At very long last, election 2020 is here. Doesn’t it feel more like a thousand years instead of four? Who’s going to win this thing? And will we stand by our calls? Predicting the future is easy. We all do it. But, rarely, if ever, do we have to explain in the loss’s aftermath how we got it all so utterly wrong. During an election season like this one (one for the ages unfortunately), prognostication has become a parlor game played by unaccountable prophets.
Are all these Jeremiahs shouting their jeremiads (ourselves included) doing more harm than good? Are we just guessing at the future? Can we really speak with any authority about what will happen as we predict what our political opponents will do once they have power? Can we be honest about what will happen should “our side” win?
Here at The Faitheism Project we are committed to seeking truth.
We’re also willing to put our philosophical money where our philosophical mouths are.
We are going to look into their “crystal ball” (singular, please, and rented just for the occasion) and share what we see in the future whether a Biden victory or a Trump victory.
Then, in the near future (as the dust from the election and this episode settles), we’ll do a companion podcast where we’ll look back at what we predicted in this podcast and take stock: were we right or wrong, how right or wrong — and what do we think about that?
And for the record, Alan wants it known that he rocks the sackcloth and ashes look.
Or — if you prefer — try the video version.
NOTES & SOURCES
This one’s got plenty of sourcing to ponder — if pondering sourcing’s your thing.
I am going to go out on a limb today with my first prophecy. If this prophecy is false I will come to our follow-up show in sackcloth and ashes. And if my prophecy is true Alan will…
Okay, so here it is…(drumroll please): Whoever wins the election….Life will go on. There it is. I have said it. I have gone “on the record”. If Biden wins, life will go on. If Trump wins, life will go on.
Whew. Glad to have that “cat out of the bag!”
Three Things That Will Happen if Joe Biden wins:
- Trump will initially fight it but find a way (or be forcefully given a way) to save face while stepping down.
- Strengthening of far-right organizations as a large portion of the population will feel increasingly marginalized.
- Conservative Christianity will grow as those on the political right will re-engage institutional religion out of fear of the future.
Three Things That Will Happen if Donald Trump wins:
- 4 more years of rancor and social unrest in our cities.
- Progressive church becomes more hardline and divided from conservative Christians.
- Formal Christianity will continue to decline.
- China will continue to grow in strength and influence as well as Turkey and Iran because turmoil internal to the US will continue and that, more than one side of the other winning, plays into their hands for growth in power and influence globally.
Three ways to lead yourself through this election cycle (from Randy the pastor without a church who just keep himself from a little preaching!):
- Ground your sense of identity, purpose, and meaning in something greater than the ideological left or right and their issues. Of course, my recommendation would be in faith; more specifically in Jesus. But how you do this is your choice.
- Laugh. Laugh at your life and most particularly laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself and your emotions too seriously right now. You remember how, for those of us who are older, it was when we were younger? Every loss meant life would be horrible from here on out and every win meant you were “King (or Queen) of the mountain.” As you get older you learn to tone down those emotions through experience. Apply that lesson to your politics. Please, everyone, the only way this is “the end of the world” is if we make it so. Just lighten up.
- Take some time to unplug, to rest. This is not an attempt to escape reality, but to rest so we can be the best citizens we can be in this very challenging time in our country. As human beings we fatigue. This is true in any election cycle, but add to it the pandemic we have been struggling through and the racial justice issues and natural disasters many of us have been going through and we have a recipe for fatigue. We all need to take time to rest, to recover, to recuperate and to regain our strength for the work ahead.
America’s about to have a huge vote during war-time. On the one hand, there’s the cyber war that was launched against us by Russia. But, on the other, there’s the Culture War launched against the diverse majority of Americans by the Republican Party.
Just as an earlier conservative reaction to science knee jerked scriptural literalism — the current conservative fear of “socialism” keeps knee jerking an increasingly isolated view of the world, its problems and how to deal with them all: think “every man for himself”.
Is that would Jesus would do? I know, I know — quit asking questions and predict!
