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America, Flashing Red

Oh, did you hear the news today?
They say the danger’s gone away
But I can see the fires still alight
They’re burning into the night
–Genesis, “Land of Confusion” (1986)

Amid all the excited punditry about the Party’s victory in Virginia’s elections and near-victory in New Jersey, there has been little focus on the true significance of what just happened. Namely, the dictator’s coalition, which falls short of half the American electorate by just a few percentage points, remains unified in its rages and its hatreds, while the anti-dictator coalition, just a few percentage points more than half of the electorate, is fragile and can be splintered just enough to give the Party crucial, legitimately democratic victories, with the right kind of targeted appeal in the right circumstances. And that’s because a significant number of non-followers of the dictator refuse to understand that the Party has shed its long, republican history to become by instinct and training, from top to bottom, a totalitarian entity, which follows the Leader without question or demur.

Given the fact that the Party has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the dictator, it doesn’t matter if it’s true, as an anonymous former colleague of Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin asserts in a Washington Post article, that the newbie politician doesn’t favor the dictator personally. The only thing that matters is that, as this unnamed source says, “I’ve talked to so many people who said, ‘I can’t believe Glenn’s in bed with [the dictator’s supporters]. Well, you can’t get the nomination otherwise.” That might as well be the motto of every Party officeholder with a national profile who isn’t an indisputable toady of the dictator. The very, very few who openly stand in defiance will almost certainly be purged from the Party in next year’s primary elections (or 2024, in Mitt Romney’s case).

Events like Tuesday’s hint at the shape of the regime the dictator will try to impose if and when he, or a more genial-seeming successor, returns to power. That is, the regime and the Party may well be popular enough to risk allowing relatively free and fair lower level elections, in selected locales, for “neighborly” figures like Youngkin to compete in and win, lending the regime a crucial veneer of democratic legitimacy. At the presidential level, of course, neither the Party nor its Leader can tolerate the risk of a repeat of 2020, which is why Party officials in the state legislatures and the judiciary have been working so hard to suppress the vote by every creative, quasi-legitimate means they can think of. In the end, though, no amount of such measures to “restore the confidence” of the dictator’s followers in democracy will ever be enough to satisfy the dictator himself. He has made it clear, by threatening to withhold his mob’s support from the Party in ’22 and ’24, that the American electoral system must undergo radical reform to extinguish the possibility that the wrong people will ever win an election again. It is this root-and-branch rejection of democracy by the Leader and his followers alike that defines the true essence of today’s Party.

In short, however much the Party may choose to present itself to the electorate in an all-smiles guise, while some semblance of democracy remains, the threat, and the reality, of the jackboot are never far away.

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