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The Curious Case of Pro-Trump Leftism

Photo by Tyler Merbler | CC BY 2.0

Trump may be an orange-faced ignoramus peddling xenophobic and racist demagogy like knock-off Louis Vuittons in Chinatown, but at least he’s trying to make peace. What do you want, nuclear war?”

Some variation of this many-headed hydra of inane analysis is often trotted out to deflect criticism of Trump, typically wrapped in the silky veneer of Facebook radicalism from a number of self-proclaimed leftists. And while liberals knit ever more pussy hats for the inevitable flashmob of political nothingness, a relatively small, yet zealously self-important, segment of the left demands that much legitimate criticism of Trump be viewed as liberal talking points unleashed by the Deep StateTM to scuttle Trump’s long march to peace.

As absurd as it sounds, there are leftists who honestly believe that irrespective of his xenophobia and race-baiting, disastrous trade war and perpetual warmongering against Iran, Venezuela, Big Bird, Colin Kaepernick and Mika Brzezinski’s plastic surgeon, Donald Trump somehow represents a move toward peace globally.

Indeed, because of the Dotard’s doting on Putin, we should all sing hosannas as we erect cheaply made gold-plated monuments in his honor.

But back on Planet Earth, even the specious notion that Trump is somehow a peacemaker cannot fake news its way into being true. In fact, if anything, Trump has been the most bellicose president in recent memory. But don’t tell those Trumpy lefties that. Their fever dreams of political analysis, though rooted in a justified yet thoroughly one-dimensional hatred of Democrats, are simply too brittle to take it.

So then, as our primary task, let’s examine the arguments of the left-flank of Trumpism, and determine if they are backed by reality, or if they’re merely hollowed out talking points, devoid of either substance or context. In doing so, we should also consider how the left has gotten to this moment of political schizophrenia wherein liberals have turned into raging jingoes at precisely the moment that America screams for progressive, people-centered politics. All the while some leftists have morphed into Trump’s left vanguard.

To Russia with Love?

Every morning, just before his first threatening tweet of the day, and well before the bright lights and not-so-bright blondes of Fox & Friends have even had a chance to caffeinate, President Trump awakens, shuffles out to the Truman Balcony, and releases a pair of snow white doves in the direction of Moscow.

At least, that’s the impression one gets reading what passes for analysis from some of the more depraved corners of the online left.

It’s true that the number of self-professed “analysts” and dementia-addled lefties spouting the Trump-as-peacenik line is relatively small, but the impact their voices have had on left discourse around Trump and this historical moment is not insignificant. For every protest, be it a mainstream liberal march, radical Antifa direct action, or anything in between, the Left Trumpists focus their ire on the opponents of Trumpism. Ostensibly, it’s because the anti-Trump activists are hypocrites who only form political opposition against Republicans while letting Democrats eat live babies on YouTube and roll wheelchair-bound pensioners into oncoming traffic. But, seen from a more realistic perspective, it seems this chorus of silliness is based more on Trump’s words, and those of openly pro-Putin media, than on reality.

Take, for instance, this agonizingly vapid talking point about Trump desperately trying to repair the US-Russia relationship and promote peace with Russia. It certainly aligns with Trump’s words. But how about his actions?

Well, it wasn’t particularly inspiring when the Trump Administration decided to escalate Obama’s already insane policy vis-à-vis Ukraine by providing lethal weapons to the US-backed Kiev regime which continues to be partnered with, and in some ways captive to, Ukrainian Nazis and other fascist, er… um, “ultra-nationalist,” forces. Even the great Russophobe himself, that elusive covert Kenyan-Muslim Brotherhood communist agent Obama wouldn’t go that far.

Trump’s genius, apparently, is in being a peacenik toward Russia while arming to the teeth the anti-Russian Nazis whose grandfathers got their jollies collaborating with Hitler, killing Jews and other ethnic minorities. Sources on the ground tell me, however, that these are very fine people who simply want to Make Ukraine Great Again. What’s wrong with that? (Sidenote: My grandfather was busy killing their grandfathers. He didn’t think they were very fine people.)

The Left Trumpists though still manage to find ways to justify, or at least explain away, Trump’s arming of Ukrainian fascists by pointing out that Trump is a victim of his intelligence agencies, the Deep StateTM, SJWs, the Alt-Left, and the War on Christmas. The Hillary-Comey-Maddow cabal hashed out a plan to destroy Trump by forcing the actual left into talking about Trump’s actual dangerous policies that are openly acknowledged and easily researched by anyone with an internet connection. Damn liberals.