If I go back and look at things I prognosticated before Trump was elected (going back to Facebook posts and tweets and blog posts), I’ll admit: I was wrong about Trump. I wasn’t wrong about what he would do, I was wrong about how completely he’d get away with what he was doing.
I was wrong about Trump lasting four years. I did not see that. I did not see him pulling us out of the Paris Accords or treating Kim Jong-Un like a brother. I didn’t see him betraying the Kurds or opening vast tracts of the Arctic to pollution.
I figured, by the time he got around to that stuff? He’d be gone.
I was wrong, you see, about the complicity of the people around him. It never occurred to me that the entire Republican Party would close ranks around Trump entirely out of party loyalty — in the face of the fact that he is a clear and present danger.
That’s not ME talking, that’s David Laufman, Former chief of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counter Intel & Export Control Section (that’s how real and technical this guy is):
This is not an ordinary election between two competing political sides. Victory by one side will result in a very different America from what will result — sorry, what could happen — should the other side claim and get to experience their victory.
In 2016, don’t forget, the majority of Americans voted against Trump but got Trump anyway! It feels kinda… un-democratic. In fact, it feels kinda suspect — especially considering as the majority — by a lot — voted for the diametric opposite of what we’re living through.
That’s the thing — while life may appear to go on should Trump “win”, that will only be on the surface. And for some. For others, life stopped going on the moment Trump “won” the first time. For plenty of people, life began to stop. Literally.
Pandemics are not political. Why is ours? Oh, right…
The problem is, Trump did not “win” the 2016 election. We still need to deal with that fact; in fact, Trump’s illegitimacy is at the heart of the question we’re asking today — or the predictions we’re making.
In one sense, every American presidency is like a four-year story cycle with that president as the story cycle’s hero. If we like the story cycle (and the hero), we’ll put our money down for a sequel. If we don’t, we’ll start a new story cycle with a new hero.
Some of us understood what the Donald Trump story cycle was really about from the get-go: corruption. His “politics” have been all over the place because he’s not a political creature. He’s a guy looking to make a deal and if being a Democrat in NYC makes dealmaking easier than Trump’s not just a Democrat, he’s the most passionate pro-abortion Democrat of all! Trump’s not political. He’s flat out cynical. He thinks everyone else is as corrupt as he is.
If only Democrats were accusing the Trump admin of corruption, an argument could be made that the accusation was political in nature. But, there’s the Lincoln Project. And a growing list of other Republicans — politicians, public servants and military people — who have come out and openly stated that they are voting for Joe Biden as should you because Trump’s so corrupt. This list is amazingly long!
When literally hundreds of important, knowledgeable people from Trump’s own political party openly speak of how dangerous he is to the republic itself, I’d say that deserves our attention.
This is not an ordinary election. The choice isn’t between two variations on a theme. It’s between two diametric opposites. With very real consequences for either side when the other side wins.
Very, very real consequences will ensue.
Our purpose here is truth-seeking. Absolutely. The best indicator of future events is past events. When humans consistently behave a certain way in the past, we can make an informed guess about their future behavior. A person with a history of getting violent when triggered in the past will probably get violent when triggered in the future (unless he does something to stop it). If we can’t assess future risk based on the past, we’re left to face the future blind.
It comes down to what we KNOW empirically based on the past.
Part of our problem with Donald Trump — and predicting what he’ll do — is that our idea of him is tainted by television. An awful lot of Trump’s voters voted for him because they believe to this day that Trump IS the character he played on The Apprentice. Except he’s not. Trump the “master negotiator” and “great businessman” was an invention of Mark Burnett’s.
Master negotiators and great businessmen don’t declare bankruptcy as many times as Trump has — and they don’t owe over a billion dollars — AS TRUMP DOES — a fact he does not deny!
Before I make my predictions, one story. From the moment the Steele Dossier first came to life, everyone around Trump worked overtime to trash its credibility. The news media never understood it in its proper context — it’s raw intelligence data.
Let’s be clear: Steele’s work product has proven to be almost (not entirely) accurate. There are still questions about it but the overwhelming majority of Steele’s observations and notes pan out or have since panned out.
