ike was making a broader point: Amalgams of public and private power tend to prioritize their corporate interests over the countrys.
That is why Eisenhower cautioned against the power of government-funded expertise. The prospect of domination of the nations scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever-present and is gravely to be regarded, he said, because public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. Government money can accredit a self-regarding elite. Because a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity, government experts can end up substituting their power for truth.
The expansion of government power throughout the 1960s and 70s in pursuit of improving education, eradicating poverty, and uplifting blacks created complexes of public-private power throughout America that surpassed the military-industrial complex in size, and above all in influence.
Consider education. Post-secondary education increased fourfold, from 9 percent of Americans holding four-year degrees in 1965 to 36 percent in 2015. College towns became islands of wealth and political power. From them came endless studies that purported to be arbiters of truth and wisdom, as well as a growing class of graduates increasingly less educated but ever so much more socio-politically uniform.
In the lower grades, per-pupil expenditure (in constant dollars) went from $3,200 in 1960 to $13,400 in 2015. That money fueled an even more vast and powerful complexone that includes book publishers, administrators, and labor unions and that has monopolized the minds of at least two generations. As it grew, the education establishment also detached itself from the voters control: In the 1950s, there were some 83,000 public school districts in America. By 2015, only around 13,000 remained for a population twice as large. Todays parents have many times less influence over their childrens education than did their grandparents.
Analogous things happened in every field of life. Medicine came to be dominated by the governments relationship with drug companies and hospital associations. When Americans went to buy cars, or even light bulbs and shower nozzles, they found their choices limited by deals between government, industry, and insurance companies. These entities regarded each other as stakeholders in an oligarchic system. But they had ever less need to take account of mere citizens in what was becoming a republic in name only. As the 20eth century was drawing to a close, wherever citizens looked, they saw a government and government-empowered entities over which they had ever less say, which ruled ever more unaccountably, and whose attitude toward them was ever less friendly.
The formalities were the last to go. Ever since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 A.D., the rulers dependence on popular assent to expenditures has been the essence of limited government. Article I, section 9 of the U.S. Constitution enshrines that principle. Congressional practice embodied it. Details of bills and expenditures were subject to public hearings and votes in subcommittees, committees, and the floors of both Houses. But beginning in the early 1980s and culminating in 2007, the U.S government abandoned the appropriations process.
Until 1981, Congress had used continuing resolutions to continue funding government operations unchanged until regular appropriations could be made. Thereafter, as congressional leaders learned how easy it is to use this vehicle to avoid exposing what they are doing to public scrutiny, they legislated and appropriated ever less in public, and increasingly put Congress output into continuing resolutions or omnibus bills, amounting to trillions of dollars and thousands of pages, impossible for representatives and senators to read, and presented to them as the only alternative to shutting down the government. Thisnow the U.S government standard operating procedureenables the oligarchys stakeholders to negotiate their internal arrangements free from responsibility to citizens. It is the practical abolition of Article I section 9and of the Magna Carta itself.
In the 21st century, the American peoples trust in government plummeted as theyon the political Left as well as on the Rightrealized that those in power care little for them. As they watched corporate and non-profit officials trade places with public officials and politicians while getting much richer, they felt impoverished and disempowered. Since the ruling class embraced Republicans and Democrats, elections seemed irrelevant. The presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 underlined that whoever won, the same people would be in charge and that the parceling out of wealth and power among stakeholders would continue.
Americans on the Right were especially aggrieved because the oligarchy had become culturally united in disdain for Western civilization in general and for themselves in particular. The cultural warfare it waged on the rest of America inflamed opposition. But it also diluted its own focus on solidifying profitable arrangements.
By 2016, America was already well into the classic cycles of revolution. The atrophy of institutions, the waning of republican habits, and the increasing, reciprocal disrespect between classes that have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another, than did the 19th centurys Northerners and Southerners precluded returning to traditional republican life. The election would determine whether the oligarchy could consolidate itself. More important, it would affect the speed by which the revolutionary vortex would carry the country, and the amount of violence this would involve.
