SELLERS: 5 Game-Changing Scenarios that Could ‘Eclipse’ the Current Political Trajectory

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(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) One of the most powerful moments in modern cinema may be the ending to Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. (Warning: Spoiler ahead if you have failed to watch this 18-year-old film. Skip to the next section.)

The 2006 movie, filmed with limited dialogue in the Yucatec Mayan language and using a cast of indigenous actors, found the Aussie-raised star who had reached the pinnacle of film success as a Hollywood heartthrob and Oscar-winning director becoming even bolder in his artistic choices.

Gibson saw huge returns on 2004’s Passion of the Christ, the Jim Caviezel-fronted blockbuster that drew audiences for its authenticity—despite all odds and projections that its overt religious themes, intense gore and the decision to film entirely in the dead Hebrew language of Aramaic would be box-office poison.

Apocalypto, meanwhile, in spite of its ambition, presaged Gibson’s own unfortunate downfall.

Although it garnered critical praise from many in the industry, its release coincided with Gibson’s July 2006 drunken driving arrest and, worse, anti-Semitic rant (in the days back before such things were widely embraced by the Left).

Fittingly, Apocalypto‘s ending portrayed a similar moment—a sort of deus ex machina that changes the entire paradigm with only a moment’s notice.

The film’s two-hour plot revolves around the efforts by Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) to escape after a warring tribe of Mayan raiders sacks his village, taking him hostage to be a human sacrifice.

It reaches its climax with a solar eclipse (see feature video above), which spares the captive hero from a certain doom and moves the action into its third and final act, culminating in a black-swan denouement that is both unexpected and entirely logical.

Jaguar Paw reaches the coast with his captors in hot pursuit—only to see ships bearing Spanish conquistadors preparing to disembark.

‘A THIEF IN THE NIGHT’

Having become deeply invested in the protagonist, viewers who know, in hindsight, how the bigger historical picture will play out are left with a sense of ambivalence and dread.

The immediate crisis may be resolved, but a much bigger one has been set in motion that will ultimately lead to the “extinction” of both warring tribes as their cultures are absorbed by the more powerful colonizers, who will trade the barbarity of human sacrifice for more humane and impersonal forms of mass genocide.

One could read into the film, knowing Gibson’s deep-seated Christian faith, a sort of religious allegory—in which the conquistadors represent the final Judgment Day, and all worldly conflicts and tribulations, no matter how severe, suddenly seem petty by comparison.

Indeed, the apostle Paul wrote that “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

However, five years after the events of 9/11, Gibson and his Iran-born Apocalypto writing partner, Farhad Safinia, also were catering to an American audience that knew all too well what such moments felt like, as the miniscule and mundane give way to earth-shattering sea change.

Having recently endured the cataclysmic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, most contemporary readers can likewise relate on some level.

And there is a growing sense that another game-changing event may lie in store for use in the near future that could reframe all of the current existential crises we face in a much broader perspective.

NUCLEAR SUMMER

Already, during the course of the 2024 presidential election, we’ve seen a few surprise twists and reversals, most of which have played to the benefit of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

An October surprise—the prime tidbit of opposition research that once threw a candidacy into tumult—does not work in the modern era due to the unprecedented access to information, not to mention two leading candidates, both running as incumbents, who faced each other in the previous presidential race, albeit under very different circumstances.

Instead, the strategically timed stealth attack has given way to a nuclear summer—a barrage of scorched-earth attacks designed to maximize the collateral damage on American democracy through a series of psy-ops and constitutional crises, while leaving citizens in a perpetual state of DECFON 1.

Even so, it is becoming harder and harder to manipulate a jaded and cynical population that has been inoculated and inured by the hearty dosage of gaslighting in the Biden era to reject the propaganda that does not align with their own lived experiences.

The Impeachment—COVID—George Floyd combo was sufficient distraction in 2020 to allow fraudsters to change the rules of the political game and to normalize what would, in any other era, have been immediately deemed unacceptable dirty play.