First, you have to understand how the dossier came to be in order to understand what it is and why it’s important.
During the 2016 primaries, the owners of the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative newspaper, hired Fusion GPS to do oppo research work on Donald Trump. The Beacon’s owners were Jeb Bush supporters and they wanted dirt on Trump.
Fusion was a research firm co-created by Glenn Simpson, a journalist who’d written most recently for the Wall Street Journal (hardly a bastion of liberal idealism). When hauled before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017 (the Republican-led committee was trying to undermine the dossier’s integrity), Simpson testified that, having gotten the assignment from the Free Beacon, the first thing Fusion did was its “due diligence”.
They got their hands on every piece of publicly available material about Trump. They got newspaper clippings, books and magazine articles. They watched every video they could find, every radio show interview he did. They went to Amazon and actual book stores. They even went to the public library so as to exhaustively find every piece of publicly available material — just so they’d have a STARTING PLACE on Trump to work from.
And their STARTING PLACE, Simpson testified, was the absolute certainty that Trump had used his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos to launder copious amounts of Russian mob money. In order to answer that question (and other questions about Trump’s strange relationships over the years with shadowy Russians), Fusion sub-contracted out the work to Christopher Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia desk (MI6 is Britain’s CIA). Steele had the best contacts inside Russia bar none.
The dossier is simply Steele using his sources to provide a picture of all the intel currently floating around inside Russia about Trump — and his relationship with the country’s leaders. And its criminals — since, really, Russia is run by criminals.
Okay, okay — I’m getting there!
My predictions come loaded down with baggage — they’re informed by a lot of reading. There are journalists and other informed writers of this story who’ve brought remarkable insight to how I see what’s happening here: Sarah Kendzior, Seth Abramson, Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace (Sarah Palin’s former handler!), Andrew Weissman, Mary Trump and Glenn Simpson himself (in Crime In Progress, his book about the Steele Dossier and Fusion’s own investigation of Trump).
Another thing I got wrong: like many people, I thought somewhere between Robert Mueller and the FBI, there was an ongoing counterintelligence investigation that was going to connect all the dots between Trump and Russia. We learned recently however that assistant AG Rod Rosenstein, a Trump supplicant, told Team Mueller to stay in the Wikileaks lane. They were under the impression that the FBI was handling the counterintel op. But Rosenstein never told the FBI to pursue the counterintel op. Deliberately.
In other words, the most important investigation into what happened behind the scenes in 2016 to explain the strange relationship between Team Trump and Russia never happened. Those questions remain unanswered though they must be asked.
Let’s remember something: Donald Trump was impeached for cheating in the very election he’s running in. And the thing he was impeached for was cheating in THIS election the same way he cheated in the last election.
That is my starting point. This is not an election between two political ideologies.
It is between right and wrong (let’s avoid good v evil, wink-wink).
I’m not alone in thinking this. The most prominent, forceful, brutally honest voice in the pre-election mix just might belong to THE LINCOLN PROJECT.
The Lincoln Project is made up of Republicans (some now former Republicans) including George Conway (Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s HUSBAND!), Rick Wilson & Steve Schmidt — John McCain’s campaign manager. These are serious Republicans. Patriotic Americans. Good people. Good people with whom people on the left disagree politically. But we can all live with that because good people can argue amongst themselves and find compromises they all hate equally. The stone cold truth is: the left needs the balance of the right as surely as the right needs the balance of the left. Our success does indeed lie somewhere in the middle.
To get there from where we are — swinging violently to the right against the majority’s will — to where we need to be — a more moderate “center” — requires more than just a jerk to the center. That’s not what’s coming. And a jerk to the far left is coming. The Lincoln Project Team understand that.
This is from THEIR mission statement: “We do not undertake this task lightly nor from ideological preference. Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain. However, the priority for all patriotic Americans must be a shared fidelity to the Constitution and a commitment to defeat those candidates who have abandoned their constitutional oaths, regardless of party. Electing Democrats who support the Constitution over Republicans who do not is a worthy effort.”