The Trump Catalyst
By 2015, the right side of Americas challenge to the budding oligarchy was inevitable. Trump was not inevitable. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had begun posing a thorough challenge to the stakeholders most Americans disrespected. Candidate Trump was the more gripping showman. His popularity came from his willingness to disrespect them, loudly. Because the other 16 Republican candidates ran on different bases, none ever had a chance. Inevitably, victory in a field so crowded depended on when which minor candidate did or did not withdraw. There never was a head-to-head choice between Trump and Cruz.
Trumps candidacy drew the ferocious opposition it did primarily because the entire ruling class recognized that, unlike McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012, he really was mobilizing millions of Americans against the arrangements by which the ruling class live, move, and have their being. Since Cruzs candidacy represented the same threat, it almost certainly would have drawn no less intense self-righteous anger. Nasty narratives could have been made up about him out of whole cloth as easily as about Trump.
But Trumps actual peculiarities made it possible for the oligarchy to give the impression that its campaign was about his person, his public flouting of conventional norms, rather than about the preservation of their own power and wealth. The principal consequence of the ruling class opposition to candidate Trump was to convince itself, and then its followers, that defeating him was so important that it legitimized, indeed dictated, setting aside all laws, and truth itself.
Particular individuals had never been the oligarchys worry. In 2008, as Barack Obama was running against Hillary Clinton and John McCainfar cries from Trumphe pointed to those Americans who cling to God and guns as the problems root. Clintons 2016 remark that Trumps supporters were a basket of deplorables,racists, sexists, homophobes, etc.merely voiced what had long been the oligarchys consensus judgment of most Americans. For them, pushing these Americans as far away as possible from the levers of power, treating them as less than citizens, had already come to define justice and right.
Donald Trumphis bombastic, hyperbolic style, his tendency to play fast and loose with truth, even to lie as he insulted his targetsfit perfectly the oligarchys image of his supporters, and lent a color of legitimacy to the utterly illegitimate collusion between the oligarchys members in government and those in the Democratic Party running against Trump.
Thus did the FBI and CIA, in league with the major media and the Democratic Party, spy on candidate Trump, concocting and spreading all manner of synthetic dirt about him. Nevertheless, to universal surprise, he won, or rather the oligarchy lost, the 2016 election.
The oligarchys disparate members had already set aside laws, truth, etc. in opposition to Trump. The realization that the presidencys awesome powers now rested in his hands fostered a full-court-press #Resistance. Trumps peculiarities helped make it far more successful than anyone could have imagined.
Dogs That Bark Do Not Bite
Applying this observation to candidate Trumps hyperbole suggested that President Trump might suffer from what Theodore Roosevelt called the most self-destructive of habits, combining the unbridled tongue with the unready hand. And, in fact, President Trump neither fired and referred for prosecution James Comey or the other intelligence officials who had run the surveillance of his campaign. He praised them, and let himself be persuaded to fire General Michael Flynn, his national security advisor, who stood in the way of the intelligence agencies plans against him. Nor did he declassify and make public all the documents associated with their illegalities.
Four years later, he left office with those documents still under seal. He criticized officials over whom he had absolute power, notably CIAs Gina Haspel who likely committed a crime spying on his candidacy, but left them in office. Days after his own inauguration, he suffered the CIAs removal of clearances from one of his appointees because he was a critic of the Agency. Any president worthy of his office would have fired the entire chain of officials who had made that decision. Instead, he appointed to these agencies people loyal to them and hostile to himself.
