The publication of this article was a long time coming. I had originally wanted to write this in the wake of Donald Trump's election victory back in 2o16, when I was the managing editor for The Warden Post, but so many things have prevented me from doing so. I had wanted to write a celebration piece, my way of basking in the good vibes of what I thought would be the beginning of restoring order and sanity to the United States, and eventually the rest of the Western World.
Things did not pan out that way. First, the missile strikes on the Shayrat airbase in Syria back in 2017 threw a wet blanket on my hope that Donald Trump would keep his pledge to keep the U.S. out of foreign entanglements. Then, the Battle of Charlottesville in August of that year which saw the AltRight scattered to the four winds. The Wall was never built, the illegals were never deported, the swamp was never drained, and America was not made great again.
Even with the memory of the worst aspects of the Trump years behind us, I would still give everything away to have it all back having lived through almost four years of the Biden presidency*.
I'm a child of the 90s. I am, as of the publication of this article, currently 32 years old. I have lived through five presidencies, three recessions, and (not counting those caused by hurricanes) two national tragedies if you're stupid enough to believe that the January 6 protests even came close to being on the same scale as the 9/11 attacks. For the sake of brevity, I'm not going to include all the failed doomsday predictions that I happened to have lived though, because honestly, there would be too many to count.
With all that said and done, I can say with absolute certainty that the best years of my sad, miserable life were between 2015-2019. Donald Trump's presidency was the closest thing a Right-leaning millennial could look back on and say approached anything resembling "the good years" without having to delve back into their childhoods when they were bathed in the comforting glow emitted by those bulky black 90s television sets, mindlessly entertained by Nickelodeon cartoons and Pokémon Red and Blue for the GameBoy color.
These last four years under President* Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. have been excruciating. The pandemic, the lockdowns, another recession, the Great Resignation, the Russo-Ukrainian war, the Israel-Hamas war, Bidenomics, Bidenflation, the layoffs, the caravans at the border, the fentanyl in the cities, the hopelessness, the despair, the prospect of another major war, the end. I cannot recall a time when things were ever this bad. Maybe things were worse during the Bush years, since his regime oversaw the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Although, I was in grade school for the full duration of Dubya's occupancy of the Oval Office, so my bias towards Biden might be, understandably, skewed.
As imperfect as Trump is as a man, and was as a president, I would give my left nut to have his dumpy orange rump back in the White House. Things were not perfect under President Donald J. Trump but, by God, it was the closest thing to approaching an Era of Good Feelings that this millennial has ever known.
Now, here we are, in 2024, and it's looking like this upcoming presidential cycle will, once again, be between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. As of the time I am typing these words, Donald Trump has won both the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, and both of them by a landslide. Donald Trump won all but one county in Iowa, the first Republican presidential candidate to do so, going on to repeat the same crushing victory in New Hampshire a week later.
It boggles the mind as to why Nimarata "Nikki" Haley doesn't have the good sense to drop out of a race that Trump is all but virtually guaranteed to win. After all, Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race after coming in second to Trump in Iowa. DeSantis could have, if he so desired, pressed onward to New Hampshire and possibly even South Carolina but, after having pumped millions into campaign spending and having visited every single county in Iowa, must have come to the sobering realization that the juice just wasn't worth the squeeze. The Trump train, even years later, is still too much of a force to be reckoned with.
The only possible reason as to why Haley continues to campaign in the wake of such a string of crushing defeats is that she is holding out for the possibility that something "happens" to Trump before end of the primaries. Donald Trump is still facing 91 felony indictments and whether the man sees prison time is still not out of the realm of possibility. Although, such a thing is unlikely in my opinion. Be that as it may, I am convinced that Trump would still campaign for the presidency even with an ankle monitor strapped to his person or behind bars if it ever came down to it. I believe his commitment to retaking the throne from which he was cast down from is that deep.
Whether Haley is shoehorned in at the eleventh hour or Trump manages to suffer a "happy accident" before the nomination is still not out of the question. However, the most likely scenario is that he will go on to be declared the Republican nominee for president and after that, who knows. Trump may very well retake the White House; he may also be cheated out of his inaugural victory like he was in 2020. At this point, anything can happen.
