A friend of mine asked, "What if Trump loses and doesn’t accept the election results? Would you then support military action to remove him from office or what would you propose happen at that point? Given his rhetoric about mail-in voting, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he would claim “voter fraud” and refuse to concede. So what would we do in that case?"
Here's the most direct and honest answer I can offer:
If I knew that: (A) Biden legitimately won the electoral college, (B) Trump really was a fascist traitor, his administration really was collaborating with enemies of the United States and violating our constitution to subvert American laws and interests, and he refused to accept the election results, (C) Biden and the American Left were honest and trustworthy good guys who were, in fact, sincerely committed to preserving American sovereignty and prioritizing our national interests above all other commitments, that they sincerely valued and consistently applied the rule of law, faithfully adhered to the constitution, and (D) The U.S. military not only believed (A), (B), and (C) but were willing to initiate the use of violence on the basis of those beliefs to forcibly remove him from office, then yes, I would support their doing so.
But things seem to be quite a bit more complicated than that clean, straight-forward, largely de-contextualized set of questions.
I honestly cannot say that I trust any authority enough right now to know with any degree of confidence in the present political context that (A) or (B) are more likely than not to be true. I also think there is good evidence to suggest that (C) and (D) are most likely false (I'm willing to justify this claim, if necessary... Let me know if you think I need to).
There are also good reasons to believe that people on the Left have considerably more power and influence than people on the Right in most of the major social institutions that control the flow of information most of us have access to. For example, social media companies, K-12 and higher education, journalism, popular culture, much of the entrenched federal bureaucracy, etc.
Consider the obscene double standards these institutions apply to Right-wing groups like the Proud Boys or Patriot Prayer in comparison to Left-wing groups like Antifa or Black Lives Matter. I am convinced that social media companies and educational institutions generally tolerate and even endorse violent, leftwing groups but quickly censor and ban militant Right-wingers. They often treat peaceful rightwing groups as if their speech was literal violence. This has cost them a great deal of credibility with me, as someone who has some significant reservations about but far more subjective affinity toward the former in comparison to the latter groups.
I believe that a heavy handed crackdown against wrongthink and tough talk from the Right prior to a highly consequential presidential election was a terrible decision. It is likely to intensify in many of our most influential channels of communication. For example, Google, Facebook, Twitter, the NBA, NFL, Amazon, Netflix, and many other major influencers have engaged in a pattern of uncritically endorsing radical Leftwing positions and romanticizing and exaggerating the reasonableness and plausibility of historically marginalized perspectives while simultaneously suppressing dissent from these perspectives - In other words, paternalist leaders are treating us like children who are too fragile to hear the truth.
As a result, I don't trust any mainstream narratives relating to politics. I believe it more likely to be true than not that:
I don’t think the far-Right will allow the intersectional socialist revolution and domination of public streets and public discourse to continue without a violent counterrevolution. So, I’m really worried about mass political violence. I hope reasonable people can agree on a peaceful, realistic, sustainable alternative. But such is not guaranteed. Where in the hell are the reasonable adults?
The extremists think their side is fully good and their opponents' totally evil. They are trying to force us to choose between two polar opposites. Unless the mainstream, neo-liberal Left aggressively cracks down on the intolerant far-Left factions within their ranks, I believe we (if there is, indeed, a remaining American “we” at this point) need to start thinking seriously about the plausibility that our country in its present form, like all "empires" that came before it, just might have an expiration date.
What if things are not, in fact, as those in control of our information-controlling institutions want us to believe? What if Antifa/Black Lives Matter/intersectional socialism is a bigger threat to our way of life than fascism, oppression of minorities, or "structural white supremacy" are? Perhaps the angry nationalist populists’ intuitive mistrust of the self-appointed guardians of the galaxy may have significant merit?
As I imagine is the case for a plurality (if not a majority) of Americans, my subjective, intuitive “threat detector” and “bullshit detector” are both going haywire. Both are pointing much harder toward the Left than to the Right. Yet, we are culturally conditioned to have a knee-jerk reaction that, when people from my identity group have such subjective reactions, it MUST be because they hate and want to oppress others. This is not true. It is just that I believe a lot of people who see themselves as "good guys," in fact, despise and want to perpetually discriminate against people like me for our various immutable group identities and consider people who think like I do inherently evil enemies.
Consider that those on the Right are the ones most often calling for smaller government and more individual liberty, whereas the Left are most often making bullshit excuses to selectively restrict some people's liberty, interfere in their private lives, and expand the size and power of government—Ask yourself who are the most likely authoritarians? Is it those demanding perpetual affirmative action and demanding that government solve all of our personal problems or those calling for individual liberty, equality under the law, and personal responsibility?
I prioritize individual liberty over group-based equality when the two values are in conflict. I voted for Gary Johnson (what a dud!) in 2016, but I will vote for Trump this time. In hindsight, I now see Trump as more of a reaction to an overreaching Left than the primary cause of most of our present challenges.
I am sincerely worried that people are going to engage in widespread violence on the basis of false beliefs and subjective identity interests. I want to do everything I can to help avoid that, but (like everyone on the Left) there are limits to what I am personally willing to tolerate.