He acted similarly with other agencies. His first secretary of state, secretary of defense, and national security advisor mocked him publicly. At their behest, in August 2017, he gave a nationally televised speech in which he effectively thanked them for showing him that he had been wrong in opposing ongoing war in the Middle East. He railed against Wall Street but left untouched the tax codes carried interest provision that is the source of much unearned wealth. He railed against the legal loophole that lets Google, Facebook, and Twitter censor content without retribution, but did nothing to close it. Already by the end of January 2017, it was clear that no one in Washington needed to fear Trump. By the time he left office, Washington was laughing at him.
Nor did Trump protect his supporters. For example, he shared their resentment of being ordered to attend workplace sessions about their racism. But not until his last months in office did he ban the practice within the federal government. Never did he ban contracts with companies that require such sessions.
Thus, as the oligarchy set about negating the 2016 electorates attempt to stop its consolidation of power, Trump had assured them that they would neither be impeded as they did so nor pay a price. Donald Trump is not responsible for the oligarchys power. But he was indispensable to it.
#TheResistance rallied every part of the ruling class to mutually supporting efforts. Nothing encourages, amplifies, or seemingly justifies extreme sentiments as does being part of a unanimous chorus, a crowd, a mobespecially when all can be sure they are acting safely, gratuitously. Success supercharges them. #TheResistance fostered the sense in the ruling class members that they are more right, more superior, and more entitled than they had ever imagined. It made millions of people feel bigger and better about themselves than they ever had.
Logic and Dysfunction
Disdain for the deplorables united and energized parts of American society that, apart from their profitable material connections to government, have nothing in common and often have diverging interests. That hate, that determination to feel superior to the deplorables by treading upon them, is the intersectionality, the glue that binds, say, Wall Street coupon-clippers, folks in the media, officials of public service unions, gender studies professors, all manner of administrators, radical feminists, race and ethnic activists, and so on. #TheResistance grew by awakening these groups to the powers and privileges to which they imagine their superior worth entitles them, to their hate for anyone who does not submit preemptively.
Ruling-class judges sustained every bureaucratic act of opposition to the Trump Administration. Thousands of identical voices in major media echoed every charge, every insinuation, non-stop and unquestioned. #TheResistance made it ruling-class policy that Trumps and his voters racism and a host of other wrongdoing made them, personally, illegitimate. In any confrontation, the ruling class deemed these presumed white supremacists in the wrong, systemically. By 2018, the ruling class had effectively placed the deplorables outside the protection of the laws. By 2020, they could be fired for a trifle, set upon in the streets, prosecuted on suspicion of bad attitudes, and even for defending themselves.
Because each and every part of the ruling coalitions sense of what may assuage its grievances evolves without natural limit, this logic is as insatiable as it is powerful. It is also inherently destructive of oligarchy.
Enjoyment of powers material perquisites is classic oligarchys defining purpose. Having conquered power over the people, successful oligarchies foster environments in which they can live in peace, productively. Oligarchy, like all regimes, cannot survive if it works at cross-purposes. But the oligarchy that seized power in America between 2016 and 2020 is engaged in a never-ending seizure of ever more power and the infliction of ever more punishmentin a war against the people without imaginable end. Clearly, that is contrary to what the Wall Street magnates or the corps of bureaucrats or the university administrators or senior professors want. But that is what the people want who wield the intersectional passions that put the oligarchy in power.
As the oligarchys every part, every organ, raged against everything Trump, it made itself less attractive to the public even as Trumps various encouragements of economic activity were contributing to palpable increases in prosperity. Hence, by 2019s end, Trump was likely to win reelection. Then came COVID-19.
The COVID Fortuna
The COVID-19 virus is no plague. Though quite contagious, its infection/fatality rate (IFR), about 0.01 percent, is that of the average flu, and its effects are generally so mild that most whom it infects never know it.
Like all infections, it is deadly to those weakened severely by other causes. It did not transform American life by killing people, but by the fears about it that our oligarchy packaged and purveyed. Fortuna, as Machiavelli reminds us, is inherently submissive to whoever bends her to his wishes. The fears and the strictures they enabled were not about healthif only because those who purveyed and imposed them did not apply them to themselves. They were about power over others.