However, every gambit since then has been met with diminishing returns: the dubiously politicized lawfare prosecutions; the CIA-crafted Ukraine war; the systematic use of demagoguery, disinformation, censorship, intimidation, cancellation and other strong-arm communist-inspired tactics to silence conservative critics.

It seems it will take something even more drastic in 2024 to derail the Trump train—and that has many on the Right even more worried than those on the Left.

UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS

As former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously said with respect to Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, the biggest threats are the ones that cannot be anticipated.

“[A]s we know, there are known knowns—there are things we know we know,” Rumsfeld said, while reflecting on the capabilities and limitations of America’s intelligence-gathering community.

“We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know,” he continued. “But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

Approaching the 2024 election, Republicans must consider all of these various factors also.

The known knowns include factors such as ballot-harvesting in swing states (alongside other election-integrity issues), and Democrats’ plan to campaign heavily on abortion, as well as other political wedge issues. If GOP leaders are unable to offer strong solutions to these while also putting forth a strong offensive game plan, then shame on them.

There are a litany of known unknowns: the disposition of Trump’s trials, the Democrats’ possible plans to swap out Biden with another candidate, the loss of another GOP House member giving Democrats full control of Congress and the direction that the economy will take (pending possible Fed rate cuts), to name a few. All of these fall into the category of foreseeable challenges for which the GOP should have contingency plans in place within the existing political framework.

As for the unknown unknowns, those would be events that, theoretically, might be foreseeable, but the impact of which cannot be calculated due to their magnitude—in effect because they will render altogether moot the prior political wranglings.

Below are a few possible scenarios that could cause a disruption on that scale, and why they seem especially plausible at this rare cosmic juncture.

An Act of Terrorism

Putting terrorism into the category of unknowns is a stretch since it seems almost inevitable given the current open-border situation. Yet, the response to it may vary greatly. Conventional wisdom would dictate that it would be a boon for Trump, underscoring the threat of illegal immigration brought about by Biden’s failed policies and effecting the same sort of rally-around-the-flag patriotism that sent George W. Bush’s approval rating soaring during his first term.

However, Biden also could, like Bush, use the incumbency to his advantage in a variety of ways, first and foremost by spinning the narrative in a moment when vulnerability compels Americans to look to their elected leaders. Democrats have traditionally fumbled in this arena, as the Obama administration did with Benghazi and ISIS, but with their seat of power at stake, they could learn from their past missteps to find just the right scapegoat.

A Cloward–Piven Event

Whether it stems from a natural disaster, a pandemic, food shortages, an act of terrorism or domestic unrest, the Left might exploit the next “good crisis” to declare martial law and suspend civil rights.

There are a variety of ways this could happen, such as the soon-to-be-ratified treaty empowering the World Health Organization to mobilize the response to “Disease X.”

A coordinated “Black Lives Matter” type of movement with nationwide riots, potentially involving Palestinian insurgents or illegal immigrants in response to some catalyzing event, could do the job.

Or, of course, there is always the possibility of an FBI-orchestrated false-flag operation to put the blame on right-wing “domestic violent extremists.” One theory is that Trump will be found guilty in one of his many lawfare cases but the Supreme Court will step in to overturn it, giving leftists the justification they need both to riot and to declare the court invalid.

Or perhaps there won’t even be any event at all, considering Biden has given signals of his intention to declare climate change a pandemic-level emergency that would require mobilizing his army of environmental brown shirts.

Assassination

Again, it is a bit of gray area under the current circumstances to see the death of an ailing octogenarian leader like Biden as an “unknown unknown” since it could well happen due to natural causes at any given moment. It is also much less likely—unless it were a well-covered-up insider job like the Kennedy assassination—that Biden would be at risk of this happening due to his security detail and his REAL protection: Vice President Kamala Harris. That said, if the Democrats or others in the deep state have a strong enough incentive to dispatch with him, never say never.

