The “Flight 93 Election”

 

Way back in 2016, before we knew for sure that the Obama administration had weaponized the Department of Justice and was using it to tamper with an election, and ultimately to undermine an incoming administration, the upcoming presidential election was described by some as a “Flight 93 election.” Flight 93, of course, is the plane that was brought down in a field on 9/11 by a group of heroic passengers who were determined not to let Islamic terrorists fly the plane into a building.

The idea is pretty simple: some believed that it was crucial that we win in 2016 because another four years of Democratic control could put the nation on an irreversible trajectory to ruin. The analogy with Flight 93 has to do both with the desperation of the situation and with the slim hope for success. In the event, the passengers of Flight 93 died as heroes but died nonetheless. America was more fortunate in 2016: we gambled on a Republican candidate about whom a great many of us were skeptical, and we won more than many of us expected or even hoped.

In recent years I’ve heard the phrase “Flight 93 election” casually dismissed in a disparaging tone as if it were a discredited idea. I don’t understand why people would believe that. We won in 2016. We don’t know what would have happened had we lost, but it seems reasonable to assume that the corruption we are just now coming to appreciate, corruption in our intelligence and federal law enforcement institutions, would have been swept under the rug by a Clinton administration; swept under the rug, and then quietly mobilized by that famously corrupt woman to further her boundless political ambitions.

Far from being discredited, the idea of a Flight 93 election, of an election on which far too much rides and for which extraordinary risks are justified, seems to be supported by subsequent revelations, including the unfolding chaos we’ve witnessed in the past few weeks and the abuses of power (though, notably, not of federal power) we’ve seen across the nation during the recent epidemic.

We should feel free to describe 2020 as another Flight 93 election and to do so un-ironically. It shouldn’t be necessary; we should have a nation with two parties both committed to the survival of America as America, and not as some progressive dream of an anarcho-socialist identitarian utopia. Unfortunately, that isn’t our situation. So it’s our job to retain control of the cockpit.

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Henry Racette: It shouldn’t be necessary; we should have a nation with two parties both committed to the survival of America as America, and not as some progressive dream of a anarcho-socialist identitarian utopia.

    We used to have Democrats who truly loved our country, who even risked their lives defending it.  They simply believed government had more of an active role in everyday life, and many who supported the military had ships and submarines named after them (John Stennis, L. Mendel Rivers, Sam Nunn . . . heck, even Jimmy Carter).

    Modern Democrats loathe the United States.  They hate America as founded, which trashes the progress made by war and amendments.  I would argue they don’t want America to survive; they believe completely destroying our country will make it easier to rebuild it in the image they have in their minds.  Just look at the Utopia Chavez and Maduro created after Venezuela was razed . . .

    • #1
  2. Lockdowns are Precious Inactive
    Lockdowns are Precious
    @Pseudodionysius

    Who is Susan Anton?

    • #2
  3. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Lockdowns are Precious (View Comment):

    Who is Susan Anton?

    Haven’t we already done this?  If you don’t know, you are too young.

     

    • #3
  4. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    If there’s anything off about the Flight ‘93 analogy, wouldn’t it be that, in this case, half (or at least a lot) of the passengers are actually trying to thwart the rush on the cockpit? 

    • #4
  5. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    If there’s anything off about the Flight ‘93 analogy, wouldn’t it be that, in this case, half (or at least a lot) of the passengers are actually trying to thwart the rush on the cockpit?

    It’s far from a perfect analogy.

    But I think most of the passengers aren’t so much trying to prevent anything, but rather simply asleep, with their feet stuck out in the aisle.

    • #5
  6. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    I always detested that analogy. Those people gave their lives to stop that plane. No election can compare to it.

    • #6
  7. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I always detested that analogy. Those people gave their lives to stop that plane. No election can compare to it.

    And yet it is hard to imagine a more pertinent analogy that is not also a tragedy, given what is at stake. 

