You are likely reading this after the election, and already one of the following three scenarios is unfolding.

One: In a Brexit-like upset, Donald J. Trump mobilizes a coalition of Flyover Country “deplorables,” traditional nonvoters, and those who either lied to or refused to answer pollsters, and is elected President of these United States.

The oligarchs rush for the exits, the stock market plunges, the elites howl loudly, and the hired thugs of the DNC spring into action.  Riots spread through cities on both coasts.

Washington goes into mourning, lobbyists drape themselves in black, and the editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post flee to Canada.  Meanwhile, this writer contemplates the awful prospect of having to explain the actions of a president whose words and deeds and 3 a.m. tweets are quite often inexplicable.

Two: In a verbatim reiteration of the media’s fondest and transparent wish, Trump is subjected to a Goldwater-like trouncing, with only the South (perhaps with the exception of Georgia), Texas (by a hair), and one district in Maine staying in the red column.  Everywhere else, a “blue wave,” as pictured on the cover of the November 7, 2016, issue of National Review, engulfs us like a tsunami.

We hear the hosannas of the media raised to the heavens, rejoicing in a job well done, their fusillades of lies, slime, and half-truths having buried Trump in a mountain of mud.  Ignoring the WikiLeaks revelations—including often hilarious accounts of their own collaboration with the Clinton campaign—and brazenly abandoning even the pretense of objectivity, they claim Trump’s much-derided scalp, exulting in their power.  Meanwhile, the Russians prepare for war, as do the neocons.

Three: It’s a real horse race, with the drip-drip of WikiLeaks revelations taking a toll on Clinton’s October lead and polls tightening as Election Day approaches.  Third-party voters desert both the hapless Gary Johnson and the wacky Jill Stein, and just a few percentage points separate The Donald from Her Majesty on the eve of the election.  Given the built-in advantage of the Democrats in the Electoral College, Mrs. Clinton ekes out a narrow win.

No. 3 is the best—and worst—option, as far as the country is concerned.  It’s the best because it gives the populist faction of the GOP some credibility as the party’s rightful inheritors and lays the foundations for a revitalized rightism that divorces itself from neoconservatism.  Not to mention, it saves me from the prospect of having my fellow libertarians gloatingly tweet “I told you so” after President Trump invades Uzbekistan because its prime minister called him a loser.

But it’s also the worst because it leaves us not just divided but on the brink of civil war.  Trump will continue to say the election is “rigged,” and millions will consider the incoming administration to be illegitimate.  Of course, this will be true in our No. 2 scenario as well, but the closeness of the election—and Trump’s unwillingness to concede—will give the intransigents momentum.  Hillary Clinton will preside over a nation seething with insurrectionist impulses, and the “resentment” our elites invariably describe as “virulent” will guarantee that we’ll live, for the next four years, in “interesting times,” as that Chinese fortune-cookie proverb would have it.

I’m inclined to predict No. 3, although I fear No. 2 is just as likely.  In either case, the fight with the GOP Establishment and their allies in the media and the Democratic administration will be just as vicious and unending.  Even under No. 1, this fight will draw buckets of blood.  A Trump administration faces a great disadvantage: almost no congressional allies, and a GOP leadership universally hostile.  The fact that there is no real difference between the two parties—that they are, in effect, one party—would become manifest as Congress unites against President Trump’s program and cries of “Impeach him!” are heard in the corridors of power.  Indeed, if No. 1 comes to pass, the impeachment campaign will begin before he takes the oath of office.

So any way you put it, we are a nation divided into two irreconcilable camps: the elites and their captive constituencies versus the rest of us.  Two nations, really, with mutually exclusive mores, two cultures sitting side by side but increasingly unable to coexist.

Can we unite as a nation?  The only circumstance that will bring us together is adversity: war, economic depression, or some combination of the two.  This is the likeliest future; we are in for a new cold war with Russia if Hillary takes the White House.  And the bubble created by the Fed’s pump-priming is bound to burst.  So no matter who wins the election, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

On the bright side, however, the Trump phenomenon proves that the American people haven’t been turned into compliant eunuchs, and the spirit of rebellion is alive and well.  Indeed, it’s much stronger and more pervasive than any of us pessimistic paleos ever dared imagine.      


[Image credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Hillary Clinton)]