COVIDs politicization began in February 2020 with the adoption by the World Health Organizationwhich is headed by an Ethiopian bureaucrat beholden to Chinaand upon recommendation of non-scientist Bill Gates, of a non-peer-reviewed test for the infection. The tests chief characteristic is that its rate of positives to negatives depends on the number of cycles through which the sample is run. More cycles, more positives. Hence, every test result is a soft number. Second, the WHO and associated national organizations like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported COVIDs spread by another soft number: confirmed cases. That is, sick persons who tested positive for the virus.
When this number is related to that of such persons who then die, the ratiosomewhat north of 5 percentsuggests that COVID kills one out of 20 people it touches. But that is an even softer number since these deaths include those who die with COVID rather than of it, as well as those who may have had COVID. Pyramiding such soft numbers, mathematical modelers projected millions of deaths. Scary for the unwary, but pure fantasy.
For example, the U.S. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), which modeled the authoritative predictions on which the U.S. lockdowns were based, also predicted COVID-19 deaths for Sweden, which did not lock down. On May 3, the IHME predicted that Sweden would suffer 2,800 COVID deaths a day within the next two weeks. The actual number was 38. Reporting on COVID has never ceased to consist of numbers as scary as they are soft.
Literate persons know that, once an infectious disease enters a population, nothing can prevent it from infecting all of it, until a majority has developed antibodies after contracting itso-called community immunity or herd immunity. But fear leads people to empower those who promise safety, regardless of how empty the promises. The media pressed governments to do something. The Wall Street Journals Peggy Noonan screamed: dont panic is terrible advice. The pharmaceutical industry and its Wall Street backers salivated at the prospect of billions of government money for new drugs and vaccines. Never mind the little sense it makes for millions of people to accept a vaccines non-trivial risk to protect against a virus with trivial consequences for themselves. All manner of officials yearned to wield unaccountable power.
Because the power to crush the general populations resistance to itself is the oligarchys single-minded focus, it was able to bend fears of COVID to that purpose. Thus, it gathered more power with more consequences than the oligarchs could have imagined.
But only President Trumps complaisance made this possible. His message to the American people had been not to panic, be mindful of the scientific factsyou cant stop it, and its not that badwhile mitigating its effects on vulnerable populations. But on March 15, Trump bent, and agreed to counsel people to suspend normal life for two weeks to slow the spread, so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed. Two weeks later, the New York Times crowed that Trump, having been told hundreds of thousands of Americans could face death if the country reopened too soon, had been stampeded into abandoning his goal of reopening the country by Easter. He agreed to support the experts definition of what soon might mean. By accrediting the complex of government, industry, and medias good faith and expertise, Trump validated their plans to use COVID as a vehicle for enhancing their power.
Having seized powers, the oligarchs used them as weapons to disrupt and disaggregate the parts of American society they could not control.
The economic effects of lockdowns and social distancing caused obvious pain. Tens of millions of small businesses were forced to close or radically to reduce activity. More than 40 million Americans filed claims for unemployment assistance. Uncountable millions of farmers and professionals had their products and activities devalued. Millions of careers, dreams that had been realized by lifetimes of work, were wrecked. Big business and government took over their functions. Within nine months, COVID-19 had produced 28 new billionaires.
Surplus and scarcity of food resulted simultaneously because the lockdowns closed most restaurants and hotels. As demand shifted in ways that made it impossible for distribution networks and processing plants to adjust seamlessly, millions of gallons of milk were poured down drains, millions of chickens, billions of eggs, and tens of thousands of hogs and cattle were destroyed, acres of vegetables and tons of fruit were plowed under. Prices in the markets rose. Persons deprived of work with less money with which to pay higher prices struggled to feed their families. This reduced countless self-supporting citizens to supplicants. By intentionally reducing the supply of food available to the population, the U.S. government joined the rare ranks of such as Stalins Soviet Union and Castros Cuba.