    • #7
  8. Pete EE Member
    Pete EE
    @PeteEE

    “In the event, the passengers of Flight 93 died as heroes, but died nonetheless.”
    The passengers did not fail heroically. They succeeded. The plane was not used as a missile against congress.

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I guess that what is most concerning to me is that this next election, and those upcoming within the forseeable future, may accurately be described as “Flight 93” elections.  This is what extreme partisanship has wrought.

    • #9
  10. Pete EE Member
    Pete EE
    @PeteEE
    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I guess that what is most concerning to me is that this next election, and those upcoming within the forseeable future, may accurately be described as “Flight 93” elections. This is what extreme partisanship has wrought.

    I agree with half of this sentiment.

    I think that the problem is the extreme radicalization of the Democratic Party.

    • #11
  12. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I guess that what is most concerning to me is that this next election, and those upcoming within the forseeable future, may accurately be described as “Flight 93” elections. This is what extreme partisanship has wrought.

    I agree with half of this sentiment.

    I think that the problem is the extreme radicalization of the Democratic Party.

    I believe that is exactly true.

    • #12
  13. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Pete EE (View Comment):

    “In the event, the passengers of Flight 93 died as heroes, but died nonetheless.”
    The passengers did not fail heroically. They succeeded. The plane was not used as a missile against congress.

    Agreed. Our comments do not contradict each other.

    • #13
  14. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Whoever wins the next election, millions of people will declare that it is the end of America.  Just like the last several and the next several.    The office of the president should not have so much power that people think life isn’t worth living if their side loses.

    • #14
  15. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Whoever wins the next election, millions of people will declare that it is the end of America. Just like the last several and the next several. The office of the president should not have so much power that people think life isn’t worth living if their side loses.

    Agreed. However, I think it’s worth pointing out that, while both left and right may believe that, one side has a much greater reason for believing it than does the other.

    There’s a difference between not wanting things to change too much, on the one hand, and wanting things to change a great deal, and quickly, on the other. It’s pretty hard to make a compelling case that America is being wrecked because we’re delaying the imposition of [pick your radical new program] by a few years due to a Republican administration or Congress. That only gains traction on the left because progressives are relentless and eternally dissatisfied, and perceive any compromise as a disaster.

     

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Whoever wins the next election, millions of people will declare that it is the end of America. Just like the last several and the next several. The office of the president should not have so much power that people think life isn’t worth living if their side loses.

    The same goes for the Supreme Court.  Heck, SCOTUS nominees used to not even testify.  Their resumes were sent to the Senate where they were read and the candidate voted on.  Way back when, most SCOTUS decisions were delegated to the back pages of the newspaper.

    Now, every nomination hearing is a massive partisan spectacle and SCOTUS decisions affect even the tiniest aspect of our lives.  I’d say our Federal government is tyrannical regardless of who’s in charge because “When people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

    • #16
  17. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    I agree, Donald Trump and his supporters are like a bunch of terrorist flying our nation into the ground determined to destroy us all, and we need to take back control of our country from them before it is too late. We can not survive four more years of this hot mess. 

    We need to make America great again instead of this shithole country we have become under the leadership of Donald Trump and the Republican party.

    And I know people here look at Joe Bidden and see his various flaws but we have to realize that God works through imperfect people, and that he really is like Kind David or Cirus the Great.

     

    • #17
  18. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge
    Jeff Hawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    Lockdowns are Precious (View Comment):

    Who is Susan Anton?

    Cannonball Run II has its flaws, she’s not one of them

    • #18
  19. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I always detested that analogy. Those people gave their lives to stop that plane. No election can compare to it.

    November 1860?

    • #19
  20. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Stad (View Comment):
    The same goes for the Supreme Court. Heck, SCOTUS nominees used to not even testify. Their resumes were sent to the Senate where they were read and the candidate voted on. Way back when, most SCOTUS decisions were delegated to the back pages of the newspaper.

