America's Future Is in Jeopardy | Opinion

The crisis that has unfolded since Wednesday's wholly illegitimate storming of the U.S. Capitol has taken a very dark turn, and I am genuinely worried about what will happen next.

First, however, it is important to make it clear from the outset that I believe it was a huge mistake for the rally outside the White House to have taken place at all. Half a million people gathered in Washington. All of them were convinced that the election had been "stolen." So it was utterly irresponsible for people like Rudy Giuliani to urge on the crowd by talking about "trial by combat." The ugly spectacle of protestors stopping a joint session of Congress, in which Joe Biden's victory was being certified, will haunt our memories forever.

Sadly, the assorted bunch of extremists intent on bringing anarchy and disorder to America's seat of democracy have overshadowed the vast majority of decent people who attended the rally. I'm talking about the everyday folks who hold Donald Trump in the highest regard. He provides a voice for them and millions of other Americans who distrust the mainstream media, feel like they're being silenced by social media companies and see a world in which the rich and powerful only benefit themselves. They love him.

What concerns me now is the reaction to the protests. Ironically, it could result in a greater risk to peace and harmony than last Wednesday's disorder itself. If Trump is martyred, there will be a terrible price to pay.

Ever since the president's surprise victory in 2016, the Democrats have been afflicted by what many have called "Trump Derangement Syndrome." This almost-pathological desire to right what they perceive to be a "wrong"—i.e., Trump's electoral success—is driven by a self-proclaimed moral superiority and a conviction that Trump's triumph was due to Russian interference or some other spurious conspiracy theory. The Democrats have never accepted the legitimacy of Trump's presidency. Since he first entered the White House, every attempt has been made to prevent the normal functioning of government—from the seemingly endless Mueller special counsel inquiry to a farcical impeachment process.

National guardsmen and police at the U.S.Capitol
National guardsmen and police at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 Spencer Platt/Getty Images

I saw a similar denial of the truth here in the United Kingdom, when many leading public figures spent years trying to overturn the 2016 Brexit referendum result. All this tells me that the so-called "liberal" elite is, in fact, wholly illiberal. It is motivated by nothing more than a burning hatred of its sundry opponents.

Statements in the last few days from Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi tend to reflect this stance. They certainly indicate that we are entering the period of peak vindictiveness against the 45th president of the United States. The aim is to disgrace Trump and, ultimately, to enmesh him in a series of legal battles that will put him in jail. Winston Churchill once said that in victory, the victorious should show "magnanimity." There is no sign of that spirit among the American Left, and this attitude could backfire spectacularly.

The First Amendment's guarantee of the right to free speech is cherished by most Americans. Free speech does have some limits, of course—whether in the public or the private square. Yet for Twitter to have banned Trump from its platform on the basis of its claim that he could incite violence in the coming days and weeks is purely speculative—especially as he has now conceded the election and promised an orderly transition of power on January 20.

It looks to me very much like the titans of Silicon Valley are now working together to try to censor Trump and his closest followers. This is another huge mistake. Just as Brexit voters were ridiculed for being uneducated, knuckle-dragging racists, the Washington elite looks down on MAGA supporters. But there are a lot of them—and if social media companies and the Democratic Party think that silencing Trump will make these tens of millions of people disappear overnight, they are in for a terrible shock.

If Trump is inadvertently elevated to the status of sainthood via the reactions of his opponents, there is a plausible danger that the anger and contempt which already exists against the political establishment will give rise to a new and powerful far-right movement in America. Its leaders would make Trump look like a centrist.

As things stand, I believe this could easily happen. I pray, therefore, that the victors of 2020 step back and take stock of what they are doing and how they are behaving. If they don't, I fear for America's future.

Nigel Farage is senior editor-at-large of Newsweek's "The Debate" platform.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.