Each side already sees this and worries that, the exigencies of war being the operative framework, the other side will start to suppress their ability to speak and organize. The right points to the episodes on college campuses where conservative speakers are protested, sometimes violently. The Left points to Trump’s regular blasts against the press and wonders if their freedom to criticize will soon come under legal assault. Neither side is wholly right about their wildest charges, but neither are both sides wholly wrong. If the political adversary is really a mortal foe, then it begins to be clear that normal tolerance of opposing viewpoints becomes a weakness rather than a strength.
And this is why Anton’s essay was optimistic. The Flight 93 Election assumes that once the cockpit is seized it will remain in control of the party who seized it. In fact, we are the passengers in a plane where the cockpit is under constant assault and moving from one side to the other with such rapidity that the plane itself is being turned and shaken, leaving the passengers increasingly nauseous and unable to leave their seats from the terror. The only way to right the plane and stop the terror is to stop the conflict, and that cannot happen in a democratic system when normal democratic rights—the ability to contest control of the cockpit—are maintained.