The finance house Citibank recently warned its clients in an election note of the risk of “emerging market” type political disruptions. Certainly the high degree of political polarization, the emergence of populist figures on both ends of the political spectrum and the warnings of post-election violence are closer to a developing world country than the most powerful, advanced and sophisticated country in the world.
I have therefore presented a scenario building exercise about a hypothetical post-election future for the United States. Please note that this is a scenario, not a forecasting prediction and it is highly unlikely that such events would unfold, should Donald Trump narrowly lose the election.
“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
“The era of individualism, liberalism and democracy, of humanitarianism and freedom, is nearing its end. The masses will accept with resignation the victory of the Caesars, the strong men, and will obey them…”
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
The huge crowds watching the results come through on the night of 8 November 2016 were initially excited but became progressively more depressed as it become clear that Hilary Clinton was going to narrowly beat Donald Trump in one of the most polarizing US election campaigns in the history of the republic. At 4:00 in the morning, CNN called the election for Hilary Clinton and the huge crowd booed and chanted “CNN suck” and “lock her up” at the mega TV screen.
As America woke up to the news that Hilary Clinton had squeaked in with 273 electoral college votes the army of volunteer pro-Trump supporters who had been monitoring the poll stations were flooding the Trump campaign headquarters with warnings of massive voter fraud. As the social media websites started to cover reports of problems with electronic voting in key swing states, across the country, spontaneous groups of Trump supporters started rallying to resist what they saw as a rigged election.
In an explosive statement, Donald Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox News in the evening of 9 November, denounced the result as rigged, illegal and refused to accept the legitimacy of President-Elect Hilary Clinton. Trump called on his supporters across the country to take up arms, join protests and refuse to accept the validity of the election. The political and media establishment condemned the comments as reckless, irresponsible and ill fitting of a political candidate.
Across the country, millions of ordinary Americans answered their hero’s call and small rallies were held to denounce the election result. Reports of armed clashes between Trump supporters and black militants in the south sent the stock market crashing and gold soaring to over $1,500 an ounce. President Obama, in an emergency address to the country, condemned the remarks by Donald Trump and called on all Americans to respect the election result. It didn’t work.
Whilst polling indicated that the majority of Americans respected the election result, a significant minority didn’t, and these overwhelmingly white working middle class Americans were committed to preventing the inauguration of Hilary Clinton. Major cities across the United States saw rallies and counter-rallies between Trump and Clinton supporters. In key southern and mid-western states, armed militias started to patrol the streets and joined tens of thousands across the “flyover” states in protesting the election result.
Global indexes continued to plummet as America entered a constitutional crisis amidst a worsening spiral of violence in its cities. Attacks on the police in the inner cities exploded and violent incidents between armed Trump supporters and black militant’s accelerated the drift into anarchy. On 28 November, the German banking giant Deutsche Bank collapsed due to massive derivative trades which had gone wrong. The resulting panic led to a disastrous drop in stock markets around the world, in particular, the stocks of the big American finance houses including Citibank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
The combination of another global banking crisis, a constitutional crisis within the United States and the scenes of thousands of Germans queuing to pull their money out of the German banking system was a “perfect storm” that destroyed any remaining confidence in the American banking system. On 1 December, President Obama, in conjunction with President Elect Clinton, announced an emergency package of measures to bail out the American banks.
Donald Trump, who was now holed up and surrounded by heavy security, condemned the second bailout package by social media. The self-proclaimed President Elect, accused Crooked Hilary of enriching her super-rich Wall Street donors over the interests of the American taxpayer. Millions of ordinary Americans, outraged and enraged by a second bailout of the “banksters” started joining the pro-Trump rallies across the country. In an ominous warning to the Washington elite, in many cases, local police were clearly sympathetic to the protest movement.
Donald Trump ratcheted up the pressure and called on his armed supporters to march on Washington which was scheduled to be on Saturday 3 December. Millions answered the call and up to 3 million citizens, armed to the teeth, started to find their way to Washington D.C. President Obama, along with his key national security advisers, agreed to surround the capital with National Guard, Homeland Security and police units to prevent the armed citizens from getting into the centre of the capital. A ring of steel surrounded the capital of the country.
As hundreds of thousands of armed citizens reached the heavily armed lines of policemen and Homeland Security units on the morning on 3 December, something extraordinary happened. The policemen and soldiers chatted to the protesters and it became clear that the overwhelming majority of the men in uniform were sympathetic to the protesters cause. As the crowds continued to grow the officers decided that the risk of shooting was too high and for the sake of civil order the protesters would be allowed through. The police units were the first to open up a corridor and a huge roar was heard from the crowd as they poured into the heart of the capital.
Future historians would note that pre-election polling had indicated that the majority of ordinary soldiers had backed Donald Trump and every single police union in the country had endorsed Donald Trump for president, prior to the election. It was well known that the police despised Hilary Clinton and many would wonder whether elements within the police had deliberately allowed the protesters through in revenge. Either way, the “wall of steel” had been breached and citadel was now open to being stormed.
At this point, amidst chaos, factions of the military and police units joined the armed protesters as they surged towards Congress and the White House. The White House staff got into helicopters and flew from the capital in panic as shooting broke out within the city. President Obama and Donald Trump had an extremely tense conversation and failed to reach an agreement. With the world media watching agog as armed protesters surrounded Congress, baying for Clinton’s blood, the US General Staff had an emergency video conference with Trump’s inner circle.
The Generals blinked first. Trump demanded and got the right to take over the government as part of a national unity government and would be declared the official President-Elect of the United States. President Obama, Congress and the political class would be given a fait accompli.
Amid huge security, a fleet of military aircraft, with key American Generals and the Trump team, flew into Washington. The White House had now been cleared and was protected by heavily armed marines answering only to the General Staff. Donald Trump, now President-Elect, walked into the White House and at an emergency press conference, announced to an astonished world that he was now leading a military government. The new American strongman, surrounded by five star generals, ordered all citizens to return to their homes until civil order was restored.