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Dec. 9, 2016: a historical perspective on the election, one month later

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Following his landslide loss in the election, Trump threatened to take his self-declared “movement” to the streets—a threat taken in earnest by his die-hard supporters, who warned of “revolution” and “civil war” were he to go down to defeat.

Which, of course, he did. Hillary Clinton garnered 391 electoral votes to Trump’s 147, and won the popular vote by 54.5%. The networks declared Clinton the winner early in the evening: NBC was first (at 5:27 p.m. eastern time), followed by CNN and CBS moments later. ABC was the outlier; the Disney-owned company did not declare for Hillary until 6:12 p.m.

At 5:46 p.m., Trump took to his usual media platform, Twitter, to declare that the election had been “rigged” and the result “stolen.” He urged his supporters to “let Crooked Hillary and her friends in the elite media know they can’t get away with this disgusting theft of your freedom!”

The first large pro-Trump demonstrations were reported in Atlanta, Georgia, whose 16 electoral votes went to Clinton by the narrow margin of 1.2%. Protestors, almost all of them white, massed on Peachtree Street. Police estimated the crowd size initially at 2,500, but it grew quickly, and by midnight, at least 25,000 demonstrators had blocked streets and highways, setting fires and smashing store windows. The downtown headquarters of Hillary Clinton for President were burned to the ground.

Protests across the country quickly multiplied, with the following cities reporting huge demonstrations by 2 a.m. Wednesday: Pittsburgh PA, Lawrence KS, Dallas TX, Frankfurt KY, Tallahassee FL, Cheyenne WY, Lincoln NE, Tulsa OK, Tucson AZ, Sacramento CA and dozens of others. Governors in 17 states called out their National Guards. The first casualties were reported in Council Bluffs, IA, where seven demonstrators and three policemen were killed in gunshot exchanges. By dawn on the day following Election Day, large parts of 142 American cities were in flames, and the death toll had risen to 360.

Throughout the night’s chaos, Trump kept up a steady barrage of tweets, some 176 by dawn. Here is a typical one, issued at 3.42 a.m.:

UNBELIEVABLE SUPPORT FROM ALL OVER AMERICA! DON’T LET HILLARY STEAL THIS! MARCH! SEIZE POWER!

By 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Trump had set up his own media headquarters at Trump Tower, where he broadcast continually on Twitter and Facebook. By then he had shed the dark suit and tie he usually wears for a military uniform. At 9:42 he announced the formation of a “Provisional American Government” (P.A.G.) because, he said, “Our existing government has failed, and proven it cannot defend the rights of the American people against the usurpations of power by Crooked Hillary Clinton and her aiders and abetters in both the Democrat and Republican parties.” Moments later, Trump announced he had appointed former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani to be “Minister of Defense” for the new government.

At a 10:15 a.m. press conference, Giuliani, wearing military-style garb similar to Trump’s, announced that the new Provisional Government was immediately beginning to draft men and women between the ages of 18 and 45 years “to form the backbone of a National Militia to ensure that Donald J. Trump is recognized as President of the United States of America.” Giuliani urged volunteers for the Militia to “gather up your guns and firearms and report to Trump Enlistment Centers” that had been set up overnight in dozens of cities and towns. By 5 p.m. that day, some two hundred thousand “Militiamen” had been inducted. Each swore an oath “to our sacred honor, to our country, and to President Trump.”

Meanwhile, Barack Obama—still the sitting President—addressed the American people in a broadcast at noon Wednesday that was covered by all the major television and radio media. He pronounced “a state of national emergency to protect domestic tranquility and the rule of law” and said that future demonstrations, if violent, would be met by “irresistible force.” The first major confrontation following his pronouncement occurred in Helena, Montana, where some 6,000 Trump supporters, most of them in western gear and carrying firearms, overwhelmed local police. Montana Governor Steve Bullock, asked by the Obama Justice Department to mobilize the state’s National Guard, refused. In turn, Obama, acting on a request from his Attorney-General, Loretta Lynch, ordered U.S. troops from Fort Missoula and Fort William Henry Harrison, two military installations in Montana, to Helena. By 3 p.m. the U.S. troops had fully engaged with the demonstrators, now joined by the Montana National Guard, which threw its support to the Trump camp. Full-scale fighting between the two sides erupted.

By nightfall, that scenario was played out in 34 States and 511 cities. At one point, CNN estimated that upwards of 200,000 individuals were actively “at war with each other,” with pro-Hillary Clinton protestors now taking up their own arms to combat pro-Trump activists. The death toll, CNN estimated, was “in the low thousands, and rising.”

At 1:15 a.m. on the Thursday following Election Day, Obama renewed his declaration of National Emergency and announced a 5 p.m.-9 a.m. curfew “in all areas of the country where active fighting is occurring.” Fighting continued throughout the next five days, with a defiant Trump leading his side’s efforts. Around noon on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed in, tweeting that “Donald Trump apparently won the U.S. election but is having his victory stolen by the enemies of democracy.” Putin ordered Russian’s military forces to their highest alert level in 27 years. Troop concentrations were reported in eastern Silberia, opposite the Alaskan coast, and on Russian’s borders in Eastern Europe. Russia recalled its ambassador to the U.S. “for consultations.”