But none of these had ever shut down a whole nations entire medical care except for one disease. Hospitals stood nearly empty, having cleared the decks for the (ignorantly) expected COVID flood. Emergency rooms were closed to the poor people who get routine care there. Forget about dentistry. Most Americans were left essentially without medical care for most of a year. Human bodies troubles not having taken a corresponding holiday, it is impossible to estimate how much suffering and death this lack of medical care has caused and will cause yet.
The oligarchys division of all activity into essentialmeaning permittedand nonessentialto be throttled at willhad less obvious but more destructive effects. Private clubs, as well as any and all gatherings of more than five or 10 people, were banned. Churches were forbidden to have worship services or to continue social activities. The social distancing and mask mandates enforced in public buildings and stores, and often on the streets, made it well-nigh impossible for people to communicate casually. Thus, was that part of American society that the oligarchy did not control directly disarticulated, and its members left alone to face unaccountable powers on which they had to depend.
Meanwhile, the media became the oligarchys public relations department. Very much including ordinary commercial advertising, it hammered home the oligarchys line that COVID restrictions are good, even cool. These restrictions reduced the ideas available to the American people to what the mass media purveyed and the social media allowed. Already by April 2020, these used what had become near-monopoly power over interpersonal communications to censor such communications as they disapproved. Political enforcers took it upon themselves even to cancel statements by eminent physicians about COVID that they judged to be misleading. Of course, this betrayed the tech giants initial promise of universal access. It is also unconstitutional. (In Marsh v. Alabama, decided in 1946, the Supreme Court barred private parties from acting as de facto governments). Since these companies did it in unison, they also violated the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. But the ruling class that had become an oligarchy applauded their disabling whatever might be conducive to conservatives interests and inconvenient to their own candidates.
Private entities wielding public powers in coordination with each other without having to observe any of governments constitutional constraints is as good a definition of oligarchy as there is. Oligarchy had increasingly taken power in the buildup to the 2020 election. In its aftermath, it would try to suffocate America.
Sovereignty of the Vote Counters
The oligarchys proximate objective, preventing the 2020 presidential election from validating the previous ones results, overrode all others. The powers it had seized under COVIDs cover, added to the plethora that it had exercised since the 2016 campaigns beginning, had surely cowered some opposition. But as November 2020 loomed, no one could be sure how much it also had energized.
Few people were happy to be locked down. It was a safe bet that not a few were unhappy at being called systemically racist. The oligarchy, its powers notwithstanding, could not be sure how people would vote. That is why it acted to take the presidential elections outcome out of the hands of those who would cast the votes and to place it as much as possible in the hands of its members who would count the votes.
Intentionally, traditional procedures for voting leave no discretion to those who count the votes. Individuals obtain and cast ballots into a physical or electronic box only after showing identification that matches their registration. Ballot boxes are opened and their contents counted by persons representing the elections opposing parties. Persons registered to vote might qualify to vote-by-mail by requesting a ballot, the issuance and receipt of which is checked against their registration. Their ballots are counted in the same bipartisan manner.
The Democratic Party had long pressed to substitute universal voting by mailmeaning that ballots would be sent to all registered voters, in some states to anyone with a drivers license whether they asked for them or not and regardless of whether these persons still lived at the address on the rolls or were even alive. The ballots eventually would arrive at the counting centers, either through the mail, from drop boxes, or through harvesters who would pick them up from the voters who fill them out, and who may even help them to fill them out. Security, if any, would consist of machine-matching signatures on the ballot and on the envelope in which it had come. The machines software can be dialed to greater or lesser sensitivity.
But doing away with scrutiny of ballots counted by representatives of the elections contenders removes the last possibility of ensuring the ballot had come from a real person whose will it is supposed to represent. Once the link between the ballot and the qualified person is broken, nothing prevents those in charge of the electoral process from excluding and including masses of ballots as they choose. The counters become the arbiters.