    I can’t find it right now, but some years back somebody posted a picture of the front page of the New York Times the day in the 1960s that a Supreme Court Justice was nominated.  The story was a small headline, below the fold.

     

    • #20
  21. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Stad (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Whoever wins the next election, millions of people will declare that it is the end of America. Just like the last several and the next several. The office of the president should not have so much power that people think life isn’t worth living if their side loses.

    The same goes for the Supreme Court. Heck, SCOTUS nominees used to not even testify. Their resumes were sent to the Senate where they were read and the candidate voted on. Way back when, most SCOTUS decisions were delegated to the back pages of the newspaper.

    Now, every nomination hearing is a massive partisan spectacle and SCOTUS decisions affect even the tiniest aspect of our lives. I’d say our Federal government is tyrannical regardless of who’s in charge because “When people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

    Yes, but the “Government” refers to the eternal bureaucracy that some of us call  “The Deep State” and others call, the Administrative State.  It is made up of hundreds of thousands of self interested parties whose interest is largely in their own careers and only incidentally on the public they are alleged to serve.  Many are part of the “revolving door” of government employees and lobbyists who use their knowledge to enrich themselves at our expense.

    • #21
  22. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    I agree, Donald Trump and his supporters are like a bunch of terrorist flying our nation into the ground determined to destroy us all, and we need to take back control of our country from them before it is too late. We can not survive four more years of this hot mess.

    We need to make America great again instead of this

    Editor’s Note:

    Automatically redacted for Code of Conduct violation: Obscenities and vulgarities.

    If you are the author, you can edit this and remove the offending word. This is an automatic filter and does not reflect editorial judgment.

    country we have become under the leadership of Donald Trump and the Republican party.

    And I know people here look at Joe Bidden and see his various flaws but we have to realize that God works through imperfect people, and that he really is like Kind David or Cirus the Great.

     

    Wow, just wow.

    • #22
  23. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    I agree, Donald Trump and his supporters are like a bunch of terrorist flying our nation into the ground determined to destroy us all, and we need to take back control of our country from them before it is too late. We can not survive four more years of this hot mess.

    We need to make America great again instead of this

    Editor’s Note:

    Automatically redacted for Code of Conduct violation: Obscenities and vulgarities.

    If you are the author, you can edit this and remove the offending word. This is an automatic filter and does not reflect editorial judgment.

    country we have become under the leadership of Donald Trump and the Republican party.

    And I know people here look at Joe Bidden and see his various flaws but we have to realize that God works through imperfect people, and that he really is like Kind David or Cirus the Great.

     

    I think there is a general tendency of people on the left to mistake the scale of things. I’ve never come up with a better way of expressing this idea than that, although the deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic quip captures it pretty well. It’s the tendency that lets them look at Christianity and Islam and decide that the former is a threat to everything decent, whereas the latter is a benign and misunderstood tradition. It’s the weird sense they have that “capitalism” (by which they really mean free markets) is a failure and socialism our salvation, despite the fact that the evidence to the contrary is insurmountable.

    The conclusions of people so afflicted rarely survive scrutiny, which is why they tend to be vague and apoplectic and, often, laced with obscenity in order to communicate the sincerity, if not the perspicacity, wit, or judgment, of the speaker.

    • #23
  24. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge
    Jeff Hawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    I bought into the Flight 93 prisoner of the moment thinking because I saw how much the Left wanted to use the levers of power to crush the right.  It was the spying, the IRS, the “othering” of any political opposition.

    I think it short sighted, but the problem is, once the apparatus is set up, when Republicans take power they don’t dismantle it completely. Donald Trump can tweet “drain the swamp” until his fingers are numb but if he puts in people who would rather try and save a corrupt institution like the FBI rather than completely gut it to see if the bones are worth keeping, we’re going to have Flight 93’s from here on out.

