In the wake of yet another preventable massacre here in the United States, Donald Trump and his lying team of sociopaths are scrambling for excuses. In my mind, the American culture of violence as seen in the Pentagon, Hollywood and elsewhere is first to blame. Next comes the woefully corrupt Republicans and their allegiance to the NRA. “Gun rights” is the single most partisan donor group to the Republican Party. Followed shortly after by mining, oil and gas. The Republicans top three donors: death, death and more death. This is a party funded by the most destructive parts of the capitalist economy. Also cracking the top 20 of partisan support for the Republicans: Dairy, Forest Products, Chemicals, Livestock and Agricultural Services. All of these industries are environmentally destructive and part of the 71%. That is, part of the 100 companies responsible for 71% of the world’s global emissions. Now we see where the Republicans get their looney ideas!
A quick side note. While the most partisan Democrat institutions were far more admirable, the Israel lobby cracked the Democrat top 20—a strong reminder that the only vote against the war party is a vote against both parties of Empire. One can see the blatant hypocrisy of Israel’s own ethnic cleansing state as Trump adores Isreal’s but also empowers anti-semitism through the vehicle of white supremacy.
Coming in third for blame, after the Pentagon and the Republicans comes the man of the hour: a very scary (and not so great) pumpkin who is all tricks and no treats. There was a direct link between Trump’s election and the rise of violence, particularly hate-inspired violence. I have argued that while some of the deranged shooters may not be explicitly expressing a hate crime, many of the shooters are moved to violence by their hatred of women, as expressed by “Incel” (involuntary celibates) killing. These killings should be treated as hate crimes.
Another side note: while I certainly agree with the criticisms of Antifa for the most part (pacifism is the way to go people!), I am discouraged by the way people on the left, right and center equate Antifa with the far right. The muggle Noam Chomsky went as far as: “Associated with the loose Antifa array are fringe groups that have initiated the use of force in ways that are completely unacceptable and are a welcome gift to the far right and the repressive forces of the state, while also providing some justification for the absurd claim that Antifa is comparable to the far-right forces.”
Sounds too similar to Donald Trump’s claim that ‘both sides’ are to blame in Charlottesville! Chomsky (and others) have said that the behavior of Antifa opens the door, or even welcomes state repression of the left. But is blaming the people repressed really a sensible thing to do? Couldn’t one argue that the state is interested in repressing the left no matter what, and that by simply falling into the trap of reactionary blaming for when (not if) the state chooses to act, we end up fighting ourselves more than the true oppressor?
In another Trump-inspired act of violence, several pipe bombs were sent to targets of Donald Trump’s twitter feed. Trump surely loved the violent attacks, but may be disappointed they failed to reach their targets. But Donald Trump is lucky that the pipe bombs he inspired didn’t blow up their intended targets. If they had, the entire faux resistance would have been gone: Cory Booker, James Clapper, Joe Biden, Robert De Niro, George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, Eric Holder, CNN, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who thankfully had too many letters in her name for the Trump’s twitter trolls to spell correctly). In all seriousness, these acts of violence—no matter who is the victim—should be denounced as despicable. We should also be linking these sorts of attacks to the rise of the far-right and the violence employed by them across the world. Donald Trump and his trolls may be mostly used to online games, but with access to guns, or worse yet, the entire U.S. military in the case of Trump, the anger and short-sightedness of these people becomes extremely dangerous.
We should have seen this coming. Trump threatened ominously during his 2016 Presidential run that if he lost there would be a bloodbath. He has repeated this threat for the 2018 midterms. And we should take these threats seriously. He repeatedly threatened Hillary Clinton with violence and even claimed that if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, he wouldn’t lose any supporters. This is not to mention his explicit labeling of immigrants as criminals, his blanket ban of Muslims in the United States and his claim that he would not accept the results of the 2016 election because if he lost, then the process was rigged.
No one can say the fascist Donald Trump didn’t warn us. He has again warned that violence will happen if his party loses. The thing that Donald Trump does so well is assure people that is him, and only him, that will keep them safe. If Trump loses, the left will attack with violence. If Trump loses, the left will take away your guns. If Trump loses, immigrants will flood the country. If Trump loses the left will make health care unaffordable. If Trump loses, you can’t even say Merry Christmas anymore.
Where do these things come from? Online conspiracies help. A fake Fox News media helps. A growing isolation and despair and drug addiction helps. A vengeful white male rage ready to be released on “uppity” women and minorities helps.
But one other factor not considered by mainstream media for how well Trump is doing is the true powerless of the left at this moment. When Trump warns of universal health care, he can point to the expensive Obamacare plan that wasn’t close to the low cost benefits of universal health care. When Trump warns of immigrants stealing jobs, he can point to the people put out of work during the financial crisis. When Trump warns of fake news, he can point to the pretentious talking heads that haven’t left their armchairs in a decade. If the left had power, Trump couldn’t label the center-right neoliberal party as the left. If the left had power, it could provide for people in ways the neoliberals never could.
Be that as it may, this all gives Trump’s base too much credit. For it is easy to simply say that fascism is born when inequality spikes. But I have argued this is unfair to working people. Particularly when we remember that working people are more diverse and more left than anyone else in this country.
Donald Trump is dangerous not because he speaks sprinkles of “populist” truth. No, Donald Trump is dangerous because he lies. If Trump fails, it is a lie. If minorities and women get even a small piece of the pie, it’s stealing. If journalists report something, it’s automatically a lie. If an election happens, and Donald Trump or the Republicans lose, it’s rigged. It doesn’t matter then what Trump does. If something good happens, you should thank Trump. If something bad happens, you should scapegoat someone else.
This is dangerous while Trump is in power, but it may be even more dangerous once he starts to lose it. The fascists can bask in their moment of glory. It’s unclear, beyond sadism and identity politics, what Trump gives anyone outside of the billionaire class. But bask away they will. Trump’s victory is their victory.
However, if the Republicans lose, what then? Trump has celebrated violent attacks on journalists. He has celebrated dictators. He has painted the picture of a conservative victim so well, that violence, hate and intimidation can always be justified. Whose side will the police take when the right loses its heads? Charlottesville, the Proud Boys and much more tell us the police will not be our friends.
Unfortunately American democracy is so eroded, the battle we are facing is a losing one no matter which corporate party gains power. Bernie Sanders just shared a post via Facebook that stated that wages for the 1% have reached their highest level. No matter who is in power, expect the 1% to get their way.
The mainstream media and the Democrats they all secretly love are failures not because of the dangerous lies the Republicans spread, but because they treat the other side as legitimate, rather than simply a bullying lawless fascist force that will take every inch liberals earn for themselves. If the mainstream media and Democrats have any self-respect, they will disavow the GOP as an illegitimate and dangerous force that should not be negotiated with. But eliminating the GOP will leave the Democrats with an alternative they fear more: a working class socialist democracy. It may not be their first choice, but the corporate liberals will settle for fascism when the greater evil of power to the people looms as the one force that could actually bring fascism down.
Even so, a victory for Trump and his party will be devastating for social benefit programs, immigrants, the environment, and much more. A loss for Trump and his party will involve violence. It will involve casting anyone in the resistance as dangerous and threatening. It will involve a blanket denial of the truth. It will involve a dismissal of democracy as fake news. It will involve the scapegoating of vulnerable people, and when necessary the scapegoating of anyone who dares to say no to the bully-in-chief. Make no mistake: we are living in a fascist state. When Trump is in power, he remains the most present danger. But if his fascist party loses this November, we will see that the fascism he has emboldened is an even greater monster than the orange ghoul with the conductor’s baton.