Claytoonz: The fix is in for democracy
One funny thing about Republicans and MAGAts is that they think they’re the good guys. But then again, Nazis thought they were the good guys too.
Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention included the line, “only I can fix.” Every candidate campaigns on the message he or she is the best person for the job, but Donald Trump was saying a line drafted for fascists. It was the kind of thing Saddam Hussein would have said. And what exactly was Donald Trump promising to fix? What “greatness” was “make America great again” referring to?
I didn’t underestimate Donald Trump as much as I underestimated Republicans. I never believed they’d nominate and follow an imbecilic racist used car salesman with a reality TV show, less enough a fascist. I never thought they’d not only trade in their party to become a cult but never their country. And I never thought Republicans would support overturning an election and an attack on our nation. I mean, these are the “support our troops” fuckers. These are the guys who used to worship Reagan and praise him for ending the Cold War against the Soviet Union. These are the people who told us for decades Russia was the bad guy and our enemy. These were the biggest yakkers about liberty and freedom.
That’s the thing about nationalism. It starts with a pledge, then attempts to outlaw flag desecration, and then efforts to make a national language. After that comes the killing of a press and laws banning insults to an orange gropenfuhrer.
So now when I start to dismiss the possibility of a second American civil war, I have to stop and remember all those other stupid things I initially disregarded.
The people who would start a civil war will claim they’re trying to destroy the nation to save it. That’s what they said when they elected a mango fascist in 2016. They claimed they were saving democracy when they tried to overturn an election and attempt an American coup. They said they were saving our democracy by installing a fascist dictator. They claim they’re saving democracy by limiting who can vote. Half of Congress doesn’t want to investigate a coup attempt on this nation. It can’t happen here? It’s happening.
“No one wants to believe that their beloved democracy is in decline, or headed toward war. But, if you were an analyst in a foreign country looking at events in America — the same way you’d look at events in Ukraine or the Ivory Coast or Venezuela — you would go down a checklist, assessing each of the conditions that make civil war likely. And what you would find is that the United States, a democracy founded more than two centuries ago, has entered very dangerous territory.”
That’s from Barbara F. Walter, a political scientist at the University of California at San Diego. She just published a book titled “How Civil Wars Start.”
Walter serves on a CIA advisory panel called the Political Instability Task Force that monitors countries around the world and predicts which of them are most at risk of deteriorating into violence, this book is her own study and not that of the CIA. B guess who’s on that list.
Walter writes, “We are closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe.”
The United States has already gone through what the CIA identifies as the first two phases of insurgency. The “pre-insurgency,” “the incipient conflict, and the one we haven’t got to yet, “open insurgency.” But many believe the third phase, “open insurgency,” already began on January 6 with the attack on the United States Capitol by Donald Trump’s white nationalist terrorists.
Walter writes that the United States is no longer technically a democracy but an “anocracy.” That means it’s between a democratic state and an autocracy. Armed violence and sudden changes of leadership are common in anocracies. A lot of lies, bullshit, conspiracy theories, and “fake news” is used to manipulate people in anocracies. Who else is an anocracy? Russia is one that will make Republicans say, “well, alright then. Cool.” But other anocratic nations compared to the United States may not excite them as much. They include Somalia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, and Ukraine. Trump would call several of these “shithole” countries.
I grew up with the idealism that America was the greatest country on the planet. We’re better than everyone else. We were taught there was no possibility of a civil war in this nation even though we already had one.
We’re not the worst, but the United States is not the best nation in the world either. You can chuck all that rah-rah “Murica!” cheerleader bullshit out the window. Sure, love your country, but don’t be blind. Our nation is led by a bunch of fundamentalist religious zealots. At this very moment, the majority of people in this nation have a dying tree inside their homes to celebrate their “savior’s” birthday, on a day that’s not really his birthday. Sixty percent of Americans believe a guy named Noah built an ark after being directed to do so by God, put two of each species on it, and then the entire Earth was flooded for 44 days.
Hell, Norwegian cruise lines can’t even return to port with all the passengers it departed with, and they can’t blame it on “eaten by lions.”
In 2020, the Democracy Index (compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit) gave the United States a score of 7.92. But the freeist nation in the world didn’t have the best score. Who scored better than us?
Nations scoring higher than the United States on the Democracy Index include Canada, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Taiwan. But, we do win the most Olympic medals as long as ice isn’t involved.
The prediction of another civil war in the United States isn’t that it’ll be like the first one, a line dividing the nation with organized armies on both sides. No, it’s predicted to look more like Iraq’s insurgency. The opposition to American democracy will look less like the Confederacy and more like ISIS. And we may not even notice when it begins as it’ll probably just look like a daily mass shooting.
An Economist/YouGov poll conducted last week found that nine percent of Republicans believe it’s “very likely” Donald Trump will be reinstated to the presidency…before the end of the year. In case you don’t own a calendar, that’s less than two weeks from now after Jesus’ birthday Maybe it’ll happen on Jesus’ birthday. Trump does need a new running mate.
Nine percent of the GOP says it’s “somewhat likely” that Trump will be reinstated before Baby New Year gets here. Another 15 say they’re “not sure.” What’s crazier is that ten percent of Democrats think it’s “very likely” Trump will be reinstated within the next two weeks. Jesus! Not you, Jesus.
You may think these are not high numbers, but in believing U.S. democracy is going to die, I think they’re very high. And with half of Congress trying to cover up the Trump administration’s coup attempt, I at least believe democracy will suffer another attack and the insurrection will find support within our government…and within the media.
Eighty-two percent of Fox News viewers believe Trump won the election and it was stolen from him. Hell, 97 percent of One American News Network viewers believe the same thing, but to be fair, 97 percent of OANN viewers isn’t a lot of people. That probably means more Fox News viewers believe in The Big Lie than in Jesus. Jesus! Sorry again, Jesus.
An insurrection? A civil war? It can’t happen here, right? Donald Trump is claiming he can be “reinstated,” and as he learned last January, all an insurrection needs is a little push.
American democracy? Only Trump can “fix” it.
Also, if my comments on Jesus, his birthday, the ark, the tree, etc, don’t piss off as many people as my Mike Nesmith cartoon did, then that means more people believe in the Monkees than in Jesus.
Music note: I listened to the Beach Boys while drawing today’s cartoon.
Clay Jones is the 2022 recipient of the RFK Human Rights Journalism Award in Editorial Cartooning, and won a 2021 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. He was a finalist for the Herblock Prize in 2019 and a finalist for the National Headliner Award in 2020. See more award-winning editorial cartoons from him at Claytoonz.com.