Further, their web site states: “… sectionalism in the country and factionalism in government has led to ever uglier examples of how our political system is failing. President Donald Trump and those who sign onto Trumpism are a clear and present danger to the Constitution and our Republic. Only defeating so polarizing a character as Trump will allow the country to heal its political and psychological wounds and allow for a new, better path forward for all Americans.”
The have produced some breathtakingly brutal ads that point directly at their problem with Trump and Trumpism: it’s sheer immorality.
Remember as you watch — this is Republicans addressing what other Republicans have done. They’re advising the undecided to vote for Joe Biden not for political reasons but for moral ones.
I repeat: though I have deep and profound issues with Trump politically, my deepest issue with him transcends politics completely. My core issue with Donald Trump (as candidate and now as president) has always been with his total lack of moral character. His sexism. His constant houndogging outside his marriage. His blatant racism. His creepy sexuality toward his own daughter. It almost doesn’t matter what the man’s politics are. Even if I agreed with his politics, I’d object to him as a human being. I am not alone in feeling this way.
I believe (based on copious receipts provided by good, competent, genuine journalists) that Trump and those around him knowingly committed multiple crimes in order to “win” election 2016. One of the protections Trump is hiding behind is that DoJ rule that says you can’t indict a sitting president. THAT is what Trump must avoid at all costs: being indicted.
That’s what every republican has to avoid — the legal consequences of their criminal actions up till now.
You have to have this in your mind when you turn to the future — and what will happen should Trump “win”.
Trump won’t “win”. He literally can’t. He literally never did.
The only way Trump “wins” this election is because he’s stolen it. Again. Trump has no intention of governing this country in the way it was designed to be governed. He and his party are actively engaged in preventing other Americans from voting — because they don’t want those Americans to vote them out of office.
Sorry, that’s not how this country works. Not THIS country, not yet.
This desperation speaks to what will happen when We The People (not the Democrats or Joe Biden) throw Donald Trump and a huge swath of the Republican Party out of power. People are coming out to vote who have never voted before. Young people are voting as never EVER before — and they’re voting, most of them, in one direction: for something and against the other — because of what the other is and not because of its politics.
- Donald Trump will get blown out by the biggest margin ever. More Americans will vote in this election than, perhaps in any other election ever. That’s for a reason: the overwhelming majority of Americans are done, done, DONE w Donald Trump and what he’s doing to America.
- IF Trump claims victory, it will be through manipulating the courts and the vote count. As Trump himself has said OUT LOUD: the problem with letting too many Americans vote is it’s always bad for Republicans. (“They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” — that’s Trump during an appearance on Fox & Friends.) Again, Trump may claim victory but he will not have legitimately won. He “got away with it” last time; he won’t this time.
- Joe Biden will win handily. The Democrats will increase their lead in the House and they will flip the Senate. Then, here is what (I predict) they will do
- The Democrats will increase the size of the Supreme Court — from 9 seats to 13 or 15 at a minimum in order to make the SCOTUS look more like We The People and less like just one segment of our population.
- The Democrats will make Puerto Rico and Washington DC states — giving them two Senators each — helping to bring some balance back to the Senate and how it “represents” Americans and their interests.
- The pandemic (as much as the Democrats) will make socialized medicine and universal basic income done deals. They’ll launch a massive infrastructure project even bigger than Roosevelt’s WPA — all in order to help get the economy out of the ditch it’s in — the ditch Trump and his coronavirus response put us and the economy in.
- As Joe Biden said, it won’t be up to him what “happens” to any Republican who might have behaved illegally over the last four years, it will be up to a newly rejuvenated Department of Justice — as per our Constitution and the rule of law. If the rule of law dictates the Justice be visited upon all the Republicans now fallen from power then so be it. They knowingly violated the rule of law which is what brought us here. Behold The Day Of Judgment.
In neither case will life go on as it was.
Life will go on but we are about to experience the kind of profound political and social change that followed the Black Death. In the same way that bubonic plague ended feudalism, the coronavirus pandemic will undermine crony capitalism and usher in a more socialistic approach to life and governance.
My big prediction? Change is coming!