Regardless, I want to get into the bulk of what this piece is really about, and why I am choosing to write these words down now, as opposed to when I intended to do so back in 2016 in the afterglow of Trump's victory, or in 2018, when I had a much more sober view of the man and his time in office. Love him or hate him, whether he goes on to win the 2024 election or not, Donald Trump has already made his mark on politics, and his legacy, in the form of Trumpism, is here to stay. There's no putting the toothpaste back into the tube.
We are living in the Age of Trump, or rather, have been since he rode down those stairs on the escalator in Trump Tower back in 2015. Trump has reignited populism, nationalism, and sovereignty within the historic American cultural consciousness. And try as they might, the insidious movers and shakers pulling the strings behind the curtain can't lull the American populace back into complacency with false narratives of a neoliberal/neoconservative dichotomy.
Trump's greatest legacy, even if he loses this November, will almost certainly go on to outlive him. The Republicans, who for so long have played the role of the fall-guy for the Democrats, can't make Reaganism or Bushism palatable for historic America anymore after John Q. Normie has had a taste of something better, something that, albeit implicitly, caters to his interests.
Donald Trump's campaign in 2016 was always about shifting the lens of focus back onto the issues which mattered to Euromericans. The powers that be knew that; the media knew it, the racial agitators and their channels within the Democratic party and special interest groups, as well as the dopey race-blind conservatives who thought Trump's rhetoric was approaching on "extremism" knew it as well.
The only people who didn't seem to get it was the majority of Trump's base. Sure, without the involvement of the AltRight or their launching of the Great Meme War, it's doubtful that Trump would have been as successful as he was. But let's be real here, the majority of Trump's followers are normies, good-hearted normies, but normies all the same. What exactly constitutes normie America is currently dwindling, and the normies understood this, but were, and still are, reluctant to put a racial or demographic context onto the problem that normie America is facing. Most of these issues are just swept under neat, convenient labels like "crime" or "immigration." Sure, the obvious racial component is always there, bubbling at the surface, but deep down, normie Americans still want to believe in their heart of hearts that what America is all about is freedom, capitalism, and the ability to "make it" if you put the effort in.
Whether historic, normie America has a future on this continent is truthfully a matter up for debate. It's my opinion that the Federal Empire will most likely split into three to eight different political units at some point in the not-too-distant future. Still, whether that happens or not, or whether the Federal Republic of the United States manages to endure in some form, I am convinced that Trumpism will undoubtedly have played a role in the shape of things to come.
More to the point, it doesn't matter what you or I think about Trump as a person. Trump may very well be a bully, a blowhard, a buffoon, a clown, a con man, a "fascist," a stooge for Zionism. Honestly, he could be all these things. None of it matters. What matters is that Trump is a symbol of historic American resistance, he is a slap in the face to the Coastal oligarchs, to cosmopolitan urbanites, to media hucksters, to the rootless alienated tech-helots in Seattle, Portland and Austin to the untold millions of bug people in the burned-out metropolises of New York and L.A.
Donald Trump is far from being the God-emperor we may have hoped he would be in 2016, but his political career, nay, his very existence, has caused more teeth to gnash and buttholes to clench than any other political figure of the 21st century. Even if he is reelected, I'm not expecting a miracle to happen; for him to be transfigured into the orange messiah that we were eagerly expecting he would be eight years ago. As much as I would wish he would be the leader who would take on the World Economic Forum, that would build the Great Wall of America, that reach across the Bering Strait and finally make peace with Russia; as much as I had hoped (Lord, did I hope!) that he would have been the coming Caesar who would have led his people on January 6th, marched with them to the steps of the Capitol, donned the laurel wreath and thrown on the imperial purple, he did not cross that Rubicon.
But the symbol of his personality remains, and not only remains, but endures. Trump is not a candidate that people elected because they cared about stupid, petit-bourgeoise, mush-for-brained issues like "lowering taxes and "reducing the deficit." He was elected because his whole persona was a tour de force that you could rally behind. Every smug grin that broke out on that immaculate orange face was a dagger that pierced the fragile egos of reprobates and subversives.
