|Image courtesy New Yorker magazine.|
This comprehensively researched article from Time magazine makes chilling reading.
It describes in detail how a loose coalition of concerned individuals saved the USA from what could have been the greatest threat to democracy across the Pacific since the Civil War.
It reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's prediction in his Lyceum address in 1838.
Lincoln said -
"At what point is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freeman, we must live for all time, or die by suicide".
The "danger amongst us" was Trump's campaign to win at all costs, aided and abetted by a cluster of violent extremists who were prepared to stop at nothing. The closest historical equivalent were groups like the Blackshirts in Italy in the thirties.
The article begins by explaining why there was comparatively little reaction to Biden's win, except for the assault on the Capitol by the very extremists who were Trump's acolytes. That reaction turned out to be seriously counterproductive for the Republicans.
"A weird thing happened right after the Nov 3 election: nothing.
The nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle. In a poll before election day, 75% of Americans voiced concerns about violence.
instead, an eerie quiet descended. As President Trump refused to concede, the reaction was not mass action, but crickets. When media organisations called the race for Jow Biden on November 7, jubilation broke out instead, as people thronged cities across the US to celebrate the democratic process that resulted in Trump's ouster".
It describes how efforts to suppress votes, inject doubt into institutional trust, and use misinformation to muddy the waters, was countered by quiet and consistent work at street level by this informal, bi-partisan campaign.
It is, at the same time comforting, and chilling.
The USA has dodged a bullet.
By the way, the quotation marks in the title are a reminder that, as any knowledgeable American will tell you, the USA is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.