Both clickbaity and hard to understand, right? You'll get it in a moment.
While I want to focus on Donald Trump this week, consider his name a placeholder for nearly anybody the GOP (or Freedom Party, or American Lions, or whatever they wind up calling themselves) fields in the next election. Trump's chances of winning back the presidency are shrinking as we speak, but they are not zero and they should not be dismissed. Earlier I talked about the very real dangers we face with another Biden victory–or anyone like him–but those dangers pale in comparison to the immediate threat another Trump presidency poses to literally millions of people.
You might notice that we're in a two-party system and I think both parties are going to ruin the country. That's not a mistake. There is no way forward in the United States as we stand; something has got to change or we will tear ourselves apart. How we go about doing that is for people more politically-minded than me, but how we protect ourselves and our people while that happens is right up my alley. So today let's talk about the threats that Trump and his ilk pose, the shape those threats may take, and what we might do to prepare for those threats.
It's 2024 and I Want Off This Ride
The most recent polling tends to show a generic republican losing to a generic democrat in 2024. I think that's next to meaningless, given the current field–I think a generic dem probably does better than Biden, and a generic Republican probably does worse than Trump, with his polling record–but I say this to set the stage: Trump may very well lose in 2024. The remaining Koch brother and his billions has come out against a Trump candidacy. If DeSantis runs, he stands a fair chance (but not great) of dethroning Trump in the primary. And there's always the outside possibility that Trump is actually indicted and barred from running–not that he'll ever see a cell, or even necessarily stop campaigning.
The road to Trump does not end with the primaries, or the general election. If he loses the primary, he'd probably launch as an independent and foil the GOP candidate, giving us Biden or whomever with the dems for another four years. Which is definitely not the worst case scenario. But, Trump has a decent record of beating the odds, and I don't think a loss for him means we're in the clear, even if we do get to eat a heaping bowl of schadenfreude. The real problem we face is two-fold, and we're already feeling the effects. If you don't remember, in 2012 our worst nightmare was Mitt Romney, who looks positively pleasant right now. In just four years we went from that overpriced haircut to Trump, pushing for a Muslim ban and a border wall. With this election cycle, he promises to do much worse.
Last December, after it was revealed that Twitter employees had contact with previous administrations and politicians about how to handle certain pieces of breaking news–like Hunter Biden's laptop–Trump truthed (which will never not be funny) that this was a fraud that called for the suspension of all rules, including the Constitution. Kind of a big deal, that. If people talking about how to handle a scandal is enough for Trump to suspend the Constitution, he'll have grounds to do so on day 1. He has also re-truthed (again, I can't help it, it's too good) a post that said there are 80 million Americans who will go to war for Trump if he is indicted, explicitly stating they will physically fight and are "Locked and LOADED."
These people aren't going away, even if Trump does. The temperature on his particular fever may cool, but some of these folks will find other figureheads, other movements, or simply remain committed to a MAGA/Q ideology that demonizes virtually everyone who is not like them. A DeSantis candidacy and presidency will have to march to a similar beat if he wants to win. Which brings me to the last Trump-related item. This video is pretty grossly anti-Trans, so skip over this if you think it may be harmful to you. Suffice it to say, Trump has embraced the DeSantis-style hard line against the Trans community.
The video ends on its most disconcerting note: Trump says he will pursue charging teachers who suggests that students "could be trapped in the wrong body" with civil rights violations and discrimination. We know this will be applied broadly, and will likely shortly spread to any expression of Queer identity. How this looks practically is being played out in Florida as we speak, with shelves of elementary schools being cleared of any literature that includes discussion of racial or Queer identities that the state frowns upon. This is the federalization of a discourse that we are already familiar with, and where it is on the ground right now is far closer to criminalization and extermination than the pursuit of doctors performing gender affirming care. And it will catch up at the federal level if given the chance.
Preparing for the Longest Year
I won't encourage voting, though even I might cast a ballot after seeing Trump's face for an entire election cycle. But I'm not talking about political solutions on here, as those are mostly depressing. I want to recommend a few alternatives, instead.
- Unplug. Divest from the news cycle that is partly to blame for the mess we're in. Don't click on links about the election, or don't bother with the news at all. Your mental energy is needed elsewhere.
- Check up on your preps. We haven't talked about the practical stuff much lately, and it's always good to review. Is your pantry full of nearly-expired food? (Probably not, as canned food will last past the expiration pretty safely if properly stored). Does your stored water need treatment? (Probably, actually.) Is your bugout bag loaded with the appropriate seasonal equipment? The simple work of checking and reviewing your preps is a pretty good calming task, and it's necessary for your preps to work as well as they ought.
- Check in on your neighbors. I find this to be the easiest thing around stressful times, as our friends and neighbors are, thankfully, mostly on the same side of the political spectrum. If you're stressed, they're probably stressed. They may not need or want anything, but asking paves a lot of ground.
- Contribute to a mutual aid organization. It doesn't have to be all of them, it doesn't have to be all the time. But do a little something. Buy socks and hygiene kits for houseless folks, or donate to a local fund. Remember that it doesn't have to be a big, consistent thing, nor does "mutual aid" have to be in the name of whatever you're doing. If someone you know is asking for money for gender affirming care, donate. That can be mutual aid, too. The point is not that it be difficult–it's that it not be done in the spirit of capital or some kind of sense of superiority.
There are little things, and they're nothing new. They will not stem the tide of fascism. But they are concrete actions, they are doable on an individual level, and they will help. I'll remind you to build community and learn new skills next time (oops).