Perhaps this sentiment towards Trump Derangement Syndrome embodied by liberal apologists for the Federal Empire is no better illustrated than in series of posts made by former Huffington Post contributor Alex Knepper.
Writing on Substack, Knepper published several brief blog posts laying out what he believes are the dire consequences to come should Donald Trump be re-elected this year, proclaiming that: "With Trump’s reascendence, the die has been cast: a constitutional crisis is now inevitable."
Knepper spends the majority of this post concocting a hypothetical situation where Donald Trump uses his upcoming trial proceedings as a personal soapbox to morally grandstand and harangue Joe Biden, the courts, the fake news media and so on. While such a scenario seems very Trumpian and in character for the Donald, it still remains hyperbole and fear mongering at best. Truthfully, Trump would be a fool not to use his court appearances as a stage for political theatre to cater to expectations of his base. Knepper goes on to write,
"This race will be the grand finale of Trump's life as a criminal con man clown, treating the world like clay in his hands. From the 1980s onward he has done everything in his capacity to master the Machiavellian dark arts of media manipulation, political demagoguery, and lawfare. With not only his second term but his very freedom at stake, there should be no doubt that Trump will set the country on fire if he thinks there is even a remote chance that doing so will allow him to reascend to power and/or escape prison."
What Knepper doesn't seem to understand is that what Trump represents is what every American man imagines themselves to be. Trump's "Machiavellian" ambition is what drew, and continues to draw, millions to his side. Knepper opines that Trump has "never admitted to losing a competition" as though this quality is somehow a drawback to Trump's personality. To graciously admit defeat is noble only for athletes, in the realm of politics, it is suicide.
"He might not lose, of course. A combination of carpet-bombed propaganda over the last decade, laziness, complacency, numbness, exhaustion, cynicism, fatalism, paralysis, incredulity, and false hope could result in an outright Trump victory. If this happens, it should be obvious to all, we are in for a grave constitutional crisis. But our constitutional crisis is already here. There is no possible favorable result to a Trump-Biden rematch. It will either end in autocracy or mass violence."
I have previously advocated for what I have called "political sedevacantism," which is to say, to deny the legitimacy of the Biden presidency, its decrees, its administrative rulings, the laws which it signs and the executive orders that issues, while still peacefully participating within civic life under the occupation of the Federal Empire. No better demonstration of this in action can be found than the recent standoff at Eagle Pass where Texas National Guardsmen, along with Texas Rangers and Border Patrol officials under Governor Greg Abbott, have refused to dismantle installations along the Texas-Mexico border. As of the publication of this article, 25 other States have either pledged their support to Governor Abbot and the State of Texas or have sent their own National Guardsmen to the border to aid in its defense.
In another post for Substack, Knepper writes,
"Deciding that we cannot coexist with people with whom we have incompatible ideas about using power will mean the end of the American experiment. We'll have to go back to the way things were before the rise of the United States, when few besides warlords, those with ancient lineages, or else psychotic megalomaniacs were both willing and able to pursue, obtain, and hold onto power. Someone like Trump is a new phenomenon for America, but public figures like Trump — almost transcendental in their self-regard and vain, empty ambition — are as old as humanity. The world has seen many Donald Trumps as emperors before and found them wanting."
Knepper makes the case liberal democracy, or if you prefer, constitutional republicanism, is at the heart of the unique American experiment that has shaped the political history of the United States. Sometimes, he says, our side is just going to lose, and we should learn to make with that. After all, that is the adult thing to do.
What Knepper doesn't seem to understand is that things are different now, or rather, liberalism has reached its final, inevitable conclusion, viz., the consolidation of political life under the auspices of liberalism, leaving no room for any other political alternative to liberalism. What seems to frighten Knepper the most is a coming overthrow of the liberal democratic order, where liberalism ceases to be the reigning meta-narrative of postmodernity writing that,
The great liberal revolution was about mutually voluntary restraints on power: accepting that power, constrained by codified limits agreed to in advance, can and will be traded off over time between factions — so as to make it possible for everyone to live together.