    The eight years of Obama changed a lot of my views because I watched as bad things were done in the name of “doing good” and realized our news apparatus had a vested interest in being part of the winning team. Mid-level bureaucrats in the midwest don’t just all of a sudden threaten their pension after decades of service to go after political enemies unless they know they’ll be protected.  Court orders don’t just happen to get unsealed.  Obama said it himself in that we concentrate too much on what the government can’t do versus what they can do.

    When you start listening to “all the good government can do” types of speeches, you have to listen to what’s not being said, and in order for that kind of power to do good, the obstruction has to be removed.  Now the Left views government as the agent of removing said obstruction. The Fairness Doctrine, overturning Citizens United, revealing donor lists for thee but not for me, etc. 

    We’re two generations past the Clintons just wanting to expand some social programs, and the Frankfurt School narratives are so strong in this current crop of people raised on Zinn and Chomsky.

    • #24
  25. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    I agree, Donald Trump and his supporters are like a bunch of terrorist flying our nation into the ground determined to destroy us all, and we need to take back control of our country from them before it is too late. We can not survive four more years of this hot mess.

    We need to make America great again instead of this

    Editor’s Note:

    Automatically redacted for Code of Conduct violation: Obscenities and vulgarities.

    If you are the author, you can edit this and remove the offending word. This is an automatic filter and does not reflect editorial judgment.

    country we have become under the leadership of Donald Trump and the Republican party.

    And I know people here look at Joe Bidden and see his various flaws but we have to realize that God works through imperfect people, and that he really is like Kind David or Cirus the Great.

    If Joe Biden was sent by God, we really are in  bad shape.

    I also have to wonder why you would bother to express an opinion in which you analogize a considerable number of your readers to terrorists.  I can only assume that it’s simply to be mean-spirited since that type of “reasoning” isn’t going to persuade anyone here.

    • #25
  26. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Sebastian Haffner wrote an interesting memoir of life in Germany between the wars.  In the late 1920s, he says, he and his friends were very concerned about the rise of the Nazis, but were comforted by the presence in government of Gustav Stresemann, who they viewed as a sane and influential figure. It was comforting to see Stresseman walking through the public parks, admiring the flowers.

    As long as Stresemann was there, we felt more or less sure that (the Nazis) would be held in check. We moved among them with the same unconcern with which visitors to a modern cageless zoo walk past the beasts of prey, confident that its ditches and hedges have been carefully calculated.

    In 1929, a newspaper headline announced that Stresemann had died.

    As we read it, we were seized with icy terror. Who was there now to tame the beasts?

    Donald Trump is a very different kind of man from Gustav Stresseman…it is difficult to picture him walking through the parks and admiring the flowers…but Haffner’s question also applies today.  If Trump is displaced by a Democrat, then:

    Who would there now be to tame the beasts?

    Today’s ‘progressive’ Left shows a more than casual affinity to the tactics of the Nazis and of other totalitarian movements, and the supine attitude (ranging to active encouragement) of so many leaders in academia, media, and business mirrors the behavior of many Weimar officials.

    • #26
  27. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Sebastian Haffner wrote an interesting memoir of life in Germany between the wars. In the late 1920s, he says, he and his friends were very concerned about the rise of the Nazis, but were comforted by the presence in government of Gustav Stresemann, who they viewed as a sane and influential figure. It was comforting to see Stresseman walking through the public parks, admiring the flowers.

    As long as Stresemann was there, we felt more or less sure that (the Nazis) would be held in check. We moved among them with the same unconcern with which visitors to a modern cageless zoo walk past the beasts of prey, confident that its ditches and hedges have been carefully calculated.

    In 1929, a newspaper headline announced that Stresemann had died.

    As we read it, we were seized with icy terror. Who was there now to tame the beasts?

    Donald Trump is a very different kind of man from Gustav Stresseman…it is difficult to picture him walking through the parks and admiring the flowers…but Haffner’s question also applies today. If Trump is displaced by a Democrat, then:

    Who would there now be to tame the beasts?

