2020: The Thelma and Louise Election

By John Zmirak Published on August 4, 2020

The 1991 drama Thelma and Louise got hailed as a feminist answer to male “road” and “buddy” films. Critics saw it as an updating of the overpraised nihilist “classic,” Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In some ways it was. Both movies depicted not-so-smart Americans making reckless, foolish choices, then getting trapped by the consequences, till finally they think they have no choice but to race face-first to destruction.

And that’s what we face in November. Think of the Democratic and Republican parties as “buddies” from either movie. Each has made choices that were avoidable at the time. At key turning points, each took the road of least resistance. If it felt good, they did it. Now they’ve driven the country to the brink of the Grand Canyon, with cop sirens and flashing lights racing right behind us.

Oblivion, We Hope

Just like Thelma and Louise, we stare down at the abyss. Going back would mean facing up to the ugly results of all our choices. It would entail repentance, renouncing illusions we fostered, and paying the tab for our sins. Going forward? It promises fiery self-destruction, and a civic death we can hope will be quick and end in oblivion.

But what if it doesn’t? What if there’s a long, grim afterlife in the ruins? We’ll be leaving our kids and grandkids a country less like the one we inherited, and more like downtown Minneapolis or Portland. Will they chuckle bitterly as some blue state governor sends plague to our nursing homes? Will we deserve it? 

The Democrats Chose Anarchy

Both parties brought us here, in different ways. The Democrats, by choosing as a party in 1968 to turn away from their blue-collar roots and basic patriotic values. Instead, the party’s leaders — looking outside their Chicago convention at the riots that swept the city — decided to side not with the cops protecting them, but the rioters hurling bricks. They saw the energy, fury, and raw human excitement of those spoiled, reckless youths. Then decided they wanted to bottle it.

With the Civil Rights battle won, progressives realized that they liked fighting crusades. They’d gotten addicted to moral superiority, and intended to go overturning more social institutions, even wholesome and worthy ones. Like … heterosexual marriage, the human family, private property, and America’s founding principles. Just treat each one of those as if they were as evil as the race laws in Jim Crow Mississippi.

They’ve driven the country to the brink of the Grand Canyon, with cop sirens and flashing lights racing right behind us.

Don’t let blacks really rise and become middle class. Keep them tied to the federal government, and keep on stoking their rage. And that’s how we got to the point where Black Lives Matter demands we abolish the family and let children be “raised by the community” (i.e., the federal government, and street gangs).

The Republicans Chose Denial

Republicans made their own series of deals with the devil. The mainstream leaders of the GOP took far too long to understand — and many haven’t yet —that pragmatism isn’t practical. Utilitarianism proves useless. You can’t keep milking a cow if you refuse it healthy food. Letting the left win on the “social issues” again and again, fobbing off Christians with narrow “carve-outs” that briefly preserve their religious liberties, is a recipe for … well, Portland. Or New York City in 1980, and again in 2020.

Letting mass immigration hold down the wages of the native-born working class for an entire lifetime, and stack the country demographically to vote for Democrats was good for stock prices. But then again, the Dow Jones kept booming this year as our cities burned. Maybe Wall Street has cut its last ties of loyalty to Main Street, and expects to get rich selling rope to its own hangmen, as Lenin once joked. That man knew a thing or two about evil.

Apathetic or pro-choice, pro-gay, Republicans may have wanted a strong economy. Or a courageous military that would fight evildoers abroad. But they weren’t willing to make the choices required to save those things. They wanted easy abortions for their poorly brought up children, and not to get the stinkeye at country clubs from their gay acquaintances. They wanted us Christians to shut up and vote as they told us, or else get labeled “extremists” and laughed out of the party.

Trump Forced Us to Face Our Ugly Truths

When Donald Trump came along, he shocked both party’s elites. He’d been a pragmatic pro-choice, pro-business type, with little use for religion. However, unlike Mitt Romney and his ilk, Trump actually built things. He talked to and befriended the men who laid the bricks and poured the concrete. And he figured out that the short-sighted, unpatriotic compromises of America’s elites had holllowed out the bottom two-thirds of the U.S. population. He started actually listening to blue collar Americans — who soon introduced him to their pastors.

The Never-Trump faction stalked off in a hissy fit, insisting that its blend of surrender on the social issues and reckless wars abroad was the only “true conservatism.” And now to prove it, the same people want the Democrats to take even the Senate in November. 

Trump knew that something that cannot go on forever … will not. It will creak to a halt and stop. You can’t build a nation on constantly churning turmoil, just replacing its population with newcomers, as the natives march off to prison or die of opioid overdose. So he tried to change course. 

A Tough Choice, But an Obvious One

Not quickly enough. Not decisively enough. Trump let Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell fritter away two years of a GOP-controlled Congress. He didn’t get the Wall built. He let the leaders of the Federalist Society foist Neal Gorsuch on us. It’s only in the past 100 days that Trump has started doing what he should have in his first hundred.

But the alternative is driving headlong into a void. Quite literally, the Democrats have headed their ticket with a cipher, a shambling senile wreck of a once-mediocre plagiarist and opportunist also-ran. Democrats won’t be pulling the lever for “Joseph Biden” as president, but for whoever is on the secret committee that will really run the country.

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Democrats promise to nuke the filibuster, abolish the Electoral College, pack the Supreme Court, and nullify the Second Amendment. In one-party states like California and New York, they’ve used the virus to close our churches, while endorsing massive riots. They promise us an America that’s one big Portland, Oregon. And that’s what they’ll deliver—with no adults in the room to stop them.

If you don’t believe me, read this shocking, sobering account of what things are like in Portland, Oregon, where a far-left mayor and his pro-gay police are the crumbling face of order and sanity, facing down vicious anarchist mobs. If Biden wins, expect this nationwide. 

Yes, if we re-elect Donald Trump in November, we’ll be making the tougher choice. We’ll be accepting the very real prospect of violence sweeping through major cities. But that will happen anyway, even if the Democrats win. Because since 1968 they’ve been promising everything to everyone, and insisting the check won’t come due. The spoiled, violent thugs burning flags and bibles today will burn Joe Biden tomorrow. Quite literally, at high noon, on the National Mall.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream, and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.” 

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