‘Stalin’ and ‘Save the USA’ trend on Twitter. Has America’s political warfare taken a turn for the absurd?

‘Stalin’ and ‘Save the USA’ trend on Twitter. Has America’s political warfare taken a turn for the absurd?

Even during the life and rule of Joseph Stalin, few in the US would have appealed to the Soviet ruler to save their country. Yet, when “Stalin” and “Save the USA” trended alongside each other on Friday, people checking their Twitter feeds would be forgiven for thinking that Americans had turned to radical solutions amid a bitterly contested election and widening political divide.

‘Stalin’ and ‘Save the USA’ trend on Twitter. Has America’s political warfare taken a turn for the absurd?

A closer look revealed that the words simply represented new battles in the US’ endless left-right war, a conflict that’s political and cultural and has escalated to the point where both sides are seriously discussing the prospect of secession, or even civil war.

“Stalin” trended as conservatives raged at Time Magazine for making Joe Biden and Kamala Harris its joint ‘Person of the Year’. The choice was seen as a thumb in the nose of President Donald Trump, and his supporters reminded their opponents that Time plastered the mustachioed visage of Stalin on its front cover in 1939 and 1942, joining a shortlist of historical figures – including Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon and Mikhail Gorbachev – to make ‘Man of the Year’ more than once.

Trump earned ‘Person of the Year’ in 2016, and that year the same online battle was fought in reverse, with his opponents keen to point out that Adolf Hitler graced the magazine’s cover in 1938.

As for “Save the USA,” Trump himself was responsible for starting that trend, after he implored the Supreme Court to rule in his favor in an upcoming lawsuit and override Joe Biden’s apparent election victory in four key swing states. The lawsuit, filed by the state of Texas, is backed by 18 states and more than 100 Republican members of Congress, as well as the president himself.

In light of an ongoing investigation into Biden’s son Hunter’s foreign dealings, Trump said the “Biden administration will be a scandal plagued mess for years to come,” and called on the nation’s highest court to side with him. “They must show great Courage & Wisdom,” he tweeted. “Save the USA!!!”

Yet Trump had barely spoken before liberals suggested how they reckon the US could be saved: by mask mandates against the coronavirus, by Trump conceding defeat, and by voting his supporters in Congress out of power.

With the results of last month’s election still bitterly disputed, battle lines between conservatives and liberals are drawn and redrawn by the hour. While the cultural clash shows no signs of abating any time soon, the political struggle should at least be resolved by the Supreme Court before Biden’s inauguration next month. But no matter the outcome, almost one half of the country – whether that’s Trump’s 75 million voters or Biden’s 81 million – looks certain not to accept defeat.

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