Yang Against the Apocalyptic Imagination

I appreciate how Andrew Yang diffused the apocalyptic nightmare Bill Maher invokes during this interview, about Trump refusing to leave office, or if he does leave, complaining that the election of 2020 was rigged to remove him and taking to Twitter to call for armed rebellion.

If it was me, I might just lose my mind at the level of projection involved in this scenario, and go off on some rant about how dangerous such projection is, but Yang just refuses to play along, and instead offers a calm explanation for why such a catastrophe is not inevitable.

I have to say I am not optimistic about the possibility of reason prevailing in a world of nonsensical fiction, digital addiction and clickbait propaganda, but I have to appreciate the people who are keeping that faith.

I don’t worry about Trump not leaving office, just like I wasn’t worried about Trump becoming Fuhrer after his election, even though we were warned by such luminaries as Timothy Snyder of Yale that we had less than a year of democracy left. He’s just a single person, and this is a really big country with well-established and distributed power. As Yang notes in this clip, Trump would need the military to stay in the White House. I might add that even if he was able to secure that particular ground, the secession of the states would soon follow. This whole fantasy of Trump’s power imagines that he’s literally superhuman, and he isn’t.

He’s also not a complete idiot. The man didn’t even want to be president to begin with, as Michael Cohen revealed. He was aiming at increasing the power of his brand, as he always has been, not taking on the real burden he ended up with. Why shouldn’t he be happy to get back to being even more rich, more famous, and more plugged in to circles of elite power? Why should he want to destroy the country to prolong his time in the crucible? What does he have to gain?

Here’s where the tendency to apocalyptic imaginings and bad fiction collide, in the figure of a senseless villain motivated by nothing other than a desire to destroy all that is good.

It is this apocalyptic mindset that worries me, which in its empowerment could very well make its nightmare a reality.

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