Saturday, September 25, 2021


Robert Kagan expects chaos in 2024:
The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves....

First, Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for president in 2024....

Second, Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by whatever means necessary....

Meanwhile, the amateurish “stop the steal” efforts of 2020 have given way to an organized nationwide campaign to ensure that Trump and his supporters will have the control over state and local election officials that they lacked in 2020. Those recalcitrant Republican state officials who effectively saved the country from calamity by refusing to falsely declare fraud or to “find” more votes for Trump are being systematically removed or hounded from office.... As of this spring, Republicans have proposed or passed measures in at least 16 states that would shift certain election authorities from the purview of the governor, secretary of state or other executive-branch officers to the legislature. An Arizona bill flatly states that the legislature may “revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election” by a simple majority vote....

The stage is thus being set for chaos.
Or it might not happen, which doesn't mean we should feel relieved.

I'm gloomy about 2022 and 2024. I know that many of you believe Democrats will find a way to pass their big bills this year, and that the pandemic will loosen its grip by 2022, which will give the party a decent chance of holding the House and the Senate and give Joe Biden solid approval numbers again going into 2024. All that could happen. But I worry that Democrats won't get anything passed, and even if they do, there won't be instant gratitude for what they've accomplished, just as there wasn't gratitude for Obamacare at first. I think Democratic majorities are at serious risk in the House and Senate in 2022. And meanwhile, the press has now created a stereotype of Biden as an Oval Office Dukakis, while Kamala Harris is deemed an "unlikable" woman, the new Hillary Clinton.

So I worry that any Republican coud win the presidency legitimately in 2024, even Donald Trump.

This isn't inevitable, obviously. Even if Democrats have a tough 2022, Biden could win in 2024 as Bill Clinton did in 1996 and Barack Obama did in 2012.

And maybe none of these contests will be close enough to trigger the election theft mechanisms the GOP is putting in place. But they'll be available to the Republicans in the future.

Imagine that Trump doesn't run and Ron DeSantis wins Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin on his way to an easy victory. Or imagine that Trump is the nominee, but Biden is so weakened that Trump wins without subterfuge. Conventional wisdom will say the anticipated crisis never happened, so we we were worried for no reason.

But the tools will still be in place to keep Republicans in power. The real risk would be in 2026, 2028, and beyond. We shouldn't believe that we were worried for nothing if theres no crisis in 2024. But we'll be that the worriers were silly people who shouldn't be taken seriously.

I think the next two election cycles will go very badly for Democrats. But after that, in reaction to Republican rule, the public will be ready for a change. And that's when these mechanisms will really be dangerous.

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