An Eerie Familiarity

An Eerie Familiarity

June 5, 2024

Thursday’s conviction of former President Donald Trump on 34 felony counts in a New York State court has shocked many conservative activists and supporters of the 45th President. While an appeal is certain, much could be said about the historic nature and ominous implications of these legal proceedings. Instead I want to take this opportunity to make a few comments, connect it back to Texas politics, and commend a few resources to our readers that will help them understand and navigate the interesting times that we are living through.

The Constitution?

It is worth noting that this farce of a trial and blatant, politically motivated conviction has occurred on the heels of a great online discussion among right-leaning talking heads. This debate has centered around the question of whether or not the US Constitution is still the law of the land and what the implications are for us as a people if it isn’t? Political realists have taken great pains to explain that the original function of the US Constitution been fundamentally altered several times since its ratification and that through amendment and judicial reinterpretation, it no longer acts as a restraint on federal overreach but has, for the last 100 years, operated as a grant of powers to the federal government, virtually unlimited in scope. These facts have fallen on deaf ears. That being said, the Constitution crowd has gone radio silent since last Thursday afternoon and many of them are now flying upside-down flags in their social media avatars- an unspoken acknowledgement of the crisis they were denying prior to President Trump’s conviction.

Many well-meaning people still doggedly cling to the notion that the Constitution is the eternal and inviolable bedrock of American political jurisprudence despite evidence to the contrary. Our friends on the Right pine for a political ideal that hasn’t existed for 175 years and this sentimentality prevents them from seeing political reality. The US Constitution, like the free market, separation of powers, checks and balances, limited government, and the private sphere, are all ideological constructs meant to justify and grant legitimacy to whatever socioeconomic or political games our ruling elite happen to be up to at any given moment in modern America. If it wasn’t enough that conservatives assume these ideological principles are always at work, the artificial political reality that operates in the imagination of most conservatives literally handicaps them. It prevents them from understanding and definitively addressing our fundamental problems.

Nate Fisher and Josh Abbotoy recently wrote an X article on the nature of our political reality (now unmasked for the first time in the eyes of many) within the context of the debate on the Constitution. The first few paragraphs sum up the article nicely.

“Our written constitution will not save us. The very pre-conditions that make possible republican self-governance are disintegrating. If we cannot trust the courts and juries at the foundation of the American legal system, how can we count on more intricate constitutional procedures—or even the processes by which elections are conducted—to protect us?

So while we hope for a future where constitutional principles once again govern our body politik, in the interim we must see the playing field with clear eyes. Legal appeals are necessary, but not sufficient. Electoral wins will be necessary, but not sufficient. In-kind reprisals will be necessary, but not sufficient.

In a state of nature, differences are resolved by power. We do not shirk from this reality. Our obligations as Christian men—as husbands, fathers, neighbors, and Americans—require us to accrue and wield power. If this frightens you, consider a world where only our enemies have this mindset.”

Meditate on that last sentence for a minute. If you are a true conservative, you know exactly what this looks and feels like. While our side gladly dons the restraints of civil politics with its rules, procedures, and decorum, our political enemies have long jettisoned any pretense of playing by the rules. Last week’s conviction of former President Donald Trump should seem eerily familiar to us here in Texas.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

The Machiavellian campaign by the Texas political establishment to remove Attorney General Ken Paxton was ripped from the same establishment playbook, bearing the familiar hallmarks of an entrenched political cabal seeking to forcibly remove a powerful political rival that threatens their status quo. Do you see the connection? Follow me closely. The political parties are merely veils that hide a bi-partisan political establishment that cooperates across party lines at the Federal -AND- State level. When this establishment jettisons agreed-upon political norms and procedures in naked grabs for power, insurgent conservatives can’t afford to pretend they are still playing checkers when their opponents have switched to chess.How do we respond? Do we become outraged and take to social media to vent our frustration at the hypocrisy and hope it all works out somehow? All of those “wow, imagine if the situation was reversed” memes don’t seem to have much of an effect, do they?

Last year I had the privilege of traveling around to various True Texas Project locations to deliver a 45 minute talk on politics and activism in a post-constitutional America. One of the main points of my talk was that when the left discards the rules and governs solely by force, we are forced into a position where only power can check power. When the political establishment doesn’t even bother with a pretense of legitimacy, whether it be President Trump’s conviction or Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment, the people are in a precarious situation. They must demand that their elected officials forcefully respond to lawlessness and corruption in kind. They must use power to defeat the political establishment and they can’t let the people who are intent on destroying the fabric of our culture decide when the rules apply and when they don’t.When the next legislature convenes in Austin, conservatives will finally have some semblance of representation long denied them by the robber barons and their hirelings that have dominated the Republican Legislature for two decades. We have a unique opportunity to begin legislatively dismantling the Federal Leviathan and checking the Progressive Revolution by using the force of good law. We have a window to restore moral order in our land and we should expect the new crop of conservative legislators to fight fire with fire.

As conservative activists that have seen our institutions corrupted, our culture polluted, our State invaded and Legislature unresponsive, I want to remind you that we are not powerless. There are many things we can do that can have a long-lasting impact. C Jay Engel has given activists a roadmap in his article “Revolution from the Middle.” This approach was something I mentioned in my TTP Post-Constitutional class and C Jay does a remarkable job elaborating on it. Lastly, I would encourage everyone, especially our new legislators, to pick up a copy of Auron Macintyre’s new book “The Total State” to begin understanding the true scale and nature of what the good guys are really up against. Until then, keep building and organizing the True Texas Army and keep the heat on the people who are supposed to be working for you.

-Ryan McCubbin, TTP Board Member