Attorney General William Barr pointed out the obvious: Anyone, in America or abroad, can print up any number of ballots, mark them, and deliver them for counting to whoever is willing to accept them and run them through their machines. Since the counters usually dispose of the envelopes in which ballots arrivethus obviating any possibility of tracing the ballots connection to a voterthey may even dispense of the fiction that there had ever been any signed envelopes. That is especially true of late-found ballots. Who knows where they came from? Who cares to find out?
Only in a few one-party Democratic states was universal vote-by-mail established by law. Elsewhere, especially in the states sure to be battlegrounds in the presidential election, mail-in voting was introduced by various kinds of executive or judicial actions. Questions of right and wrong aside, the Constitutions Article II section 1s wordsEach State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may directmakes such actions unconstitutional on their face. Moreover, in these statesGeorgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsinthe counting of votes in the most populous counties is firmly in the hands of Democratic Party bosses with a well-documented history of fraud.
To no ones surprise, the 2020 presidential election was decided by super-majorities for the Democratic candidate precisely from these counties in these states. Yes, Trumps percentage of the vote fell in certain suburbs. But Trump received some 11 million more votes in 2020 than four years earlier, and nearly doubled the share of votes he received from blacks. The Democrats gain of some 15 million votes came exclusively from mail-in ballots, and their victory in the Electoral College came exclusively from the supermajorities piled up in these corrupt countiesthe only places where Trumps share of the black vote was cut by three-quarters. Did people there really think so differently?
This is not the place to recount the list of affidavits sworn under penalty of perjury by persons who observed ballot stuffing, nor the statistical anomaly of successive batches of votes that favored Biden over Trump by precisely the same amounts, of un-creased (i.e., never mailed) ballots fed into counting machines, nor the Georgia video of suitcases of ballots being taken from under tables and inserted into counting machines after Republican observers had been ousted. Suffice it to note that references to these events have been scrubbed from the Internet. It is more important to keep in mind that, in America prior to 2020, sworn affidavits that crimes have been committed had invariably been probable cause for judicial, prosecutorial, or legislative investigations. But for the first time in America, the ruling class dismissed them with: You have no proof! A judge (the sister of Georgias Stacey Abrams) ruled that even when someone tells the U.S. Postal Service they have moved, their old address is still a lawful basis for them to cast a ballot. Certainly, proof of crime is impossible with such judges and without testimony under oath, or powers of subpoena.
Just as important, Republicans in general and the Trump White House in particular bear heavy responsibility for failing to challenge the patent illegality of the executive actions and consent decrees that enabled inherently insecure mail-in procedures in real-time, as they were being perpetrated in key states. No facts were at issue. Only law. The constitutional violations were undeniable.
Pennsylvania et. al. answered Texass late lawsuit by arguing it demanded the invalidation of votes that had been cast in good faith. True. But Texas argued that letting stand the results of an election carried out contrary to the Constitution devalued the votes cast in states such as Texas that had held the election in a constitutional manner. Also true. Without comment, the Supreme Court chose to privilege the set of voters on the oligarchys side over those of their opponents. Had the lawsuit come well before the election, no such choice would have existed. Typically, the Trump Administration substituted bluster for action.
The Oligarchy Rides its Tigers
Winning the 2020 election had been the objective behind which the oligarchy had coalesced during the previous five years. In 2021, waging socio-political war on the rest of America is what the oligarchy is all about.
The logic of hate and disdain of ordinary Americans is not only what binds the oligarchy together. It is the only substitute it has for any moral-ethical-intellectual point of reference. Donald Trumps impotent, inglorious reaction to his defeat offered irresistible temptations to the oligarchys several sectors to celebrate victory by vying to hurt whoever had supported the president. But permanent war against some 74 million fellow citizens is a foredoomed approach to governing.
