The New American Revolution

Donald Trump’s stunning victory ushered in a series of frightening developments that threaten to destroy the fabric of American society and the constitutional framework of government. We are witnessing an emergent American Revolution.

No doubt President Trump’s own actions have exacerbated the problem. Many elements of his demeanor, mode of communication and policies deserve serious evaluation and criticism. However, the trend now sweeping the US exceeds any fair discussion on the merits.

A significant segment of the American Left is attempting to replace the duly elected government, utilizing what one Democratic observer calls “a nationwide orgy of rage and spite.”

Demonstrators wave banners proclaiming “Not my president,” asserting the Trump presidency’s illegitimacy despite the fact that he was elected according to centuries-old constitutional procedures. At the same time, they have prevented those more sympathetic to Trump from exercising their constitutional right to free speech. For example, invited speakers have faced violent opposition on college campuses — a clear rejection of the First Amendment.

Impeachment has become the classic punishment searching for a sin, reminiscent of the KGB head who famously told Stalin, “Show me the man and I’ll find the crime.” California Congresswoman Maxine Waters calls repeatedly for Trump’s removal from office. She cites as justification his failure to release his tax returns (there is no law requiring him to do so), and his alleged collusion with Russia (despite her admission that there is no hard evidence to support that charge, and the likelihood that the Democrats did much the same thing during the recent election).

Apparently, Trump must be an illegitimate president since he holds views with which the Left disagrees. As Waters states, “I don’t respect this president. … He’s not working in the best interests of the American people. I will fight every day until he is impeached.” If the opposition’s lack of respect were determinative, few presidents would complete their terms.

The situation has gone well beyond temporary shock and dismay at Hillary Clinton’s failed candidacy. Since Trump’s victory is seen as invalid, his removal by any means – even violence – is advocated.

The constant drumbeat alleging Trump/Russian collusion in the election is consistent with this position. As the Left asserts, if there was collusion (though leading legal experts observe that talking with Russians is entirely legal), then Trump has no right to remain in office. Some call for Trump to be tried for treason (a wild and irresponsible mischaracterization of that offense), with execution to follow in due course.

Nobody denies the truth of the information that was revealed by the alleged Russian interference. The Left’s argument boils down to this: “Clinton campaign officials made offensive and bigoted comments about various groups of Americans, and colluded with the national media to help her win the nomination and (unsuccessfully) the election. It’s unfair that voters discovered Clinton’s true nature.”

Many on the Left now describe themselves as “the resistance,” and a popular Facebook page is entitled “Terminate Republicans.” Generally, a resistance movement (e.g., the French Resistance during WWII) seeks to overthrow an illegitimate government, using all available means, for the supposed good of the country.

Once you call Russia’s alleged involvement in the election “the equivalent of Pearl Harbor,” as have some on the Left, the logical next step is to use violence in self-defense; hence, the attempted assassination of Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game.

Examples of the Left’s response to that blatant act of terrorism are horrifying:

· “The world would be a better place without [critically wounded Republican leader Steve Scalese].” – Jesse Benn (Huffington Post)

· “We are in a war with selfish, foolish and narcissistic rich people. Why is it a shock when things turn violent? #Hunt Republican Congressmen” – New Jersey Democratic strategist’s tweet

· “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? … It has been a while and maybe it is time.” – Johnny Depp’s reference to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by actor John Wilkes Booth was greeted with laughter and raucous applause from his audience.

The visceral hatred in response to Trump’s policies and inflammatory rhetoric results, at least in part, from his challenge to the deep-rooted power structure. The main stream media, once enamored of Trump when he had no chance of winning, now rail against him because he had the temerity to succeed. Reporters no longer make even a pretense of neutral objectivity. Unsubstantiated anti-Trump allegations receive breathless coverage in such formerly respected news outlets as The New York Times and CNN.

Upset at the prospect of the government being led by an outsider who promised to “drain the swamp,” the swamp is fighting back. Members of the Federal Government’s entrenched bureaucracy incessantly and illegally leak classified information critical of Trump. That much of this information is either inaccurate or damaging to the country’s security seems of little concern to them.

It is irrelevant that a relatively small number of people are actively involved in this new revolution. Only in retrospect do we see as inevitable the success of an uprising by a handful of American revolutionaries against the British in the late 1700’s, a movement that initially had very little chance.

Also, it does not matter that there is no central revolutionary organization. Consider the number of “lone wolf” terrorists who have been inspired by, but are neither directed nor controlled by, ISIS. ISIS still claims credit for their actions, and their victims are most assuredly dead.

Put simply, the Constitution does not provide for do-overs. Unlike the Israeli parliamentary system, Congress may not remove a president by means of a no-confidence vote. Those who are unhappy with a sitting president have a clear remedy: Nominate a viable candidate, make their case to the American people, and do everything possible to win the next election.

The new revolutionaries threaten to tear the nation apart. If they succeed, all Americans will have lost in the long run. Should the Left’s future candidate of choice win the White House, another band of disaffected voters may well use the Left’s tactics to snatch the prize from their grasp. The once sacrosanct stability of government and peaceful transfer of power will be lost.

In the short term, people on the Right who see their elected president violently hounded from office may decide to respond in kind. If that happens, we will have moved from a new American Revolution to the second American Civil War. One fears that the violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia may one day be remembered as the opening shots of that conflict.

About the Author
The author, a retired American diplomat now living in Israel, served in Europe, Africa, South America, Iraq, Washington, DC, and seven years at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya), and a Fellow at the Center for International Communication (Bar-Ilan University).
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