Exactly when the first dirty bomb went off in the U.S. has been difficult to ascertain, as multiple ones exploded more or less simultaneously in 30 cities on Thursday afternoon. ISIS immediately took credit. From his headquarters, Trump tweeted about “Hillary/Ryan/Obama dirty bombs! Disgusting! Jail her!” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sent 1,200 National Guard troops to seize Trump Tower and “remove Mr. Trump by any necessary means,” but by then, the luxury apartment building was being protected by some 20,000 Trump supporters, and the National Guard was unable to get through. Some 400 died in the ensuing battle.

As of today (Dec. 9), the situation has not been clarified. Fighting and killing have diminished, to some extent, but the animosity between pro-Trump and anti-Trump forces seems likely to grow. Meanwhile, just this morning, the Governors of Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana and Nebraska released a joint proclamation, stating they are “in active  discussions pursuant to a formal withdrawal from the United States of America, to join forces with the Provisional American Government under President Trump.” Where things go from here is anyone’s guess.

  1. Brilliant, and not totally far-fetched.

  2. This is one of the more terrifying post-election scenarios I’ve read, Steve, and I can’t get it out of my head. I sincerely hope this dystopian vision doesn’t come to pass. Meanwhile, keep up the good fight!

  3. John Dickey says:

    We have been through some steps like this before. We must never go there again, the consequences would be far more disastrous. This scenario is far too real and possible. Thank you, Steve. Keep at it.

  4. John Dickey, it CAN happen here.

  5. From Time magazine:

    “Mike Pence: ‘We Will Absolutely Accept the Result of the Election'”

    http://time.com/4532635/mike-pence-donald-trump-meet-the-press/

    Excerpt:

    “Despite backing Trump’s mounting claims that the election is rigged, Pence said he would accept the ‘will of the American people.’

    “‘We will absolutely accept the result of the election,’ Pence said.”

  6. O-k-a-y, so Trump just made a liar out of his vice presidential running mate and his daughter:

    “Donald Trump refuses to say whether he’ll accept election results”

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/19/politics/presidential-debate-highlights/

  7. I like good fiction, and, Steve, that is one hell of a movie plot you have created. Time to start working on the script.

    As for what Trump said at the debate, I am not worried. He is not angling for an armed rebellion. He is angling to create a right-wing television station for his own profit. He will put all the nut jobs in one place and sell advertising to the gullible.

    He will go Fox News one better, and one wonders what they will then do. There are some honest conservatives there like Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith who I can stand to listen to–as opposed to the idiots like Hannity or the silly sycophants that otherwise inhabit the place. Maybe they will go moderate right and form the basis for a new Republican party.

  8. Not sure I agree with old pal Charlie. First, I’m not convinced Trump is not “angling for an armed rebellion.” Why do you put that past him, Charlie? It would be right up his reality-TV alley to be Hitler in the Wolfschanze, directing his troops from a battle map. As for Chris Wallace, I just can’t agree that he’s an “honest conservative.” To me he’s a sneering, snide little bastard, entirely the tool of Murdoch and Fox “News.” He’s been after the Clintons for years. And I don’t believe that there is a “moderate right” anymore. No such thing. No more “Rockefeller Republicans.” It’s a time for choosing, my friend, and in the final analysis, these Republicans have only one choice: to stick with their sinking party until it’s a bloated corpse bobbing up and down on the sea.

  9. In other words, Steve, you predict either chaos, rioting, near open warfare across the country OR the complete and utter annihilation of the Republican Party until it is no longer functional.

    What happens then? Do the Dems then split into a Warren/Sanders faction called the Progressive Party and a Clinton/Schumer/Pelosi faction under the Democrat banner?

  10. Charlie: Well, first, chances are that nothing really bad will happen. We’ll get through this as we usually do. I suspect we’ll still have a Republican and a Democratic Party. Still… The Republicans obviously are in a terrible state. Their sane, secular wing (what used to be called Rockefeller Republicans) is basically at war with the insane wing: evangelicals, birthers, nationalists, etc. I don’t know how they sort that out, and frankly, that’s their problem, not mine. As for the Democrats: keep in mind that, currently, this is a unified party. Yes there are Bernie people who are still seething with resentment, but Bernie is out there, supporting Hillary with all he’s got. So when Hillary is elected, what happens? The conversation begins anew: how progressive will she be? Can she win back some far-left people if she acts decisively against Wall Street (I hope she does)? But I think the odds favor Democrats to remain more or less unified while Republicans continue to fracture. There remain two fundamental questions: (1) what about all those Millennials who don’t give a fuck about anything and don’t vote? And (2) what happens with Trump’s supporters when they realize they’re losers? I will blog about these things in coming days. Thank you for reading my new blog!

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