The Democratic Party had promised a return to some kind of normalcy. Instead, its victory enabled the oligarchys several parts to redefine the people who do not show them due deference as white supremacists, insurrectionists, and Nazisin short, as some kind of criminalsto exclude them from common platforms of communication, from the banking system, and perhaps even from air travel; and to set law enforcement to surveil them in order to find bases for prosecuting them. Neither Congress nor any states legislature legislated any of this. Rather, the several parts of Americas economic, cultural, and political establishment are waging this war, uncoordinated but well-nigh unanimously.
Perhaps most important, they do so without thought of how a war against at least some 74 million fellow citizens might end. The people in the oligarchys corporate components seem to want only to adorn unchallenged power with a reputation for wokeness. For them, causing pain to their opponents is a pleasure incidental to enjoying powers perquisites. The Biden familys self-enrichment by renting access to influence is this oligarchys standard.
But the people who dispense that reputationnot just the professional revolutionaries of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, but mainstream racial and gender activists and self-appointed virtue-crats, have appetites as variable as they are insatiable. For them, rubbing conservative Americas faces in excrement is what its all about. A Twitter video viewed by 2.6 million people urges them to form an army of citizen detectives to ferret out conservatives from among teachers, doctors, police officers, and report them to the authorities. No doubt, encouraged by President Bidens characterization of opponents as domestic terrorists, any number of authorities as well as private persons will find opportunities to lord it over persons not to their taste. This guarantees endless clashes, and spiraling violence.
Joseph Biden, Kamala Harris, and the people they appoint to positions of official responsibility are apparatchiks, habituated to currying favor and pulling rank. They have neither the inclination nor the capacity to persuade the oligarchys several parts to agree to a common good or at least to a modus vivendi among themselves, never mind with conservative America. This guarantees that they will ride tigers that they wont even try to dismount.
At this moment, the oligarchy wields an awesome complex of official and unofficial powers to exclude whomever it chooses from societys mainstream. Necessarily, however, exclusions cut both ways. Invariably, to banish another is to banish ones self as well. Google, Facebook, and Twitter let it be known that they would exclude anything with which they disagree from what had become the near-universal means of communication. They bolstered that by colluding to destroy their competitor, Parler. Did they imagine that 74 million Americans could find no means of communicating otherwise? Simon and Schuster canceled a book by Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) critical of communications monopolies. Did its officials imagine that they would thereby do other than increase the books eventual sales, and transfer some of their customers to Hawleys new publisher? The media effectively suppressed inconvenient news. Did they imagine that this would prevent photos of Black Lives Matter professionals in the forefront of the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol from reaching the public?
In sum, intending to relegate conservative America to societys servile sidelines, the oligarchys members drew a clear, sharp line between themselves and that America. By telling conservative Americans these institutions and corporations, are ours, not yours, they freed conservative America of moral obligations toward them and themselves. By abandoning conservative America, they oblige conservative America to abandon them and seek its own way.
Clarity, Leadership, and Separation
To think of conservative Americas predicament as an opportunity is as hyperbolic as it was for Machiavelli to begin the conclusion of The Prince by observing that in order to know Moses virtue it was necessary that the people of Israel be slaves in Egypt, and to know the greatness of Cyruss spirit that the Persians be oppressed by the Medes, and to know the excellence of Theseus, that the Athenian people be dispersed, so at the present, in order to know the virtue of an Italian spirit it was necessary that Italy reduce herself to the conditions in which she is at present . . .
Machiavellis lesson is that the clarity of situations such as he mentions, and such as is conservative Americas following the 2020 election, is itself valuable. Clarity makes illusions of compromise untenable and points to self-reliant action as the only reasonable path. The people might or might not be, as he wrote, all ready and disposed to follow the flag if only someone were to pick it up. But surely, someone picking up the flag is the only alternative to servitude.