I’m open to changing my mind, as I am working through a lot of emotions and confusion about which information is most reliable. To be frank, I don’t trust many people in power right now.
What I'm about to say is radical and may sound hyperbolic, I know, so please bear with me. I think the far-Left and far-Right are in an arranged marriage with a spouse they're just not into. They've been considering whether the relationship is worth all the conflict and emotional strain. But, in our civic religion, we Americans were taught from a young age that divorce is always wrong, no matter what. We're taught that diversity is our strength! In many ways, this is true. But it is becoming increasingly clear that oftentimes this is not so.
Much of the time, diversity is unresolvable conflict. It is emotionally and psychologically draining. Many people seem to believe that the benefits are not worth the costs. I get the sense that both the far-Left and far-Right feel as if they’re in an abusive relationship, but neither believes it has an obligation to take one for the team. Neither seems to feel like the current relationship is mutually beneficial or likely to last much longer on consensual terms.
But our people are clinging to vows others made for us long ago, before we were even born. We tried to make it work but have “grown apart,” as they say. We might need to start thinking seriously about calling things what they increasingly seem to be: “irreconcilable differences.” We may need to call the lawyers to discuss a “no fault” divorce.
That is, if either side refuses to accept the outcome of the election, regardless of whether or not we believe them justified in doing so, we should choose peace over the initiation of violence. I am (literally) talking about the prospect of our needing to consider a peaceful solution to partition the country.
I would not put it past Trump to refuse to accept unfavorable results of a long, drawn out, contested election. But guess what, I also wouldn’t put it past “the Resistance” to do the exact same thing... Just like they’ve been doing since before President Trump's inauguration (after he was legally elected under the laws of our Republic).
The Left doesn’t trust the Right. The Right doesn't trust the Left. The Left believes Trump is trying to subvert the law to steal the election. The Right believes “the Resistance” has, indeed, already subverted the law in an effort to steal the White House. Despite the Left's domination of our country's information-sharing institutions, there have, in fact, been some reports of Democrats allegedly engaging in voter fraud. These should not be dismissed out of hand.
I hope I am wrong, that one candidate will win in a landslide and the ballot can continue to substitute for the bullet. From my subjective point of view, however, I am about at the end of my tolerance rope with the intolerant far-Left. I would only want to stay in a "marriage" with the mainstream Left if a real, principled leader steps up and puts them (the far-Left) in their rightful place - the barely tolerated margins of an orderly, peaceful, civilized society. I believe this is what a sustainable, peaceful union will require if we are to survive the chaotic shitstorm I believe is on the horizon.
Powerful voices on the Left have floated the prospect of the military removing president Trump so Biden can be our next president. As Democrats reasonably interpret Trump's fraudulent election rhetoric and flirtations with the possibility of his refusing to step down if defeated as a serious threat to be opposed with force, if necessary. I interpret the Left's rhetoric of their having to step up and do so as a precursor to a coup, in the event that Trump wins the electoral college but loses the popular vote (as he did last time). I also find it incredibly difficult to believe that the U.S. military would take the Left’s side in such a highly polarized situation or that they would initiate the use of violence against Trump or his supporters--that is, the half of the country toward whom most people in the military probably have stronger subjective sentiments.
I am pleading for peace, reason, compromise, and restraint from both sides. Please stop threatening violence and thinking in terms of clinging to power over people who don't want to be in a political relationship with you (In other contexts, I'm sure you can acknowledge how imposing oneself on another without consent would be clearly immoral.). In my judgment, free association and self-determination are universal human rights, and there is no moral justification whatsoever for civil insurrection against liberal democracy or for using violence to coerce others into a non-consensual political relationship. None of us has an inherent right to initiate the use of force in our relatively free and prosperous society or dominate anybody else.
I also think, while the Left makes a lot of noise and is quick to form an unruly, destructive mob, there may be some narcissistic delusions in need of acknowledgment and correction in the minds of the most fervent revolutionaries. In my judgment, people on the Right are much more conflict averse and reluctant to take to the streets or get into a fight, but are much more effective with violence when push comes to shove.
Please know that I am well-intentioned by saying this. I am not trying to scare or intimidate anybody and am not making any threats... Those who know me know I would never do that. I am asking those who are making all of the threats to re-evaluate the situation and consider plausible consequences of their posturing. I hate violence and conflict, but I'm also not willing to eat shit or allow bullies to push me or my family around. I think that is how a lot of people like me are feeling right now, and I think my friends on the Left should know that.
I do not think all of the tough talk and threats to initiate violence will result in the outcome those making them desire. The far-Right seems to be itching for a fight. Their anger and resentment are not irrational or pathological, but completely normal and predictable. They are not afraid of the far-Left, who I believe are picking a fight they won't win. Imagine the pent up rage of all of the rednecks they've publicly denigrated for so long with impunity. Consider that these guys own an ass load of guns, have hunted squirrels, quail, deer and shit all their lives, and are probably far more efficient with implements of violence than are the cry-bullies who routinely spazz out at the slightest offense and who demand safe spaces from microaggressions. Let's be real.
I am really worried. I feel it in my bones that extremists on the far-Right and far-Left are preparing for major violent conflict, but things are not as black and white as either side seems to believe. I am sincerely conflicted.