The problem with this statement is that tacitly ignores the rise of the imperial presidency since the Clinton administration (although such as thing probably goes back to the End of the Civil War), and that each succeeding presidency since Clinton has become more interventionist, consolidated more power into the executive branch, and became increasingly less likely to cede power to the other branches of the US Federal government, as well as ignoring the right of the States within the Union to exercise sovereignty over their own issues.
Trump was not an exception to this precedent, but by every single objective measure he was the least interventionist president in living memory, nowhere near turning into the "Cheeto Hitler" that his detractors said he would become if he ever got his tiny hands on the reins of power. At most, if elected again, Trump will govern like he did during his first term as a non-interventionist in foreign policy, unafraid to use the power of the tariff at home and manage to bring down the marginal tax rate by a few points. Knepper continues,
"The illiberal essence of populism says: to hell with all that. The problem is a lack of fighting spirit, obsequious obedience to formalities and etiquette, not enough loyalty to personalities and principles and too much to process, not enough willingness to just get something done for the people, forget the damned rules."
Everything which Knepper says in the above is true. The problem is a lack of fighting spirit. Obedience to principles that effectively tie one hand behind your back, that act as ball and chain around your ankle, while your opponent, who employs every single unrighteous stratagem and ends up carrying home the victory, is the strategy of idiotic establishment conservatives who continuously lose elections. The Democrats aren't afraid to break the law, going so far as to openly violate the Constitution of the United States, if it means consolidating their hold on power. What terrifies and angers them is the possibility that Donald Trump might have the audacity to do the same thing.
" [...] this election is the most important since the Civil War. We are beyond arguing about 'the issues' and are truly debating the fundamentals of civic life. Are we willing to accept that sometimes people we strongly support really do lose elections? Can we accept the fact that our neighbors might believe very differently than we do regarding religion, race, sex, taxes? Can we tolerate a mild amount of all-too-human corruption without exploiting its inevitable existence for the purpose of demagoguery?"
The short answer is, increasingly, no. This is the end result of liberal democracy, or, more specifically, the multicultural democracy that was developed in the United States and exported onto the rest of the Western world. The thing about democracy, and specifically liberal democracy, is that, unlike aristocratic systems, it divides people into factions. Each faction, each tribe under such a system, as we can already see within the Federal Empire of the United States, eventually uses the democratic process to gain as much power, resources and influence for its tribe as it possibly can.
Things are no longer Black or White, or even Protestant and Irish Catholic. What we have increasingly seen is an alliance of necessity between the Black-Brown coalition made up of African Americans and Hispanics (the Latinx camp) with the Rainbow coalition, or the LGBTQ communities. Traditionally, these two camps have aligned themselves against the Constitutional conservatives, business Republicans, and, more pressingly, the White Evangelical vote. However, the rise of MAGA upsets things, as it adds an implicitly racial component to what was essentially more or less a harmless camp of Southern and Midwestern moralists. If Euromericans became aware of themselves as a people, or even a multitude of peoples, they might, God forbid, begin to collectively organize for their interests instead of stupid, inane, moralistic issues that are increasingly becoming irrelevant.
This was made evidently apparent by Trump's winning of the entire Rustbelt in 2016 (before the Rustbelt States had their elections "fortified" in 2020) which had traditionally been solidly Democratic. The Democratic party no longer needs the votes of working-class Whites in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania when it has a never-ending ocean of future voters streaming across the Southern border. Trump's outreach towards working class Whites, and even working-class men of other races, is what drove normie voters straight into his awaiting arms.
In his latest post on his Substack, Knepper makes his boldest claim yet: that Trump, unwilling to concede if he loses the election, will openly agitate for the secession of the States that supported him in this election cycle as a way to escape "justice." Knepper writes,
"If and when Trump is convicted — who escapes ninety-one felony indictments? — and facing prison time, and if he then loses the election, he will have two choices: concede the race and peacefully submit to incarceration — or escape the sovereignty of the United States. The only way to accomplish the second will be to agitate for secession. Therefore, his choices will be: eternal glory or eternal infamy. Infamy is guaranteed if he loses and is imprisoned. So there will be no remaining incentive not to try for ultimate glory: founding his own nation."