And let’s all remember with warm reminiscence the good old days of the 2016 campaign when Donald Trump stood before the American people undermining the imperial military juggernaut of NATO, presenting himself as the first major US politician in recent memory to question the very function of the alliance. These leftists championed Trump the anti-imperialist, the man who would rein in the US’s European war machine.

Welp, within 18 months Trump has not only not reduced NATO’s importance or reach, he has, in fact, demanded a more robust, more deadly, and more provocative NATO with each member state increasing significantly their contribution to the military alliance. Oops. I guess Trumpian anti-imperialism and America First-erism extends to funding the world’s most dangerous imperial alliance used as a weapon against Russia and much of the world.

But, of course, the spending hike for NATO only mirrors Trump’s glorious peace program at home, which includes a record $700 billion military budget. That obscene amount of blood money will fund massive new killing machines and line the pockets of Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, and the other death merchants who today sit around laughing at the notion that Trump would somehow be bad for the military-industrial complex. For these ghouls, Trump means business, and business is booming.

Trump: A Russian Stooge?

The history of the Russiagate story is still being written. But, as usual, liberals have already transmogrified a murky, hitherto unproven narrative of Russian puppetry of the US president into a story of treason and of despoiling the good name of the US of A. And the Left Trumpists reject it, arguing that Trump is merely trying to restore friendly relations and avoid a World War III apocalypse.

But what if – bear with me now – what if they’re both completely fucking wrong? What if Trump is actually just warmongering and undermining peace in the way that presidents of the Imperium Americana have for decades, but in a more unpredictable way?

Consider that Midtown Mussolini, the great orange conciliator, has actually imposed expanded sanctions on Russia, going further than the Obama Administration did. Whether this is a response to domestic political pressures, a negotiating strategy, weakness in the face of neocons, or some combination of the three, is not terribly important given that the end result is heightened tensions with the Kremlin. Naturally, those points are used by the Left Trumpists as “explantions” for Trump’s behavior. Note that these lefties will never admit to defending Trump, they prefer to cast their defenses as “explanations.”

Regardless, Trump has managed to present himself as a dove on Russia, while in fact being more hawkish than any president in recent memory. This is further demonstrated by Trump’s expulsion of more than 60 Russian embassy, consulate, and/or intelligence officials over the alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK. Trumpologists, though, have the talking points in hand: “Trump is just bowing to pressure from liberals and the intelligence agencies, he didn’t really want to do it!”

Interesting. Since when do leftists care about the political pressures a president faces? Lyndon Johnson faced tremendous political pressures from his right and left, does he get a pass on Vietnam? Nixon faced incredible pressure, as did Carter and Clinton. And why, please tell, am I supposed to care? Their actions are what matter.

I suppose the Left Trumpists also forgot that Trump brought in the utterly unhinged neocon imperialist, John Bolton. And, predictably, the mustache that launched a thousand ships has in short order raised the threat of war with Iran, moved the administration further to the right on Venezuela, argued in favor of a first strike against North Korea, and much more. And who could forget now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who succeeded Exxon Mobil kingpin Rex Tillerson, as Trump’s consiglieri. I suppose it’s progress as the US threatens to kill millions in the name of Jesus, rather than in the name of oil profits.

There are probably a hundred other policies and actions taken by Trump that are worth examining in context of left apologism for the Fascist-in-Chief. But this essay is not intended to catalog all the criminal, degenerate policies that Agent Orange has enacted or championed. It is merely an introduction, a window into a confused political space and discourse on the Left that is both infuriating and deeply depressing.

Many decent, well-meaning people who have dedicated their lives to fighting neoliberal imperialism have suddenly positioned themselves to the right of neocons in alliance with ascendant fascism in the US. They don’t espouse the fascism, but have nonetheless made common cause with the far right in defense of Trump on the grounds of world peace and smashing the neoliberal/neoconservative consensus in Washington.
One has to wonder, though…Would they also align with the hangman to spite the gallows-maker?

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Eric Draitser is an independent political analyst and host of CounterPunch Radio. You can find his exclusive content including articles, podcasts, audio commentaries, poetry and more at patreon.com/ericdraitser. He can be reached at ericdraitser@gmail.com.

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