As Flynn goes over the edge, would Trump welcome him back?

If Trump is re-elected, should we expect to see Flynn in a new position of power? If so, it makes his latest strange antics that much more relevant.
U.S. President Donald Trump's First Year In The Oval Office
Michael Flynn attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 22, 2017.ndrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file
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By Steve Benen

Chances are, you didn't celebrate the 4th of July the same way Michael Flynn did.

The former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn celebrated Independence Day by taking an oath -- one that ended with a reference to the bonkers conspiracy theory QAnon. “Where we go one, we go all!” Flynn declared Saturday night, surrounded by a huddle of others repeating after him.... Accompanied by the hashtag “#taketheoath,” QAnon supporters repeat the same oath of office recited by newly elected lawmakers as a way to declare themselves “digital soldiers.”

If you missed it, MSNBC's Joy Reid aired footage from Flynn's oath "ceremony" yesterday, and it's as unsettling as you might imagine.

If you're unfamiliar with the crackpot QAnon conspiracy theory, Vox had an explainer a while back, which is as good as any summary. The basic idea is that Donald Trump is secretly at war with nefarious forces of evil, including Democrats, Hollywood celebrities, the "deep state," cannibals, and an underground ring of pedophiles that only adherents are aware of.

As we recently discussed, this isn't just the usual conspiratorial nonsense bubbling up from the right. It's vastly weirder and more radical. Last year, the FBI went so far as to classify QAnon as a domestic-terror threat in an internal memo.

And now Michael Flynn -- who served as the White House national security advisor in 2017, before he was forced to resign in disgrace -- has voluntarily posted a video of himself taking an oath in support of the bonkers theory, effectively declaring himself a “digital soldier” in support of the bizarre cause.

It comes on the heels of the retired general publishing this op-ed in which Flynn condemned "forces of evil" whom he believes are trying to "steal our freedom in the dark of night." New York's Jon Chait joked soon after that the op-ed was "difficult to evaluate without knowing whether Flynn’s objective was to advance a policy agenda or to help his legal team plant an insanity defense."

It led Mother Jones' Kevin Drum to raise a notable observation yesterday: "Apparently Flynn’s descent into madness, which started around 2014, is now complete. Thank God he’s nowhere near the levers of power at this point."

That certainly sounds about right. It's striking to see Flynn go over the edge, especially given the heights he'd once reached, and his descent says something notable about the state of far-right politics, but ultimately Flynn is a now private citizen and his embrace of ridiculous nonsense doesn't much matter.

Unless, that is, he moves back toward the levers of power.

In late April, Trump told reporters that he was open to bringing Flynn back. Asked specifically if he might invite Flynn into his administration, the president replied, "I would certainly consider it, yeah. I would. I think he’s a fine man."

Two weeks later, Vice President Mike Pence added that he, too, would be on board with bringing Flynn back into government.

Is this still the White House's opinion? If Trump is re-elected, should we expect to see Flynn in a new position of power? If so, it makes his latest strange antics that much more relevant.