The implication for this is massive. Knepper continues,
"Since he will be the Republican nominee, the race will revolve around his every word. He will become the full-time obsession of every American once again, just as he likes it. The idea that he will accept defeat and go to prison willingly belongs in comedy. The idea that calling for secession so he can escape the sovereignty of the United States would be a step too far for him is laughable. Not only his second term but his very freedom, and the prospect of finally being defeated by his enemies at the end of his life, will be on the table. Trump has been waiting for his moment to be another Jesus, another Hitler, another Washington, another Caesar. The presidency is ultimately too small for a man of Trump's ambition."
As much as I'd like to believe this would happen, I highly doubt such a coup would occur even if Trump, once again, lost the election under suspicious means. Trump had every opportunity to launch a coup on January 6, 2021, and failed to become the Caesar-figure imagined by Knepper. What is far more likely, should Donald Trump lose in 2024 or face the very real prospect of criminal prosecution, is that he will seek asylum in the State of Florida, still under the gubernatorial control of Ron DeSantis, remaining under house arrest at Mar-a-Lago in self-imposed exile as a political prisoner.
DeSantis, having read the tea leaves and realizing how disastrous it would be to his own political future should he make the decision to hand over Trump to the Feds, will allow to him to remain at Mar-a-Lago under his own personal protection. This standoff to extradite Trump will further drive a wedge between the stability of the country and continue to create fault lines between what are already ideological extremes. Admittedly, all of this is just arguing hypotheticals.
What is really at stake here is the future of the American identity: whether the historic American nation manages to continue to survive in some form or whether the culture of the United States morphs into a new post-American identity. It is with this new 'American' identity, and this coming new America, that I believe Alex Knepper has chosen to take his stand. The future of American politics is itself a battle for the soul of the American nation. The surface level divisions of Red vs. Blue or conservative vs. progressive are arbitrary signifiers that only superficially represent the real demographic and ideological struggles taking place at a base level.
The America of the Revolution, of the Civil War, of the Pioneers, Westward Expansion and the Alamo must ultimately be pitted against the new America: America as an "idea," as a borderless economic zone, as union of tribes united by nothing else than a love of carcinogenic cow meat and only superficially by the Constitution. Constitutions can be abolished or amended; once a people lose its identity or is replaced, it loses what makes it itself forever. For America, as a nation, to survive, it must go beyond its current incarnation as "the United States."
The political legacy of Donald Trump is key to what I project will be the realization of the coming new American experiment of this continent. What form that takes is anyone's guess. I have already written about how the Right can operate in a world after Trump, but what role Trump continues to play in shaping the future of American politics is a much more difficult matter to prognosticate.
Looking beyond 2024, it isn't hard to imagine that the political situation in the United States won't become anything than more polarized. The destiny of the Republican party is ultimately to become the party of Trump. Making overtures to Reagan, or even to George Bush Jr., will meet with no success if the Republicans ever hope at having another shot at taking the Whitehouse in the future.
By that time, most of the Baby Boom generation will either be dead or drifting into senility. The White millennial and Zoomer vote will have far more purchasing power than they currently enjoy in the coming decade; whose political sensibilities will align much more with the old AltRight than they ever will with a rehashed, outdated brand of neoconservatism. Going forward, it will have to be MAGA or nothing.
Whether the Republicans will be able to read the demographic writing on the wall is dubious at best, as the GOP, whenever given the option, always chooses the path of most resistance by remaining stubbornly tethered to outdated principles and issues that are relevant to no one outside of the corporate business class. Regardless, this transformation will happen whether the Republican party is able to steer its ship along with winds of the sea of change.
This article is fundamentally about why Trump matters, and will continue to matter, in the face of an American political landscape where the Center has all but collapsed. The liberal principles upon which this Federal Republic was founded on are increasingly being proved to be anachronisms in a world that is shifting towards a far more particular conception of political life based around illiberal ideas surrounding republicanism. This is likely to be the trend going forward, and the legacy of Donald Trump will be intimately tied towards the development of this future form of republicanism as it begins to take root on this continent.