What, in conservative Americas current predicament, might it mean to pick up the flag? Electoral politics remains open to talented, courageous, ambitious leadership. In Florida and South Dakota, Governors Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem have used their powers to make room for ways of life different from and more attractive than that in places wholly dominated by the oligarchy. Texas and Idaho as well attract refugees from such as California and New York by virtue of such differences with life there as their elected officials have been able to maintain. Governmental and corporate pressures on such states to conform to the oligarchys standards, sure to increase, are opportunities for their officials to lead their peoples refusal to conform by explaining why doing this is good, and by personally standing in the way. They may be sure that President Kamala Harris would not order federal troops to shoot at state officials for closing abortion clinics or for excluding men from womens bathrooms.
For more than a generation, a majority of Americans have expressed growing distrust of, and alienation from, the establishment. The establishment, not Donald Trump, made this happen. That disparate majority, in many ways at cross purposes with itself, demands leadership. Pollster Patrick Caddells in-depth study of the American electorate, which he titled We Need Smith, showed how the themes that made it possible for the hero of the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to prevail against the establishment then are even more gripping now and appeal to a bigger majority. Trump was a bad copy of Mr. Smith.
More than ever, an audience beyond the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump hungers for leadership. The oligarchy came together by ever more vigorously denigrating and suppressing these deplorables. Already before the 20th centurys turn, the FBI and some elements in the Army and the Justice Department had concluded that they are somehow criminal, and that preparations should be made to treat them as such. The official position of the administration taking power after the 2020 election is that domestic terrorism from legions of white supremacists is the primary threat facing America. No wonder those so designated for outlawry demand protection.
The path to electoral leadership is straightforward. Whoever would lead the deplorables-plus must explain their cause to friend and foe, make it his own, and grow it by leading successful acts of resistance.
Increasingly, conservative Americans live as if under occupation by a hostile power. Whoever would lead them should emulate Charles de Gaulles 1941 basic rule for la résistance: refrain from individual or spontaneous acts or expressions that produce only martyrs. But join with thousands in what amount to battles to defeat the enemys initiatives, weaken his grip on power, and prepare his defeat. Thus, an aspirant to the presidency in 2024, in the course of debunking the narrative by which the oligarchy seized so much power over America, might lead millions to violate restrictions placed on those who refuse to wear masks. Or, as he pursues legislative and judicial measures to abolish the compulsory racial and gender sensitivity training sessions to which public and private employees are subjected, he might organize employees in a given sector unanimously to stay away from them in protest. They cant all be fired or held back.
Such a persuasive prospective president, or president, could finish the process that, beginning circa 2010, initiated the process of reshaping the Republican Party into something like Caddells Mr. Smith would have personified.
Electoral politics, however, is the easy part. Major corporations, private and semi-private institutions such as schools, publishing houses, and media, are the oligarchys deepest foundations. These having become hostile, conservative Americans have no choice but to populate their own. This is far from impossible.
Sorting ourselves out into congenial groups has been part of Americas DNA since 1630, when Roger Williams led his followers out of Massachusetts to found Providence Plantations. In the 19th century, the Mormons left unfriendly environments to establish their own settlements. Since 1973, Americans who believe in unborn childrens humanity have largely ceased to intermarry with those who do not. Nobody decided this should happen. It is in the logic of diverging cultures.
As American primary and secondary educations dysfunction became painfully apparent, parents of all races have fled the public schools as fast as they could. Businesses have been fleeing the Rust Belt for the Sun Belt for generations. When Democratic governors and mayors used COVID to make life difficult in their jurisdictions, people moved out of them. When Twitters censorship of conservatives became undeniable, Parler added customers by the hundreds of thousands each day. Facebook and Twitters stock lost $50 billion in a week. Much more separation follows from the American peoples diverging cultures.
As conservative America sorts itself out from oligarchys social bases, it may be able to restore something like what had existed under the republic. Effectively, two regimes would have to learn to coexist within our present boundaries. But that may be the best, freest, arrangement possible now for the United States.