The votes were barely counted before US President Donald Trump fired his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and began to prepare a showdown with the Deep State’s effort to dethrone him. As Patrick Buchanan describes the stakes:
‘For two years, Trump has been under a cloud of unproven allegations and suspicion that he and top campaign officials colluded with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to thieve and publish the emails of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
‘It is past time for Mueller to prove these charges or concede he has a busted flush, wrap up his investigation and go home.
‘And now, in T.S. Eliot’s words, Trump appears to have found “the strength to force the moment to its crisis.”
‘His attitude toward Mueller’s probe is taking on the aspect of Andrew Jackson’s attitude toward Nicholas Biddle’s Second Bank of the United States: It’s “trying to kill me, but I will kill it.”’
But oh wait – the votes aren’t counted yet. In Arizona and, more dangerously, in Florida votes from Democratic precincts seemingly have appeared out of thin air to deny the Republicans additional seats in the Senate. (The governors’ races in Florida and Georgia drag on as well, with Trump mockingly suggesting it’s the Russians’ fault.) In any US election now the side favoring the historic American nation must win big enough to overcome the growing, built-in advantage of an unknown number of illegal votes cast by non-citizens. But even that’s not enough of a handicap, so the Evil Party of Certified Victims also gets to trot out for days and even weeks after election day however many provisional ballots, mail-in ballots, absentee ballots, and any other verkackte concoctions they can. It’s the business end of multiplying measures supposedly designed to “increase voter participation,” like automatic registration, same-day registration, online registration, and at-home voting, the cumulative impact (and no doubt intent) of which is not-quite knowing who’s voting or how often – an old tradition of the Democratic Party. Above all, no ballot security measures can be implemented to require proof of citizenship to vote, as that clearly would be “voter suppression” and, it hardly needs to be added, racist (though demanding documentation of citizenship seems to work just fine in Mexico).
Trimming Trump’s Senate advantage might be the least of his worries, though. Since he took office it’s been clear that large parts of the Executive Branch – nominally under his total control – are instead part of the so-called “Resistance” dedicated to removing him. Most dangerously, this includes much of the Department of Justice and the intelligence agencies. (One can almost hear an audible sigh of relief from the rogues’ gallery of criminal conspirators behind the phony Russiagate collusion story cooked up in the bowels of the US-UK Deep State with the aim of overturning the 2016 election. Now, after two years of the GOP’s dithering in the area of investigations and hearings relevant to how the Trump campaign was put under politically motivated surveillance, those peccadilloes will be forever buried.) The Resistance also includes most of the judiciary, which can be counted on immediately to block any use of Trump’s Executive authority individual judges don’t like, even uses within his plenary Constitutional power, like command of the armed forces (for defending the US? No!) or immigration and border enforcement. Finally, a Senate Democratic block has existed in what is erroneously referred to as the filibuster, with which the GOP majority could dispense with but won’t.
Now, however, with House of Representatives flipped, we are about to see the consolidation in all three branches of what amounts to a rival government under incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Gathering all resistance forces to herself Sauron-like as the focus of rival authority to Trump, she will hope first to render him powerless, then eliminate him. Accordingly, we can be sure that, both with the media’s active complicity and via direct leaks, the House will receive a steady stream of confidential, politically valuable information from within the administration; collusion with the courts to further nullify Trump’s actions will be standard operating procedure.
It’s important to understand that the division of power confronting America in January 2019 will not be the usual circumstance of government divided on a partisan basis, “checks and balances,” “gridlock,” and all that sort of thing familiar from our history but the next phase of a second American civil war (or third, if we count Patriots vs. Loyalists during the War for Independence). Pelosi will lead the next revolutionary phase in which one part of the apparatus of government becomes what Alexander Shtromas called “the Second Pivot,” an alternative, opposing source of official power.
(Contrary to the Marxist myth, revolutions happen not when “The People” rise up spontaneously in righteous anger but when some part of the ruling establishment defects to the revolt (or “Resistance”) and becomes the new conferrer of legitimacy. There are obvious historical examples: Parliament in the English Civil War, the Third Estate’s declaring itself the National Assembly of France, the Petrograd Soviet’s coup against the Provisional Government, Boris Yeltsin’s Russian government when Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet government was under threat of the State Committee on the State of Emergency (itself an aspiring second pivot that failed), and the communist cabals in the various Warsaw Pact countries that ousted little Brezhnevs and installed little Gorbachevs.)
In seeking to overthrow the constitutionally elected president who was himself an insurgent against the cozy duopoly in Washington, it might seem the Democrats and their GOP “Never Trump” fellow travelers are actually the counterrevolutionaries against the populist “revolution” two years ago. However true that observation might be in a mechanical sense, it fails to encompass the anti-American, revolutionary – indeed, Leninist – substance of the party that has just captured the House.
Like the bush-league Bolshies they are, the Democrats have already dropped the sotto voce tone they adopted during the closing weeks of the campaign concerning impeaching Trump and now are “all-in” to get rid of him. In doing so, not only can they guarantee the perpetual dominance of their replacement voting bloc, the GOP establishment can purge the Republican party of Trump populism and – dare we say the word! – nationalism once and for all while happily settling in as a permanent, pampered minority with a share of the spoils.
An early test will be if Trump can resist calls for acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from the Mueller probe as Sessions had, leaving in charge Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein – the fox watching the henhouse. Mueller is widely expected to wrap up before the end of the year and he’ll look for some additional scalps to hang to the wall to justify his existence. But the Democrats, now that they’ve taken the House, are more anxious to get on to other things that they can use to justify impeachment. This will of course not be found in any phony Russian collusion (the Democrats will play out the hand, just to keep their base on the edge of hysteria) but the real meat and potatoes will be elsewhere: Trump’s tax returns and his business life back in New York. Contrary to most assurances that a Republican Senate guarantees Trump’s survival, take note that it was Richard Nixon’s own party that threw him to the wolves.
In two months the Second Pivot under Pelosi will rapidly become a state-within-a-state, a Petrograd Soviet at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, with a Provisional Government – alas, that’s all it is – headed by Trump at the other end. Hopefully the rivalry between them will not turn out as bloody as the one in Russia a century ago. But in terms of the gulf in values and identity that separates the two sides, it is no less of another phase of a civil war, a cold one – for the time being.
In any case, the country those of us of middle age grew up in is gone. The question now is what comes next: consolidation of a restored American order or some sort of collapse?