Oct 9, 2020 | OPINION | By Hank Bedingfield | Illustration by Bibi Powers

The non-stop shit show of our burnt-out empire is ending with a grand finale.

Last week’s debate proved the worst fears and stripped paranoia from the classification of a mental disorder. There will be armed conflict and blood in the streets in the coming months, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Trump is rallying an army of the vile and insane, preparing a vicious, blood-thirsty minority to take the country. He’s said he won’t leave, and he won’t dismiss threats of a civilian coup — when the lunatics are finally cut loose on the town.

“Stand down and stand by” wasn’t just Trump’s cryptic, ham-handed ode to white supremacy, as it’s been boiled-down to and raved about by the media (rightfully so). These aren’t just battlefield orders for the recent months of social unrest and civil rights explosions. These are orders for Nov. 3. That’s the day the Proud Boys and mobs of rabble are waiting for, when they’ll get their next command.

While Trump and his gimpish — in reference to the Pulp Fiction depiction — are priming every legal avenue to discredit the coming election, our attention should really be focused on the more barbarous ones. Think Mao’s Cultural Revolution meets the fall of Rome: hordes of overweight, gun-toting, sexually frustrated, keyboard warriors turned fanatical fascists.

Government sources are already plainly aware of this fact. The business of “custom bunkers,” which technically occupies the fringe of the real estate industry and hasn’t had any significant action since Y2K at the turn of the century, is seeing unprecedented sales. The one percent will survive this thing sipping champagne under the ground with the comfort of subterranean hot tubs and California king beds. This thing is predetermined and nearly unavoidable.

The only way to keep the peace and dodge what will otherwise be unspeakable disregard for human life is for Biden to secure an absolute mandate on Election Day, a Reagan-style landslide to embarrass Trump out of his skin and out of the White House. This means voting like never before.

But this won’t happen. The outdated voting process in our country, plagued by consistently abysmal voter turnout and gut punched by COVID-19, all but eliminates the possibility of a quick, brutal, election night rejection of Trump.

This thing will take months and those months will be painful. Without a mandate, this is a street fight. Trump’s ranks of bigots will be out and ready. The only question is if Biden’s base will go out and meet them. Will the ragtag coalition of middling, apologist centrists — held together by a common enemy, threat of planetary collapse, and nothing else, a bond as flimsy as a cobweb — be able to meet these white supremacists and multigenerational nativists, whose only high comes from trolling on Facebook and street stomping minorities?

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