As for Trump, due to the temperature of the rhetoric coming from the Left, it seems a very real possibility exists that an unhinged hombre might make an attempt at taking him out as the election approaches, especially if his victory begins to seem more inevitable. It might make a martyr of him, but for all practical intents and purposes, it leaves open the gaping question of who would be next in line, particularly if he has not yet selected a running mate.

Although the obvious choice would be Donald Trump Jr., the presidential namesake and father to young kids might be reluctant to thus put himself in harm’s way. A safer bet would be that Nikki Haley would step in to comfort the grieving MAGA nation while helping to offer national “unity” on a coalition ticket with Obama surrogate Susan Rice.

World War III

Speaking of the aforementioned Ms. Rice, Obama’s former national security adviser has resurfaced from under her rock recently, which can only mean bad things.

Rice is now a free agent, and was trotted out as an attack dog last month, using her supposed authority to claim that Trump poses a “national security threat.”

Whatever country the administration and its flunkies declare Trump to be in cahoots with should beware that they soon to be the new “Russia.”

Since Rice’s oddly timed comments, Russia witnessed a stunning terrorist attack that was attributed to ISIS—seemingly apropos of nothing since Russia and ISIS are both regarded as western adversaries.

Fortunately, President Vladmir Putin did not take the bait in using this episode to retaliate against the more likely culprits: Ukraine and the U.S. But that did not stop Congress from recently allocating some $60 billion more in Ukraine funding as though it anticipated such a counterstrike.

Chinese tensions also appear to be heating up, with growing hostilities in the South China Sea, a series of earthquakes in Taiwan and New York City raising questions, as well as the possibility that they drugged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen before undertaking a major hacking operation last year.

And, of course, it’s anybody’s guess whether President Joe Biden is secretly negotiating with the Iranian government to bomb Israel and vice-versa, but the escalation of animosities in the Middle East adds more fuel to the fire.

Although Trump is supposed to be receiving courtesy intelligence briefings, he would be wise to be very wary of the selective information he is provided, lest they attempt to lay another trap for him to step into.

The Apocalypse

Just in time for Passover—the Jewish holiday commemorating the 10 Biblical plagues of Egypt—Headline USA can officially report the arrival of the first “locusts” in North Carolina.

This summer’s rare confluence of two cicada broods, like the recent eclipse and other natural phenomena, have generated a spike in talk about the End of Days.

Those keeping score with Matthew 24 have noticed that many of the signs have manifested, but we have yet to witness the rebuilding of the Jewish temple and the arrival, to our knowledge, of the so-called antichrist—which may not necessarily be what popular culture has construed it to be.

The temple prophesy could be set in motion any day now, with the expected sacrifice of a red heifer over Passover being the first step. That purification ritual would purportedly be only the 10th of its kind since the time of Moses, and would be the first step for a group of Israelis hoping to rebuild the storied Jewish temple in what they believe to be its original location.

The only problem: That same location currently houses the Muslim Dome of the Rock, one of their holiest and most historic sites. Some have speculated that the controversy over the temple may have been connected in some way with Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel.

As for the so-called antichrist, that could be a single individual or a multitude of people based on the vagueries of translation. And it may not necessarily be a demonic figure in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen.

Rather, the antichrist could represent the Jewish leaders who advocate for the building of the temple, according to some interpretations, since they are, effectively, the ones who would usher in the Armageddon, but also the arrival of the heralded messiah.

Moreover, in the Christian tradition, there is talk of Israel being deceived and led astray by a false messiah—another possible interpretation of the antichrist—before realizing the error of its ways.

Here, of course, the prophesies begin to break down according to one’s faith. And that’s not to say any of it will happen like clockwork according to a predetermined schedule (remember what the Apostle Paul said…)

Still, when weighed collectively, the likelihood that at least one of these game-changing election disruptors could happen between now and November seems fairly strong in an era when bizarre, shocking and unprecedented phenomena seem to be ever-more commonplace. Who, after all, had “self-immolation wave” on their BINGO cards?

When it comes to the possibility of some black-swan event shifting our entire outlook in the months ahead, I would much sooner take those odds than to bet on smooth sailing this election season.

Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/realbensellers.

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