Get ready for Strong Man Populism. The bad guys - the soft elite who think it can hold onto the societal power it inherited, but did not earn, through petty oppressions - will call it “authoritarianism.” Of course, they like authoritarianism when they are the authority - that’s why they feel no compunction about remaking our country and culture without bothering with obtaining our buy-in. But history teaches - not that they would know it, because they have never been taught it - that a backlash is inevitable.
We’re going to turn to someone who won’t be deterred by cultural caterwauling, who will not be satisfied with a status quo ante that is deeply anti-American, who will ruthlessly use his power to reclaim our society for us, and who will wreak vengeance on our enemies.
That last one is important. They must learn never to do this again.
We’re going to elect a Strong Man Populist because the current crisis is intolerable, and because we understand that the Weak (Wo)Man Caucus - think pliable puffball Jeb! and Chamber of Commerce-curious squishes like Nikki!, Kristi! and Asa! - don’t know what time it is.
It’s time to smash the ruling class - an odd thing for conservatives to want, but then we’ve never quite had a ruling class that sucked so much.
Strong Man Populism will come, and dumb people will find this ironic, because we are, at heart, still a free people unwilling to merely survive on scraps as serfs. Oh, some of us are eager drones - the lazy, the stupid, the morally illiterate who empower the mutants against us, or who sit on their moms’ couches playing video games. But the rest of us are getting fed up. We can’t be free when we are cowering in our homes, unable to speak, with our interests left undefended. We will take our freedom back, at the ballot box, because our failed ruling class has, well, failed.
Drug-addled hobos, junkies, and degenerates infest our cities and, increasingly our suburbs. The elite answer is, of course, to destroy the suburbs - equity demands everything outside their gated communities suck equally.
Our teachers, in the rare cases they teach, teach our kids to hate our country. Our warriors, in the all too common cases they war, lose, and also teach our kids to hate our country.
Our establishment scoffs at laws, everything from election rules to regulations against spying on citizens who oppose the regime. At the same time, it lets street criminals run rampant. The law enforcement agencies do nothing, the media does nothing, and the courts do nothing. But when we break their laws, watch out - especially you LEGO insurrectionists.
Our voices are silenced, we have no institutional advocates; the institutions designed to vindicate our rights won’t. That limits our options going forward to opting for submission - that’s the aptly-named David French solution - or opting to burn it all down.
I say flick the Bic.
We’ll be told we hate democracy. Yet, for all the performative anguish about the perilous peril posed by selfie-snapping grandmas in the Rotunda - the best thing ever are the media blue checks insisting the sight of a faux Viking and some elderly tourists so traumatized them that they must see therapy - the elite sure hates democracy. Well, to be precise, it hates democracy when we attempt to participate in it. There’s a high fuss factor out there right now over how uppity we peasants are getting, and the message is clear.
Stop complaining, racist.
Stop complaining, insurrectionist.
Stop complaining, Jesus gun people who like the flag.
But people aren’t obeying, and the usual suspects are mortified. How dare we say “No,” but dare we do, and the ruling class can’t even.
So the elite fight back, aided and abetted by the surrender caucus of formerly relevant conservagrifters who take a break from thinking about their pool boys and their wives to come out and explain why True Conservatism™ means absolute submission to whatever the establishment wants.
You can see it in response to the poison that is CRT. According to unserious people, for us to decide what lazy, unionized public school teachers get to teach our kids is some sort of assault on the academic freedom of cheesy, pudgy timeservers. There’s a premise problem here. Teachers have to teach something. The question is who gets to decide. One would think that should be, you know, the people – we sure don’t want democracy dying in darkness, do we?
Yes, they want democracy to die in darkness, preferably painfully.
But when the ordinary ways to have our voices heard are closed off to us, we’ll find extraordinary ones. Trump was one. He was a warning. But he was, despite the mass-micturition of the elite - no radical. He had no desire to lay waste; he wanted to rule, but as a member of what he did not understand was a terminally ill ruling caste. Remember how he was caught up in institutional prestige - this college was great, that company was respected? This, as well as the fact that he showed up without a Rolodex and needed to rely on a bunch of establishment acolyte-kissers, made him too weak to truly use his power. Yet even with his limitations, he did many amazing and consequential things.
The Strong Man Populist coming soon will not have that weakness. He will not hesitate to use his power to clean house, to prosecute the criminals, to defeat our enemies, both foreign and domestic. Some Republicans will recoil in horror at the idea of us actually winning. “We can’t abandon our fundamental norms,” they will fret, and that’s literally true. We can’t abandon our fundamental norms because the establishment these shills flack for already abandoned our fundamental norms over the last five years. Zombie norms will not restrain the Strong Man Populist.
He will unleash the power of “No.”
No, hobos, you can’t live on our streets.
No, criminals, you don’t get to commit crimes.
No, Pentagon, you are going to focus on winning wars.
No, academia, you do not get to take our money and use it to turn our kids into little commie saps.
No, tech jerks, you do not get to decide what we can read and say.
No, climate cultists, we are not going to live in caves because of your bizarre, quasi-religious weather obsession.
No, media, you do not get to be partisan advocates and also treated like neutral truth tellers.
No, Democrats, you don’t get to steal elections.
“No” is the weapon of the Strong Man Populist; it is our weapon. It is a rejection of elite hegemony, and the ruthless use of power to enforce it. And it is coming.
The establishment should have heeded the warning that was Donald Trump. But if it was smart enough to do that, it never would have botched its cultural curation so spectacularly that it made him necessary.
The best part of the coming Strong Man Populism will be watching them cry.
My sixth Kelly Turnbull action thriller, The Split, drops on 7/22. Get the most recent bestseller, Crisis as well as my other four novels about what happens when America splits into red and blue countries, People's Republic, Indian Country, Wildfire, and Collapse!