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So it has come to this. Our mutinous military has thrown down the gauntlet in anticipation of a Trump candidacy and possible second term. As reported in a CNN article (where else?) the Joint Chiefs discussed what to do following last year’s election should Donald Trump stage a coup. Take heed America, our military is prepared to overthrow the government to save the country. How many times has that scenario been played out in two-bi, third-rate banana republics? Now we are to be reduced to this?
Let me be clear. I did not vote for Trump in 2016. This was largely because I found it difficult to get a clear picture of his policies or intentions. Most of the punditocracy, both left and right, was of no help. Obsessed with their various narratives, they failed to see the real Donald Trump and most of them do not see him but through those faulty lenses to this day. As the lamentable W put it so succinctly, he was “misunderestimated.”
Trump was variously determined to be an ignorant amateur, a disinterested dilettante, or worse, an egomaniac intent on making himself president for life. Four years on, it is clear that none of these narratives have any merit. Only the most obtuse observer could fail to see that Trump had very specific intentions and was able to carry out most of it with great consequence. From undoing the cozy and deluded China relationship or the Iran nuclear bribery deal and shifting our policy to focus on China as the real coming threat, to the move of our embassy to Jerusalem and the astonishing Abraham Accords, we have greatly benefitted. In my lifetime, the two perpetual crises have been the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I never thought I would live to see the end of the Soviet Union and I have. Now the possibility of an end to the Palestinian dilemma is at hand. Another box checked.
On the surface, the CNN report would seem to be the military considering all possibilities. The reality is that this is just a rehash of all the pseudo-rumors that were floated in 2016. There is nothing in Trump’s record or actions to suggest that a coup would ever have been considered. In any case, it would be nigh impossible without the complicity of the military, especially the high command, and if there was anything that Trump was denied during his term, it was the support of the military.
A diversion here for a moment. When I speak of the military in this context, I am not including those in the field or the lower ranks. The loyalty of the military historically has been unparalleled. There is no question that when they swear to “preserve, protect and defend the constitution” it is regarded as a solemn obligation. It is taken very seriously in the service, a point made to me by a two-star of my acquaintance. Yet there seems to be a contingent of the upper-most echelons that now take themselves more seriously than their sworn duty.
It has been argued that the Trump White House was chaotic, a revolving door for qualified appointees. Too often, these appointees seemed to enter the administration with the belief that they would have to rescue a fumbling administration by imposing their own policies on a clueless president in need of firm guidance. The chaos followed from the fact that many of these appointees failed to recognize that Trump had a specific plan and intent. The foolish delusions about Trump inevitably produced friction and thus frequent exits from those appointments.
I do not regret my vote for Trump in 2020. All the turmoil aside, his presidency produced real, lasting results. Yet at the same time, I am not keen to see another Trump administration. Certainly, how Trump handled his time in office and how he conducted his campaign had much to do with his loss in 2020. No, I am not joining those who would overturn the results. That deck is badly stacked and no one knows what would follow if it is ever demonstrated that, indeed, the election was wrongly decided. These are murky waters and any such claim needs to be backed by clear and undeniable evidence.
As I say, I do not regret my vote for Trump. Even though the events of January 6 cast a dark shadow, many questions have been left unanswered or even unasked. Of most importance is to know why Trump thought the election was stolen. Was he simply deluded, or was he badly advised? Did he have reason, real clear reason, to believe that something was wrong? None of this has been addressed and the issue of the integrity of the election has not been thoroughly examined. Too many on the right are all too eager to see Trump gone. But I will point at one small, circumstantial item, that might contribute to a better understanding of his thinking. During the course of the campaign, the validity of the various polls was an issue. In general, that is a matter for another thread. However, one of the pollsters made the observation that, generally, the campaigns have far more accurate polling than what is generally reported. This is especially true of national campaigns. Thus, in the event that contrary results occur, it is just as reasonable to question the election integrity as it is to question the accuracy of the polls. Is this what caused Trump to go on the warpath to try to undo the election? And if so, which was the more dubious result, the polls, or the election?
It seems a foregone conclusion that Trump will run again. I am not eager to see this knowing the chaos that will follow. Who knows what could happen? If there is anything that the Trump presidency did, it was to expose the divisions in the conservative movement. It was bad enough that the Democratic Party showed itself to be the most spoiled children of the universe. Perhaps no better could be expected of them. This time around conservatives need to be as much of one mind as possible or all will be lost.
In Robert Grave’s I, Claudius, the accidental emperor decides at the end of his life to let all the evils bubble to the surface and so downs the poison mushrooms. Perhaps we are at such a juncture, what with a mutinous military, an ethically unbound opposition, and a hopelessly divided Republican party/conservative movement. Mushrooms anyone?Published in