As of this writing, the outcome of the Presidential election is uncertain although it appears Biden will “win”, thanks to questionable vote totals from urban areas. The Senate looks as if it will remain Republican, and the Democrats have held onto the House although with a reduced majority. The most important result of the election is, however, clear: the legitimacy of the state has taken another hit.
Regardless of who wins the Presidency, the opposing Party will not see the victor’s triumph as legitimate. If Trump wins, it will probably be via the courts, and the Left will regard that as undemocratic and thus illegitimate. If Biden wins after boatloads of votes from urban areas pour in, many after election day, the Right will view the election as stolen. I have no knowledge of what is going on in places where those votes are being counted (or added). But urban political machines, almost all Democrat, have a long history of stuffing the ballot box and intentionally miscounting votes. The Right has every reason to be suspicious that it is happening again.
If in the end we have Biden as President with a Republican Senate and a Democratic House, the situation may stabilize for a time. Biden’s personal inclination will be to govern from the center, and a Republican Senate will give him the excuse to do so. He can tell the hard Left that he would like to do as they want, but cannot get it through the Senate.
However, control of the Senate may hinge on one or two Senate seat run-offs on January 5 in Georgia. Nowhere has the vote count in the Presidential contest been more suspicious, because the Democratic machine that runs Atlanta is both corrupt and clever. Late votes from Atlanta could give one or two more Senate seats to the Democrats, yielding them control of the Senate. If that happens, it will be much harder for Biden to turn the crazies down.
That, in turn, would open the door to what could well be the American state’s final intensification of its crisis of legitimacy before its collapse. Of the three branches of government, the only one that still has broad legitimacy is the Supreme Court. If Biden proposes packing that court and gets his proposal through two Democratic Houses of Congress–no sure thing, as some Democrats will be wary–then that branch too will lose its legitimacy. The Right will not accept judgements from a court that has been turned into an unelected legislature whose members have lifetime seats and whose decisions are unappealable.
There are other actions a President Biden (or Harris) could take that might bring about the dissolution of the republic. One would be opening the southern border and admitting millions of “refugees”. Another, seemingly unlikely but not so, would be a complete shutdown of American life to control COVID-19. That would enrage millions of Americans while all but guaranteeing a second Great Depression, this time with mounting inflation instead of deflation (economists will tell you that is impossible but a quick look at Venezuela will show you it’s not).
The core problem is that no one in Washington realizes the state is already in a legitimacy crisis. They thus make no effort to preserve the state’s legitimacy, such as it still is. The Democrats think, well, if we win politically we will just use the normal instruments of state coercion, the police and the military, to force what we decide on the rest of the nation. They cannot imagine that the police and the military, most of whose personnel voted for President Trump, might refuse to obey their orders. Yet history is full of cases where it happened.
That, in the end, is what a crisis of legitimacy is all about: will anyone do what the state orders them to do? In a legitimate state, people obey without being coerced because they accept the state’s decision even when they may disagree with them. An illegitimate state can survive for a while through coercion if the police and the military will obey orders. But even if that works for a time, that time runs out, as we have seen in recent decades in many Communist countries.
There, the result was a new government in some places, state disintegration elsewhere (including Russia). Whichever awaits us (my bet is the latter), the election of 2020 has already moved us leagues towards our fate.