Are We Destined for a Trump Coup in 2024? — Ross Douthat at The New York Times.

Worries about a Republican coup in 2024 are reasonable, but doom-and-gloom pessimism is unreasonable, says Douthat. The GOP isn’t preparing for a coup, he says. The party’s attitude seems to be paying lip service to Trump and his supporters, throwing them a few bones, and outwaiting them.

Republican leaders say they support #StopTheSteal, but they’re doing nothing to advance the cause, and they’re not treating Biden as an illegitimate President or doing other things you’d expect if they were trying to foment an insurrection. Even the voter restrictions they’re putting in place on a state level are designed to head off claims of voter fraud.

Not said by Douthat: Yes, but the voter restrictions are unreasonable and disenfranchise likely Democratic voters.

… the key question is whether Trump and his allies will be able to consistently punish, not just a lightning rod like Raffensperger or the scattering of House Republicans who voted for impeachment, but the much larger number of G.O.P. officials who doomed the #StopTheSteal campaign through mere inaction — starting with Republican statehouse leaders in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona and moving outward through the ranks from there.

Obsessing about a Republican coup could be counterproductive for Democrats, “whose immediate problem is a much more ordinary one: Its ideas and leaders in the last election cycle weren’t as popular as its activists imagined, and it’s therefore vulnerable not just to some future Trumpian chicanery but also to a relatively normal sort of repudiation, in which the democratic process works relatively smoothly — and rewards Republicans instead.”

America 2026

Biden, the Democrats, and Republicans all seem to be moving along like 1/6 was an ordinary riot, and Trump was on ordinary Republican President, and we can just go back to the way things were under Clinton, Bush, and Obama. That’s delusional and dangerous.

My crystal ball says that the United States is on the cusp of a historical transition. We are not going to be the same country in five years that we are today.

One likely outcome is fragmentation, like the USSR. Probably the resulting nation would continue to be called the United States and would have the surface trappings of the nation we’re accustomed to. But individual regions and states would operate as independent nations. Some of those places will be good places to live — California and New York, in particular, might be better off. Other places would be like Eastern European dictatorships. Not nice at all.

Another likely outcome is the emergence of a powerful President and following to tie things back together. If we’re fortunate, that President will be like Lincoln or the Roosevelts. If we’re less fortunate, that President will be a Hitler or Erdogan.

I foresee an uncomfortably high probability of Civil War 2 on the horizon. Or even World War 3 — but this time, the US is the bad guys.

The GOP’s ‘Off the Rails’ March Toward Authoritarianism Has Historians Worried

Ben Jacobs at Vice:

One political scientist, the co-author of a book called “How Democracies Die,” put it bluntly: “I think we are headed for a crisis.”

The Republican Party’s rejection of democracy is unprecedented in history or world current events, say historians.

But Jan. 6 was like Fort Sumter. And so far the Democrats are a lot like Buchanan — inviting future bloodshed and crisis by failing to act decisively.

For the Republican Party, Jan. 6 was a training exercise. And it went pretty well for them overall.

The defining characteristics of true democracy are that the outcome of elections are uncertain, and the losing party cedes power. We’re seeing one of the major parties of the US reject both these principles.