    Today’s ‘progressive’ Left shows a more than casual affinity to the tactics of the Nazis and of other totalitarian movements, and the supine attitude (ranging to active encouragement) of so many leaders in academia, media, and business mirrors the behavior of many Weimar officials.

    Very good analogy.  VD Hansen has described Trump as “a tragic figure” and I think he means that in the same way Stesemann was tragic.  If Trump loses, or even after he finishes his second term, forces are going to be unleashed that the TDS crew has no concept of.

    • #27
  28. ape2ag Member
    ape2ag
    @ape2ag

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Whoever wins the next election, millions of people will declare that it is the end of America. Just like the last several and the next several. The office of the president should not have so much power that people think life isn’t worth living if their side loses.

    Agreed. However, I think it’s worth pointing out that, while both left and right may believe that, one side has a much greater reason for believing it than does the other.

    There’s a difference between not wanting things to change too much, on the one hand, and wanting things to change a great deal, and quickly, on the other. It’s pretty hard to make a compelling case that America is being wrecked because we’re delaying the imposition of [pick your radical new program] by a few years due to a Republican administration or Congress. That only gains traction on the left because progressives are relentless and eternally dissatisfied, and perceive any compromise as a disaster.

     

    Christopher Caldwell talks about 2 constitutions.  While the last 50 years have seen the progressive implementation of the civil rights constitution, our political rhetoric still adheres to the 1789 Constitution.  Conservatives who adhere to the original Constitution have finally caught on, at this late stage in the game and have begun to push back.  But the left is apoplectic at any backsliding of their constitutional “progress.”  The left is unable to envision America outside of the framework of civil rights.  Anything else is “unamerican” or “unconstitutional” to them.  The two constitutions are completely incompatible.  I see no compromise or middle ground.  One constitution will win, and one will lose.  That’s why both sides have an apocalyptic view of any political loss.  Both sides are right.

    • #28
  29. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    I agree, Donald Trump and his supporters are like a bunch of terrorist flying our nation into the ground determined to destroy us all, and we need to take back control of our country from them before it is too late. We can not survive four more years of this hot mess.

    We need to make America great again instead of this

    Editor’s Note:

    Automatically redacted for Code of Conduct violation: Obscenities and vulgarities.

    If you are the author, you can edit this and remove the offending word. This is an automatic filter and does not reflect editorial judgment.

    country we have become under the leadership of Donald Trump and the Republican party.

    And I know people here look at Joe Bidden and see his various flaws but we have to realize that God works through imperfect people, and that he really is like Kind David or Cirus the Great.

    Oh, Valiuth. I’ve missed you so.

    I’m afraid I disagree. In fact, as Henry pointed out that while the analogy is generally imperfect, yours is just, well, loopy. I’m glad you agree that we ought to make America great again. Unfortunately not everyone in our country shares this view. Whether or not they’d keep the name doesn’t concern me; they feel the need destroy the most basic underpinnings of the mechanism. The borders do not make this country and even the cast is always changing. There is something else that gives this place its spirit.

    They needn’t be death cultists to be dangerous, they don’t even need to have a long trail of destruction in their wake to be dangerous. Insofar as I can see any relevance to your revised analogy (I’m speaking particularly about the idea that we are running things into the ground), it’s that fighting your enemy to the death is preferable to letting him have his way with your wife and children while you still draw breath. You’ll have to forgive my patriarchal language.

    But I wholeheartedly agree that God works through imperfect people.

    • #29
  30. Matt Upton Inactive
    Matt Upton
    @MattUpton

    Is every presidential election going to be this from here on out? I voted 3rd party in 2016 and will likely vote Trump in 2020 out of jaded resignation. The problem I have with the analogy isn’t the party boosterism. I still believe the country is better off with Republicans in charge. The problem is that the analogy makes internal party criticism akin to treason. 

    We complained about RINO squishes for years, and now Trump, whose main governing concern is his own ego, is the guy we have to defend for the good of the country? 

    • #30
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